JOE HASENSTAB | Staff Reporter
The Butler baseball team headed to Macomb, Ill., last weekend to face off against the Western Illinois Leathernecks in a three-game series.
The Bulldogs came into the series looking to improve their record of 7-12. However, Western Illinois scored 11 runs while holding Butler to just two.
With the loss Friday, junior pitcher Eric Stout fell to 1-5 on the year. Stout likely has not had the start to the season he had been hoping for, but his teammates said they know he is too talented for the struggles to continue.
“It’s been tough a little bit (to see Stout struggle), but we all know what he can do,” junior pitcher Kyle Allen said. “Last year he was our top pitcher, obviously, and that’s why he is back in this spot again. We all know that he definitely can perform and he will.”
Allen also said he has been impressed by the team’s ability to bounce back and pick up Stout as it waits for him to return to form.
The team had Saturday off before its double-header on Sunday, and coach Steve Farley took the team bowling to relax the players. Whether this technique changed anything remains uncertain, but the team did go on to sweep the doubleheader.
Butler used a six-run third inning to propel it to a 10-5 victory in the opener. Allen picked up the win to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Freshman Jeff Schank tossed six scoreless innings in the second game, and Butler picked up its second win of the day 2-0. Senior Billy Laing got the save, pitching three scoreless innings while striking out four.
Tomorrow, the team will face off against the Wabash College Little Giants, a game that was originally scheduled for Tuesday. The delay came as a preemptive move because of bad weather forecasts. Allen said the team has played Wabash in the past and that he feels confident in his team’s ability to get the win against the Little Giants.
“If we play the way we’ve been playing this past weekend and a couple other weekends that we’ve done really well, we shouldn’t have a problem going in there and getting business done,” Allen said.
This weekend, the Bulldogs will head to Louisville to play two games against strong opponents. They will face Xavier, who has won three out of its four games on neutral sites this year, in the first game on Saturday. Then Butler will take on the No. 7 team in the nation, the Louisville Cardinals.
Sophomore outfielder Drew Small said he sees the game against Xavier as important because the Musketeers are a conference opponent.
“It’ll be a good view, or a first-hand scouting report, on a Big East team and (we will) kind of get a good feel for what we’ll be up against once we are actually in the Big East play,” Small said.