March 25, 2009

Bulldogs Rally For Stunning 7-6 Victory Over IPFW

Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler rallied for seven unanswered runs - capped by a game-winning two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth by Luke Duncan - to turn back visiting IPFW, 7-6, on Wednesday (March 25) afternoon at Bulldog Park.

Threatening on offense for most of the game but unable to fully capitalize until late, the Bulldogs surged back from a 6-0 deficit in the fourth inning to come from behind for their second straight win.

Holding on to a slim 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, IPFW looked as if it would escape a menacing Butler offense after retiring the first two Bulldog hitters of the inning. Grant Fillipitch would keep the game alive, however, roping a single to right center before Jason Jamerson and Kyle Schultz worked back-to-back walks to load the bases.

Duncan then stepped to the plate and lined a hot shot back through the box and into center field that brought across the tying and winning runs.

IPFW entered the contest ranking 20th in the NCAA in turning double plays, and the Mastodons showed precisely why by converting four in the contest that stymied what could have been several big innings by the Bulldogs.

After IPFW jumped for four unearned runs in the second inning, Butler loaded the bases with no one out in their half of the frame on a walk and a pair of hit batsmen. The Bulldogs would be unable to capitalize, however, as the Mastodons got a force out at the plate before inducing a 4-6-3 double play to quell the threat.

Butler again loaded the bases in the third - this time with one out - and appeared to be ready to break through, but once again IPFW was able to turn another twin killing that left the Bulldogs wanting.

The Mastodons added two more in the top of the fourth, but the Bulldogs finally would break through in the bottom of the inning, scoring a pair of unearned runs on a sacrifice fly by Michael Letzter and an errant throw by the IPFW catcher on a pick-off attempt.

After another double-play ended the fifth inning for the Bulldogs, they cut into the IPFW lead in the sixth after Colin Ziegel roped a two-run single to center to cut the difference to 6-4 before yet another twin-killing ended the frame.

Ziegel returned to the plate in the eighth and brought the Bulldogs one run closer with a two-out RBI single to right that set up Butler's ninth inning heroics.

Tyler Szymczak picked up his first career victory in relief after working a scoreless ninth inning.

Duncan finished at 4-for-5 with a run scored an two RBI, while Ziegel and Fillipitch each picked up a pair of hits, while Ziegel added three RBI.

The Bulldogs return to action Friday (March 27) when they open up a three-game series at Horizon League rival Wright State. Due to the potential of inclement weather over the weekend, the two teams will now play a double-header on Friday beginning at 3:00 p.m. before playing a single game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.