Butler baseball gears for tough matchups out west


The Butler University baseball team fell just short of winning its first game during a Valentine’s Day doubleheader this past weekend at Lipscomb University.

The Bulldogs put up four runs in the top of the ninth, but the Bisons walked off with the win when Kyle Allen hit Adam Lee with the bases loaded.

Now, Butler will look to rebound out west after starting the season with an 0-3 road-trip.

Coach Steve Farley said he was happy to finish all three games, since weather patterns can be unpredictable.

“Weather conditions were challenging in Nashville,” Farley said. “But we were glad to get outside and play 27 innings of baseball to get the season started.”

The Bulldogs will travel to Malibu, Calif., to take on Pepperdine University this weekend. Pepperdine is coming off a 43-18 season, and was just one win away from advancing to the College World Series.

The Waves have made it to the NCAA Tournament in nine out of their last 13 seasons and are currently 1-2 this year. The Waves avoided a series sweep with a 2-1 win over Tulane University Sunday.

The Pepperdine lineup features Hutton Moyer, a second baseman and a preseason Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American.

Last season, Pepperdine’s pitching staff was 10th in the nation in earned run average with a team score of 2.55. Its offense was among the top 30 in the nation, finishing with 36 home runs for the year.

Farley said his team is excited to play one of the nation’s best. The team will look to test its skills and rebound from the 0-3 start.

“Pepperdine is a perennial power in Division I baseball,” he said. “Our guys are very excited about the opportunity they have to compete against a very good team. We look forward to the challenge.”

On Feb. 24 Butler will head to Kentucky to take on the University of Louisville Cardinals, who are currently ranked No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Cardinals have made it to the NCAA Tournament in eight out of the last nine years, including three trips to the College World Series during that span. The team includes pitcher Kyle Funkhouser, a preseason Louisville Slugger First Team All-American.

Funkhouser had the ninth most strikeouts in the nation last season, at 122. He was also voted to the Athletic Coast Conference Preseason All-Conference First Team. The Cardinals finished the weekend with a 2-1 record in the Opening Weekend Challenge at Brighthouse Field in Clearwater, Florida.

Farley said this part of the schedule would be difficult for any team, but he said Butler will be ready come game time.

“The next four games on our schedule are as tough as any team in the nation will face this season,” he said. “We are mentally tough enough to handle it.”