Baseball: Team rallies past Illinois-Chicago in finale

A late rally propelled the Butler baseball team to a 9-8 victory over Illinois-Chicago Sunday afternoon.

The contest was the second of the day and the finale of a three-game series between the two squads.

Photo by Reid Bruner

The win earned the Bulldogs (19-17, 7-8) a split of the day’s doubleheader and allowed the team to avoid a three-game sweep.

The Bulldogs trailed the Flames (14-19, 8-7) 8-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning and captured the win with four runs.

Freshman second baseman Austin Miller hit a one-out single that sent junior first baseman Jimmy Risi home and sealed the walk-off victory.

“Any win is good, but a walk-off win is something special,” Butler coach Steve Farley said. “The player who gets the game-winning hit usually remembers that day for a long time.”

Miller said his teammates gave him the opportunity to come up big in a clutch situation.

“I wouldn’t have been in that situation if not for everyone before me,” Miller said.

Miller finished the game with three RBIs, and Risi went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Senior pitcher Dom Silvestri started for the Bulldogs and gave up four earned runs over six innings.

Senior pitcher Mike Hernandez got the win, allowing two earned runs over the last two innings of the game.

“Our comeback in the second game on Sunday was one of the best I’ve seen at Bulldog Park,” Farley said.

The win was a quick bounce back for the Bulldogs after losing the first game 7-5 in 13 innings.

“Players probably spent 10 hours at the ballpark on Sunday,” Farley said. “It’s a physical and mental challenge.”

Butler led UIC 5-3 after the third inning before the Flames tied it in the seventh inning and scored a pair of runs in the 13th inning.

Junior Chase Byerly pitched 6 2/3 innings in relief and took the loss.

Earlier in the week, Byerly set the record for most saves in Butler history.

UIC took the lead in the 13th inning on an RBI single by redshirt junior centerfielder Nick Addison and added one more run on a single off the bat of sophomore shortstop Alex Lee.

Butler’s leadoff hitter reached base in the bottom of the inning before a double play stifled any Bulldog scoring opportunity.

The game was Butler’s longest of the season.

Lee led the Flames on offense, going 4 for 7 and driving in one run.

Junior catcher Radley Haddad went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a double for the Bulldogs.

On Friday, Butler rallied late but came up short in a 14-9 loss to UIC.

The Bulldogs scored seven runs over the last three innings and were propelled by a two-run home by Risi and four RBIs from Miller.

Freshman pitcher Eric Stout gave up five earned runs in the first three innings and suffered the loss.

The Bulldogs host non-conference rival Xavier this afternoon at Bulldog Park before heading to Valparaiso this weekend.

It will be the second three-game series of the season between the teams.

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