Baseball drops two of three in Milwaukee

It was a tough weekend for the Butler baseball team as the Bulldogs (11-12, 3-3 HL) followed up a big win against Wabash with a losing series versus conference foe Milwaukee.

Butler will head into a contest versus Purdue today coming off a doubleheader split versus the Panthers (7-16, 2-1 HL).

“There were three good games,” head coach Steve Farley said. “We had a chance to win all three, but we came up just a little bit short.”

In the first game of the doubleheader, Butler received hits from nine different Bulldogs to capture a 4-1 victory.

With the game tied at 1 going into the eighth inning, the Bulldogs used “small ball” to produce a run. Sophomore center fielder Andrew Eckhardt drew a walk to start the frame and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by senior second baseman Luke Duncan.

Eckhardt then scored on an RBI single by senior right-fielder Corey Moylan.

Butler added two insurance runs in the ninth inning thanks to RBI singles from freshman pinch hitter Patrick Guinane and senior shortstop Jack Krause.

Senior Jared Wagoner battled for his third win of the season, allowing one run on 13 hits over eight and two-thirds innings. He struck out six Panthers and threw 124 pitches, giving way to the bullpen for the final out of the game.

“It was unique,” Wagoner said. “I had to battle, but I got the first guy out in most innings, I scattered the hits and the defense picked me up.”

In the second game of the day, Milwaukee scored five runs over the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to defeat the Bulldogs, 6-5. The win allowed the Panthers to come out on top of the three-game weekend series, 2-1.

Butler scored single runs in the second and sixth innings and held a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning.

In that frame, Milwaukee got an RBI double from senior second baseman Cole Kraft and tallied an unearned run to tie the game, 2-2.

After the Bulldogs got a run scoring single from senior catcher Michael Letzter and a run-scoring double from sophomore first baseman Pat Gelwicks, both with two outs in the inning, the Panthers put up three more runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Two of those runs came courtesy of a single by Kraft and gave Milwaukee a one-run advantage.

Butler tied the game in the eighth inning, but the Panthers responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame, giving the Panthers the win.

“Offensively, we did everything we could,” Gelwicks said. “We were hitting the ball hard all game and we put ourselves in a good position to win.”

Junior Kaleb Engelke, the only Milwaukee pitcher to not allow a run in the game, picked up the win for the Panthers in relief. For the Bulldogs, sophomore Chase Byerly pitched two innings in relief and was saddled with the loss.

“After we score runs, we want to put up zeros and we didn’t accomplish that,” Farley said. “I had no problem with the effort, but we just didn’t get it done.”

In the opening game of the series, the Panthers scored three runs in the first two innings and senior Chad Pierce gave Milwaukee a complete game, four-hit shutout as the Panthers won, 4-0.

Offensively, Butler could never get anything going. The Bulldogs tallied four singles in the first three innings, but were held hitless the rest of the way. Butler also recorded nine strikeouts while walking just once in the contest.

On March 30, Butler had no trouble taking care of Wabash, dispatching the Little Giants (11-15) by a score of 13-2.

After a non-conference game against Purdue, the Bulldogs will head to Youngstown State for a three-game swing against the Penguins (6-18, 1-2 HL).

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