INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler Bulldogs handed Xavier their first BIG EAST loss of the season after defeating the Musketeers 8-0 in the first game of a three-game series. Gunner Johnson was once again lights out on the mound for Butler throwing eight innings of scoreless baseball.
Johnson was able to get key outs early in the game with runners in scoring position. He limited Xavier to seven hits during his eight-inning outing while striking out four and only walking one. Johnson handed the ball over to Kyle Allen who tossed the final inning of the game. Allen executed a 1-2-3 double play in the ninth and got the final batter of the game to pop up in the infield, securing Butler's third BIG EAST win of the year.
The Butler bats gave Johnson some wiggle room in the bottom of the third with four runs off four hits. That was just the beginning as BU came back to score three more runs off three hits in the fourth. The scoring total was rounded off in the fifth with a Nick Bartolone triple to right center field that scored Alex Horowitz.
Although Bartolone's triple ended the scoring spree it was a triple by Marco Caponi that ignited the Butler bats. Caponi hit a one-out triple to deep center field in the third that got everyone at Bulldog Park on their feet. Austin Miller would reach base as Butler's next batter after being hit by a pitch, but one of the largest difference makers of the game quickly followed Miller as Marcos Calderon crushed a home run over the right field wall that gave the 'Dogs a 3-0 lead. The inning would continue off a Will Amador single. Amador was on his toes as a wild pitch took him to second and yet another wild pitch in the inning would eventually send him home.
A brilliant double steal highlighted the bottom of the fourth inning as Butler poured on three more runs. Austin Miller hit an RBI double to right center field scoring Bartolone and Calderon would deliver a single to left that scored Caponi. Miller was able to tag up off the long fly ball from Amador putting runners on the corners with Quincy Quintero at-bat. Head Coach Steve Farley called for the double steal and it was executed perfectly. Calderon swiped second and as the ball left the catcher's hand Miller broke for home. Each base-runner was called safe as Butler cushioned their lead to 7-0.
Miller extended his hit streak to seven games with a 1-for-3 day as the BU leadoff man. He scored two runs and also chipped in with an RBI. The team RBI leader was Calderon who posted four against the Musketeers.
With game one of the series going to the Bulldogs, the focus will shift to tomorrow's matchup between Billy Laing and Scott Klever. First pitch at Bulldog Park is set for 3 p.m.