March 2, 2009
The First Pitch: The Bulldogs open up the home portion of the 2009 schedule when they welcome Taylor to Indianapolis on Tuesday (March 3) for a 3:00 p.m. contest at Bulldog Park. After a quick stop at Dayton on Wednesday (March 4) for a 3:00 p.m. contest against the Flyers, Butler heads west to UNLV for a four-game series with the Rebels. The two teams open up the series on Friday (March 6) with a single game at 10:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. PT) before playing a twin-bill on Saturday (March 7) starting at 5:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. PT). The series concludes on Sunday (March 8) at 4:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. PT).
A Century Of Butler Baseball: The 2009 campaign will mark the 100th season of baseball at Butler University, a program which dates back to 1901. In 99-plus seasons, the Bulldogs have tallied a 1,145-1,331-11 (.463) all-time record, eight conference championships and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.
Veteran Authority: Butler head coach Steve Farley, who enters his 18th season at the helm this year, has overseen some of the most successful years in Bulldog baseball history. Under his guidance, Butler claimed three regular season conference titles, two league tournament championships and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances. Currently the most veteran coach in the Horizon League, his 18th season this year will make him the second-longest tenured mentor in program history, trailing only Butler legend Tony Hinkle's 41 seasons. Farley's 428 wins in that time, meanwhile, are the most in school history.
Seniority Rules: The Bulldogs will not have to worry about any lack of veteran presence on the roster this season. Butler boasts 11 seniors on the staff, the most among the seven Horizon League schools.
Bulldogs Top Marian In Season Opener: Senior outfielder Colin Ziegel hit an eighth inning grand slam to break open what had been a relatively close contest, as the Bulldogs rolled to a 12-2 victory over host Marian in both squads' season openers on Wednesday (Feb. 25) afternoon. Ziegel finished with five RBI and two runs scored on two hits to help propel Butler to a win in its first game of the season. After Marian closed to within three runs at 5-2, the Bulldogs erupted for a five-run eighth inning - keyed on Ziegel's slam - before adding two more in the ninth to oust the host Knights. Eight Butler pitchers notched scoreless frames, including no-hit innings by Jeff Sinkiewicz, David Dennemann, Tyler Tepe, Tyler Szymczak and Jared Wagoner.
Picking Up Where He Left Off: Junior infielder Kyle Schultz hasn't missed a beat from his impressive offensive performance last season. After finishing as the Bulldogs' top hitter with a .383 batting average in 2008, the Granger, Ind., native has continued to thrive at the plate in Butler's first three games of the year, collecting five hits in 13 at bats for a team-best .385 average. His .538 slugging percentage also paces the squad.
Big-Time Non-Conference: A highly-competitive non-league schedule awaits the Bulldogs this season, featuring opponents from the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Mountain West, Atlantic-10 and Missouri Valley. Butler will take on UNLV in four games from March 6-8 and will battle Kansas State in a four-game set from March 13-15. The Bulldogs will also play two games against Purdue during the year.
Professional Touch: The Bulldogs will get a small taste of professional baseball this season. Butler will host Dayton at Victory Field - home of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians - on March 31 and will take on Horizon League opponent Milwaukee in a double-header at Miller Park - home of the Milwaukee Brewers - on May 14.
Bulldog Park Renovations: Bulldog Park, home of the Butler baseball team, will be undergoing some major improvements this year. Last fall, the field received a new pitcher's mound and home plate area, new laser-graded infield dirt and new sod around the first and third base, home plate and the mound. The crown jewel of the renovation project, to be completed this spring, will be a 6,000 square foot multi-purpose hitting facility that will feature four turfed indoor batting cages and pitching mounds, pitching machines, drill stations and a bathroom.
On Deck: Butler continues its busy start to the 2009 campaign, as it welcomes Big Ten foe Purdue to Bulldog Park on Wednesday, March 11, for a 3:00 p.m. contest. The Bulldogs then travel to Manhattan, Kan., for a four-game series with Kansas State from March 13-15.