May 5, 2009

Baseball Hosts Senior Day On Saturday Against Milwaukee

May 5, 2009

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The First Pitch: Following a nine-day break from competition for final exams, the Bulldogs return to the field on Wednesday (May 6) when it heads to Cincinnati, Ohio, for a pair of seven-inning contests against the Bearcats beginning at 4:00 p.m. at Marge Schott Stadium. Butler then returns to Indianapolis on Saturday (May 9) when it hosts Horizon League rival Milwaukee in a nine-inning doubleheader beginning at 12:00 noon before traveling north to Valparaiso on Sunday (May 10) for a twin-bill against the Crusaders starting at 1:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. CT).

Senior Day: The Bulldogs' doubleheader against Milwaukee on May 9 will also serve as Senior Day. Between the two contests, Butler will recognize its 11 senior members who will be playing in their second-to-last home game at Bulldog Park.

The First And The Last: Butler's DH against Milwaukee will be the first time this season that the two sqauds will meet. Both the Bulldogs and Panthers will meet up again the following week when Butler travels to Milwaukee for a season-ending three-game set.

Welcome To The Big Show: The Bulldogs will get a small taste of Major League Baseball next weekend when they head to Milwaukee, as Butler will face the Panthers in a doubleheader at Miller Park - home of the Milwaukee Brewers - on May 14. The double-dip will begin at 5:00 p.m. ET (4:00 p.m. CT) following the Brewer's 1:05 p.m. ET (12:05 p.m. CT) contest against the Florida Marlins.

Butler Rallies To Top Vikings: Butler jumped for six runs in the fifth inning before plating an additional four runs in the eighth en route to a 12-6 come-from-behind victory over visiting Cleveland State in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday (April 25) afternoon at Bulldog Park. The Bulldogs batted around in both the fifth and eighth innings to score 10 of their 12 runs late for a split in the twin bill with CSU. Matt Sokolowski picked up his first win of the season, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out six and walking none in six innings. Rick Betsch, Luke Duncan and Michael Letzter each finished with three hits and two runs scored on the afternoon, while DeCamp added two hits and three RBI.

...Before Shutting Down YSU: Right-hander Mike Hernandez pitched another gem and Grant Fillipitch provided all the offense the Bulldogs would need, as Butler held off visiting Youngstown State, 4-1, in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday (April 26) afternoon at Bulldog Park. Hernandez picked up the win, going 7.1 innings with four strikeouts and two walks allowed. Fillipitch finished with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with a homer and three RBI, while Rick Betsch went 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored.

Your Best Betsch For Offense: Outfielder Rick Betsch provided quite an offensive lift for the Bulldogs last week. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native batted .500 (9-for-18) with a team-high seven runs scored, five RBI and six walks in five starts. His .625 on base percentage was tops among the starters.

...And Letzter Added To That: Catcher Michael Letzter's week was just as impressive as Betsch's, as the Johnsburg, Ill., native led the team with a .529 average (9-for-17) and a .706 slugging percentage thanks to three doubles.

Crush-A-Pitch Fillipitch: Sophomore infielder Grant Fillipitch has been the Bulldogs' top source of power in the lineup this season. The LaGrange Park, Ill., native boasts a team-best five home runs, 11 doubles, 68 total bases and .453 slugging percentage. He also paces the squad with 42 hits and 23 runs scored, while his 19 RBI are second-most.

Coach Farley's Thoughts: "I thought we played our best baseball of the season this past weekend. Each game was close, and we felt we should have taken three out of four games. We got some good starting pitching again, and our hitters had their most productive weekend of the spring so far. Our relief pitching was a little shaky at times, but we found a way to win some close games. Our guys have battled through a lot of adversity, and I'm proud of the work ethic I keep seeing. We were off last week for final exams, but we continued conditioning workouts to keep our guys in shape. We're looking forward to a busy week with six games in five days against Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Valpo."

A Century Of Butler Baseball: The 2009 campaign marks the 100th season of baseball at Butler University, dating back to 1901. In 99-plus seasons, the Bulldogs have tallied a 1,153-1,361-11 (.459) all-time record, eight league championships and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.

Control Freak: Freshman righty Mike Hernandez has been the Horizon League's most accurate pitcher so far this season. The Crown Point, Ind., native ranks second in the conference with an incredible a 4.4 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. He paces the team and is ninth in the league with 44 strikeouts this season and is third in the conference in fewest walks allowed with 10. Hernandez has been Butler's most effective pitcher of late, working at least seven innings and boasting a 1.86 ERA in his last four starts.

Walk This Way: Butler hitters have been the most patient in the Horizon League this season, as the Bulldogs lead the conference with 156 walks drawn in 41 games for an average of 3.8 per contest.

...But Setting Them Down On The Other Side: While the Butler hitters have been a model of patience at the plate in the conference, the Bulldog pitching staff has made opposing hitters look much more off-balance. Butler pitchers have combined to record 257 strikeouts this season - tied for the third-most in the league - for an average of over six per contest.

Record-Setting Hitting: Rookie Blaine DeCamp put together a record-setting performance at the plate against IPFW on April 8. The Columbus, Ind., native became just the 12th player in Butler history to pick up five hits in a game, going 5-for-7 with four runs scored and a pair of RBI.

Big-Time Non-Conference: Butler had to battle through a highly-competitive non-league schedule this season, with opponents from the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Mountain West, Atlantic-10 and Missouri Valley featured during the year.

Bulldog Park Renovations: Bulldog Park, home of the Butler baseball team, has undergone 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 nearing completion, as the exterior walls and roof have been completely installed an work has begun on the interior.

On Deck: Butler closes out the home schedule against Eastern Illinois on May 12 before heading to Milwaukee for a three-game set from May 14-15.