Men’s tennis finishes fifth in Horizon League

The Butler men’s tennis team rounded out regular season conference play this weekend at home against Valparaiso and UIC.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs (6-15, 3-4 HL) swept the Crusaders (9-13, 0-7 HL) in doubles play en route to a 4-3 victory.

Seniors Brandon Bayliss and Lenz Theodor highlighted the Bulldogs’ dominance at doubles with an 8-0 win over their opponents.

This momentum carried over to singles play, as Butler would go on to grab straight-set victories in its first three matches.

At No. 1 singles, Bayliss defeated senior Jose Gaspar, 6-3, 6-3.

Senior Chris Herron and junior Zach Ervin both won their matches as well, winning by scores of 6-1, 6-4 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively.  From then on Butler struggled, losing in its final three matches.

Sunday’s match versus UIC was another chapter in Butler’s season of inconsistency.

The Flames (7-12, 4-3 HL) got off to a quick start, winning two of three doubles matches, and kept on rolling to win 6-1.

Bayliss got the lone victory in singles play for the Bulldogs, finishing the regular season with a perfect 7-0 against conference opponents.

“I commit to my game plan on a daily basis in practice,” Bayliss said.  “I figure out what I need to do and then I do my best to execute.”

Butler did not close out the regular season at full strength. Bayliss and Theodor sat out against IUPUI due to the regular season maximum match limit, leading to a 6-1 loss to the Jaguars (7-15) yesterday.

The Bulldogs were able to take one point in singles play thanks to Herron, who won at No. 1 singles, 6-1,  7-6.

Butler’s only other victory was at No. 2 doubles, but the Bulldogs were forced to forfeit the No. 3 doubles match.

With their split performance this weekend, the Bulldogs clinched the No. 5 seed in the Horizon League Championship tournament.

They will face off against UIC in the first round Thursday at North Central High School in Indianapolis.

“Everyone just needs to play with more confidence so we can start closing matches out,” Bayliss said. “It’ll be tough, but we can definitely do it.”

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