May 17, 2008
Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler rallied for five unanswered runs to score a 5-1 win in the opening game of a double-header against Cleveland State before roaring back from a five-run deficit in the finale with late-inning, eight-run surge to claim an 8-5 victory over the Vikings on Saturday (May 17) at Bulldog Park.
The wins send the Bulldogs to 12-33 on the year and and 7-17 in the Horizon League.
Cleveland State took advantage of some early inning wildness by Butler starter Ryan Kruszka to stake itself to a 1-0 lead in the second. A pair of walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases for the Vikings with two down before CSU forced in a run after Brad Buell was struck by a pitch.
The Bulldogs answered back in the bottom of the third, as Kevin Rotherham led off with a single to center before moving up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rick Betsch. A walk by Joe Pauley put runners on first and third for Kyle Schultz, who lined a shot to right to bring in Rotherham and send Pauley to third.
Some clever base-running by the Bulldogs helped bring in the go-ahead run. With Jason Jamerson batting, Schultz broke from first to draw the throw from the catcher, allowing Pauley to scamper home before the tag was applied at second.
Kruszka settled down from there, allowing just two singles in his final six innings of work.
The Bulldogs added some insurance in the eighth, as singles by Betsch, Colin Ziegel and Schultz loaded the bases with two down before Nate Hart ripped a two-run single back up the middle to give Butler a 4-1 advantage. A misplayed grounder up the middle on the next at bat allowed another run to score to boost the lead to four.
Kruszka earned the win, yielding just three hits and striking out five in eight innings. Jared Wagoner tossed a perfect ninth to preserve the victory.
Cleveland State jumped for a five-run lead in the finale and appeared to have the game in control before the Bulldogs erupted for eight runs in the final three innings - including a six-run eighth - to comeback for the win.
The Vikings spotted themselves a 2-0 lead in the first on a pair of RBI singles before adding an unearned run in the fifth on a failed pick off attempt. CSU built its lead to 5-0 in the seventh, scoring a run on a wild pitch and a bloop double that dropped behind second base.
Meanwhile, Viking starter Dylan Henry was cruising along, holding Butler to just two hits through the first five frames.
The Bulldogs would begin to chip away in the sixth, however, as Betsch led off the inning with a single to left before hustling to third on a double by Ziegel. A deep fly by Pauley plated Betsch and moved Ziegel to third before Schultz hit an RBI grounder to second bring Ziegel in to cut the deficit to 5-2.
After a scoreless seventh, the Bulldogs finally got to Henry in the eighth. Betsch started the inning with a walk and came all the way around to score on a hard-hit triple to the gap in right center by Ziegel. Pauley followed with a double to left that brought Ziegel across to trim the CSU lead to one before a single by Schultz and a wild pitch brought Pauley across with the tying mark and put a runner on second with no one out.
A chess match of sorts followed.
After a sacrifice bunt by Jamerson moved pinch runner Luke Duncan to third, CSU countered by intentionally walking Nate Hart to set up a potential double-play. Hart would thwart that attempt, however, by swiping second on the first pitch to Michael Letzter. The Vikings then responded by giving Letzter a free pass to put force plays at every base.
CSU seemed on the verge of working its way out of the jam after getting a pop foul for the second out of the inning, but Kyle McLaughlin made the maneuvers hurt by serving a 2-2 pitch to the left center alley for a two-run double and a 7-5 Butler lead.
A single back up the middle by Betsch brought in one more to close out the scoring.
Brian Deter earned his first win of the year in relief, allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out three in 3.1 innings.
Betsch finished with three hits and two runs scored, while Ziegel and Ryan Neat each picked up a pair of hits. Pauley and McLaughlin both added two RBI.
Butler enters the Horizon League Championship as the No. 7 seed and will face No. 6 Valparaiso in a single elimination game beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.