The Butler baseball team put together one of its best strings of pitching so far this season.
But Valparaiso threw even better and came away with a three-game series sweep over the weekend.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs (19-21, 7-11) saw the Crusaders (18-20, 12-6) tally two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to come away with a 3-2 victory.
The contest was the second game of a doubleheader.
“The cold, windy conditions made it very challenging for both teams,” Butler coach Steve Farley said.
Valparaiso freshman shortstop Spencer Mahoney drove in the game-winning run on a bases-loaded walk.
Junior third baseman Elliott Martin drove in the Crusaders’ first ninth-inning run with a single.
Junior pitcher Chase Byerly allowed both runs, which were unearned, and suffered the loss. Butler got out to an early lead with an RBI single from junior first baseman Jimmy Risi.
Freshman pitcher Eric Stout started for the Bulldogs and gave up one run over five innings, tallying three strikeouts.
Stout was able to get out of a fifth-inning bases loaded jam without any damage done before turning things over to Byerly.
The Bulldogs added another run in the fifth inning on a home run by sophomore centerfielder Marcos Calderon.
Mahoney, Martin and senior catcher Billy Cribbs led the Crusaders, putting up one RBI apiece in the nightcap.
The day’s first game saw another pitchers’ duel, with Valparaiso winning 1-0.
Butler senior pitcher Brad Schnitzer pitched all eight innings for the Bulldogs, allowing one earned run, five hits and one walk.
The run came on a second-inning RBI single by senior right fielder Steven Scoby.
Junior designated hitter Pat Gelwicks led Butler with three of the team’s four hits. Gelwicks also found himself in scoring position three times, but the Bulldogs could not capitalize.
Crusaders senior pitcher Kevin Wild tossed a complete game shutout, allowing three walks and striking out five in addition to the four hits allowed.
On Friday, Butler senior pitcher Dom Silvestri gave up four earned runs in the first inning. It proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to overcome, as Valparaiso walked away with a 4-2 win. Silvestri silenced the Crusaders for the next six innings, but Butler could only manage two runs on four hits.
Silvestri struck out four, walked two and gave up six hits in his seven innings of work.
Butler will face the University of Indianapolis this afternoon before three games against Horizon League-leading Wright State this weekend.
“A lot of people feel outside of the league like Wright State is so much better and that they’re just going to run through the conference tournament,” Byerly said. “We want to send them a message this weekend and let them know that’s not the case.”