Baseball Hosts Dayton In Double-Header Wednesday

April 21, 2008

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The First Pitch: Butler welcomes Dayton to Indianapolis on Wednesday (April 23) for a double-header beginning at 2:00 p.m. at Bulldog Park. The two squads were originally scheduled to play a single nine-inning contest but will instead play two seven-inning games as part of a make up of a March 5 cancellation at Dayton. The Horizon League season continues over the weekend when the Bulldogs head to new league member Valparaiso for a three-game set beginning on Friday (April 25).

Bulldogs Rally For Win At YSU: Butler got some two-out lighting in the top of the ninth to seal a comeback win in the first double-header game at Youngstown State on April 19. Trailing 4-2 with two down, Joe Pauley kept the game alive by getting hit by a pitch before Colin Ziegel ripped his third home run of the year to tie the game. Rick Betsch followed with a walk before stealing second and moving to third on a throwing error to bring Ryan Neat to the plate, who ripped an RBI single for the winning run.

Power Surge: Youngstown State is probably glad to see Joe Pauley leave town after his performance on Saturday (April 19). In two games, the senior shortstop went 4-for-7 (.571) with three home runs, six RBI and a whopping 1.857 slugging percentage. His power output moved him into the team lead and into a fourth-place tie in the Horizon League with six homers on the season and tops his previous single-season mark of five, which he set last year.

One Run Away: The Bulldogs have battled Horizon League opponents in a lot of close games this season, but, unfortunately, they have come out on the short end in most of them. Butler is 2-6 in one-run games during league play, with both victories coming in 5-4 wins against Youngstown State on March 21 and on April 19. In fact, three of the Bulldogs' last five losses in league play have been by just a one-run margin.

Coach Farley's Thoughts: "This past weekend was a roller coaster. Like most of our conference weekends this season, there were multiple gut-wrenching one-run games. We showed great heart with a 5-4 comeback win against YSU on Saturday and then let a game slip out of our hands vs. CSU on Sunday. I'd like to see us get off the `roller coaster' and play some steady baseball. When we've pitched well, we've struggle with scoring runs. When our hitters have had a good day at the plate and scored a bunch of runs, we've struggle on the mound and on defense. You have to play well in all phases of the game to win consistently, and we haven't been doing that. Losing a lot of one-run games takes it toll on a team and becomes a real challenge. We'll have to dig deep this week and bounce back with some positive energy for big games with Dayton and Valparaiso. We want to work hard and compete this week. Guys will then be able to take a little bit of a break from baseball during final exam week and re-charge their batteries."

All Good Streaks Come To An End: Junior outfielder Colin Ziegel and sophomore infielder Kyle Schultz both had their season-long hitting streaks snapped last week. Ziegel carried a 10-game streak into the Bulldogs' game against Cincinnati on April 16 before going 0-for-4 against the Bearcats. Schultz, meanwhile, marched to a 10-game trek of his own before finishing 0-for-3 in the final double-header game at Cleveland State on April 20. Both steaks were season-bests for the Bulldogs, while senior shortstop Joe Pauley's current four-game trek remains the team's longest active streak.

...But Another Continues: Since giving up seven runs in 4.0 innings of work in his first outing of the year at No. 17 Kentucky, junior left-hander Joe Ochs has shut down opponents bats, pitching 17.0 consecutive innings without allowing a single run, earned or unearned. During that span, he has scattered eight hits, struck out 10 and walked three while posting a team-best 3-0 record. Ochs has been unable to build upon his run of success lately, however, as an ankle injury has kept him off the mound the last two weeks.

Rookie Sensation: Freshman Grant Fillipitch has gotten off to a fast start to his collegiate career. The first-year third baseman currently ranks second on the team with a .288 batting average and is tied for third with 14 RBI. Fillipitch has also already etched his name in the Butler record book thanks to an impressive five-hit performance against Indiana Tech on April 8, which tied the single-game mark and made him just the 12th player in school history to collect five hits in a game.

Going Big And Small: Not too many hitters in the Horizon League have been as versatile as senior captain Ryan Neat. The Bulldog first baseman has evolved into one of the team's top power threats, ranking second on the squad with three home runs, but he has also been tops at playing small ball with a team-high five sacrifice bunts. Control Freaks: The Butler pitching staff has had an uncanny ability to locate within the strike zone of late. The Bulldogs have allowed three or fewer walks in 16 of the last 24 games, including nine with one or no free passes.

League Of Their Own: Butler has found much more success at the plate in Horizon League play than it did during the non-conference slate. In 16 non-league games, the Bulldogs have posted a .227 batting average, while Butler touts an impressive .301 mark in 16 conference contests.

That's What I Call Run Support: Butler's 22 runs scored against Milwaukee on Saturday (March 29) were the most in a single game since scoring 24 runs against Detroit in 2003.

Mr. 1,000: When the second game of the Bulldogs' double-header against UIC on April 5 became official in the fifth inning, Butler head coach Steve Farley had formally gone where few college coaches have gone before. The contest marked the 1,000th game on the bench for the 19-year veteran and was the mentor's 900th game coached in his 17 seasons at Butler.

Not Your Average Joe: Senior shortstop Joe Pauley has been one of the Bulldogs' top offensive players in his three-plus seasons. This year, he leads the team with 23 runs scored, but his career totals are among the best in school history. With 127 career runs scored, he is now 23 shy of the all-time mark (150).

Butler Adds Night Game At Louisville On May 7: Butler head coach Steve Farley announced the addition of a non-league game to the upcoming schedule. The Bulldogs will make a return trip to Louisville on May 7 for a 6:00 p.m. contest under the lights at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Bulldogs dropped a 3-2, 11-inning battle to the Cardinals on March 26.

On Deck: Butler heads to the south side of town to take on the University of Indianapolis on Tuesday (April 29) in a 3:00 p.m. game for the only action of the week.