March 29, 2008
Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler put together its best offensive output in nearly five years in claiming the opening game of a doubleheader, 22-10, against visiting Milwaukee on Saturday (March 29) afternoon at Bulldog Park. The Panthers came out on top in the night-cap to claim the series win, however, trumping the Bulldogs, 12-4.
Butler erupted for 22 runs, keyed by three six-run innings, thanks to 22 hits, including 10 that went for extra bases. The 22 runs were the most for the Bulldogs since scoring 24 against Detroit on May 18, 2003.
The contest did not begin well for the Bulldogs, as the Panthers put a five-spot on the board before Butler even had a chance to come to bat. A two-run double by Shawn Wozniak followed by a two-run home run by Ben Long provided the bulk of the support as UWM finished with five hits in the inning.
Butler came right back in the bottom of the frame, however, as Kyle McLaughlin ripped a two-run double to the gap in right center to cut the deficit to three before an RBI single by Jason Jamerson and a sacrifice fly by Michael Letzter pulled the Bulldogs to within one.
Colin Ziegel gave Butler its first lead of the day just moments later, crushing the first pitch he saw on a line over the wall in right with a runner on to put the Bulldogs in front, 6-5.
Butler would not look back, as a two-run bomb by McLaughlin in the second pushed the advantage to three before a six-run third inning, keyed by a three-run shot by Joe Pauley, put the Bulldogs ahead 14-5.
Milwaukee crawled back with a big fourth inning, plating five runs on three hits, including a three-run triple by Long, to close the gap to four, but a two-run bottom half of the frame and six-run sixth put the game all but out of reach.
After entering the game with a .215 batting average as a team, the Bulldogs ended the opening campaign with a .234 mark.
McLaughlin and Pauley led the squad at the plate, with the former going 4-for-6 with six RBI and three runs scored and the later finishing at 4-for-5 with five RBI and four runs. Ziegel also added a 3-for-5 outing with three RBI and four runs.
Joe Ochs picked up the win in relief, holding Milwaukee scoreless on three hits over 5.0 innings.
The Panthers were the ones that took advantage of big innings in the series finale, scoring five runs in the third to pull away for the win in the night-cap.
Butler took a 1-0 first inning lead thanks to some crafty base-running. Rick Betsch led off with a single to center before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and taking third on a two-out single from McLaughlin.
With Schultz batting, McLaughlin broke for second to draw the throw from the Milwaukee catcher and allowed Betsch to sprint home for the first run of the contest.
After the Panthers tied the game with back-to-back doubles in the top of the second, Brian Bajer regained the lead for the Bulldogs with his first career home run, a towering shot that just stayed inside the left field foul pole.
A five-spot in the third by UWM, however, put the Panthers in front for good despite several comeback attempts by Butler.
The Bulldogs cut into Milwaukee's five run lead with two runs in the fourth coming on an RBI triple by Ziegel and a wild pitch, but they would get no closer.
Betsch, McLaughlin and Ziegel collected two hits a piece.
With the split, the Bulldogs move to 5-14 on the year and 3-3 in Horizon League play. Milwaukee, meanwhile, wraps up the weekend at 5-16 overall and 2-4 in the league.
Butler returns to action on Wednesday (April 2) when it takes on cross-town foe Marianat Victory Field beginning at 4:00 p.m.