Butler outscored the Crusaders 17-11 over the course of the three-game series this past weekend. After splitting a double-header on March 23, the Bulldogs won the deciding game the next day. The Bulldogs now sit at 13-9 on the season. They take to the road again to play Northern Kentucky on March 26.
Game 1: Butler – 6 Valpo – 4
Ryan Pepiot would start this match-up and stayed on the mound for seven complete innings. His production on the mound, including 11 strikeouts, helped the Bulldogs claim victory in the first game of the series. He only allowed one run on five hits in his outing.
Butler tallied two runs in the top of the first thanks to a pair of RBI singles by Andy Bennett and Brody McGrath making it 2-1. It wouldn’t last long as an RBI single into right field by Valpo’s Jorgensen would tie the game.
Neither team could break the tie until Butler broke through in the 5th. Kyle Smith hit a home run over the right field wall to give the Bulldogs the lead 3-2. It was Smith’s 8th home run of the year and improved his RBI total to 20 in 2019.
Butler would tally two more runs on a Robbie McCargar RBI double in the 7th, later followed by a wild pitch that would score Harrison Freed.
A two-run home run by Valpo’s Shaikin over the left field fence brought them within one in the eighth, but it was not enough as Butler would hang on for the 6-4 victory.
Game 2: Butler – 2 Valpo – 5
The second game of the double header tilted in favor of the Crusaders. The Bulldogs would surrender three runs (Sac Fly CF, Wild Pitch, RBI single LF) in the first three innings of the ballgame to fall behind.
McGrath would help the Bulldogs narrow the gap with a home run down the left field line in the 4th and a sac fly the very next inning, making the score 3-2. However, Valpo would snag a pair of runs in the 6th and 8th on triples by Dent and Fitzsimmons. Despite offensive production from Freed (3-5) and catcher Zach Parker, the Bulldogs would drop game two 5-2.
The loss falls on Sam Hubbe after throwing five innings with six strikeouts. He moves to 3-1 in 2019.
Game 3: Butler – 9 Valpo – 2
Dominance on the mound and in the batter’s box led Butler to victory in the final game of the series. The Bulldogs got off to a hot start in the first inning, bringing across six runs in the home half of the opening frame.
Freed started out the scoring with a two-run home run into left, later followed by a McGrath two RBI double, stretching the Bulldogs lead to 4-0. After a pitching change by the Crusaders, Sam Russo would hit an RBI double down the left field line, and would later be walked in.
In the fourth, the Bulldogs would grab two more runs on a single by Freed, and Butler would hold the lead 9-0. They would not surrender any runs until the 9th when Valpo scored two runs on a home run.
Connor Schultz got the win after throwing for eight innings, only allowing two hits and striking out seven batters. He improves to 4-0 this season.