March 30, 2009
The First Pitch: Butler gets a taste of professional baseball on Tuesday (March 31) when it hosts Dayton at Victory Field - home of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians - beginning at 4:00 p.m. The Bulldogs will do battle with the Flyers for the second time this season in the downtown Indianapolis ballpark. Butler will then take on Franklin on Wednesday (April 1) beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Bulldog Park before opening a three-game set at Horizon League foe Youngstown State. The Bulldogs and Penguins will kick off the series with a single game on Friday (April 3) before concluding the weekend with a double-header on Saturday (April 4) at 12:00 noon.
More On Victory Field: Admission to the Bulldogs' contest against Dayton victory field is $6 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-12. Children under three and students with ID are free of charge.
Schedule Changes: Besides the new start time for the Dayton game and the addition of the Franklin contest, Butler will have a few more changes to its upcoming schedule. Wabash will come to town on April 7 for a 3:00 p.m. game at Bulldog Park. Butler's game at the University of Indianapolis on April 28 has been cancelled due to UIndy's conflicts with final exams. The Bulldogs' single nine-inning contest at Cincinnati on May 6, meanwhile, has been changed to a double-header with two seven-inning games set to begin at 4:00 p.m.
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 1,148-1,347-11 (.460) all-time record, eight conference championships and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.
Butler Holds Off Wright State: Butler right-hander Ryan Kruszka went the distance in a gutsy start against host Wright State and the Bulldogs used some timely hitting in a three-run third inning en route to a 4-3 victory in the second game of a double-header on Friday (March 27) evening. After Wright State took a 1-0 advantage in the first inning, the Bulldogs plated three in the third to go up for good. Butler put runners on first and second with one down after Griffin Richeson singled and Luke Duncan reached on a fielder's choice after the WSU second baseman dropped an attempt to cut down the lead runner. Michael Letzter cashed in on the miscue, ripping an RBI single through the right side that brought Richeson across for the tying mark. Wright State got an out closer to retiring the side after striking out the next batter, but Steve Kaffel kept the inning alive with a single to right that loaded the bases for Grant Fillipitch, who drilled a 1-2 pitch back up the middle to plate two more runs for a 3-1 lead. Kruszka scattered eight hits and one walk while striking out four in his first complete game of the season.
Long Time Coming: The Bulldogs' win at Wright State on Friday (March 27) was the team's first victory over the Raiders in Dayton since scoring a 6-5 decision on March 18, 2006.
Good Week: Butler has begun to turn things around in the past week, winning three of their last five games including a pair of conference victories dating back to a 5-2 win over Valparaiso on March 21.
Coach Farley's Thoughts: "Wright State is one of the top teams in our league, and we came very close to taking two out of three games from them. Our guys played hard after putting in a very good week of practice. We had to battle through some sickness and injuries this weekend. After playing a great game Friday night to win 4-3, we let WSU off the hook on Saturday by not playing as sharp as we needed to. We gave up a couple of unearned runs on infield errors, and we didn't capitalize on offense with runners in scoring position. We are playing very competitive games, and our guys are starting to see how the little things really make a difference in close ball games. I was really impressed with Ryan Kruszka's complete game win. He stepped up big-time for our team at a time when we really needed him. We are banged up a little bit right now, so we need to get some guys healthy and come back strong with solid effort in our mid-week games this week. Our opponent next weekend, Youngstown State, is a very solid team. Their record is misleading, as they have opened conference play with the two best teams in the league in UIC and Wright State."
Duncan Can: Thanks to an impressive effort at the plate in which he batted .500 with nine hits in 18 at bats in four games, Luke Duncan has boosted his season batting average to a team-best .415 (22-for-53). The sophomore outfielder boasts a .472 slugging percentage thanks to 25 total bases and has struck out only nine times in 53 at bats, or once nearly every six at bats.
Walk This Way: Butler has been one of the more patient teams at the plate this season, ranking second in the Horizon League by drawing 81 walks during the year for an average of 3.7 per contest.
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 431 wins in that time, meanwhile, are the most in school history.
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 panels are being put up on the walls and the roof is nearing completion.
On Deck: The Bulldogs return to Indianapolis on April 7 when they welcome Wabash to Bulldog Park for a 3:00 p.m. contest. After making a stop in Fort Wayne to play IPFW on April 8, Butler returns to campus to face reigning Horizon League Regular Season and Tournament Champion UIC in a three-game set this weekend. The Bulldogs and Flames open up with a single game on April 10 at 3:00 p.m. before playing a double-header on April 11 beginning at 12:00 p.m. at Bulldog Park.