March 10, 2009
The First Pitch: Butler welcomes in-state rival Purdue to Indianapolis on Wednesday (March 11) when the Bulldogs take on the Boilermakers beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Bulldog Park. Butler then travels west this weekend for a four-game series against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan. The two teams open up with a single-game on Friday (March 13) at 4:00 p.m. ET before playing a double-header on Saturday (March 14) starting at 1:00 p.m. ET. The series concludes on Sunday (March 15) with a single contest beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Coach Farley's Thoughts: "Our coaching staff was very impressed by UNLV. Their team reminded me of the nationally ranked Kentucky team we played last March. They had good team speed, they hit the ball for both a high average and for power and they played solid defense. Their pitching was very good. We have a pretty solid pitching staff, so for us to get banged around like we did, you have to give their hitters a lot of credit. Jared Wagoner looked very solid in his appearance this past weekend and Dom Silvestri and David Dennemann threw the ball well. We had a few guys who swung the bat pretty well. We'll learn a lot from playing a good team like that, and we'll continue to get better. The Kansas State team we play this weekend is getting votes for the Top 25, so I expect KSU to be every bit as good as UNLV. Northern teams have to be mentally tough at this early time in the season when you are playing such a rugged schedule."
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 1,145-1,337-11 (.461) 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.
Climbing To The Top: Thanks to an impressive week last week, sophomore infielder Luke Duncan bumped his season average up to a team-best .375. A starter in five of the last six games, Duncan collected six hits and drove in a team-high five runs in games against Taylor, Dayton and UNLV.
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 took 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. The facility is already taking shape, as most of the framework is already in place down the left field line.
On Deck: The Bulldogs return to action on Wednesday, March 18, when it travels to Terre Haute, Ind., for a battle with Indiana State. Butler then kicks off the Horizon League season at home over the weekend when it hosts Valparaiso in a three-game set from March 20-21.