On a day when the wind was blowing out at 31 miles per hour at game time, Butler took advantage of the conditions by hitting four homeruns on the way to defeating Valparaiso 12-10 at Emory G. Bauer Field on Friday afternoon.
Brett Bivens (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview H.S.) and John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) each had four hits as the Crusaders pounded out 18 on the afternoon. The Crusaders runners in scoring position in five different innings, including twice when they had leadoff doubles by Giusti.
“We didn’t take advantage of opportunities enough today and they did,” Valpo head coach Tracy Woodson said.
A three-run homer by Kyle Schultz in the opening inning put the Bulldogs on the board and they added another in the second on a triple by Kyle McLaughlin and a single by Rick Betsch. Giusti doubled in the bottom of the second and scored on a Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) single.
The Crusaders tied the game in the third as Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) led off the inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to 16 straight games. After moving to second on a walk, three straight singles by Matt Lenski (Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.), Giusti, and O’Gara plated three runs to tie the game.
A homer by Colin Ziegel to lead off the fourth and another unearned run put Butler back on top before the Crusaders took their only lead in the bottom of the inning. Bivens and Wallace doubled and Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) hit his first homer of the season to right.
An RBI single by Grant Fillipitch and a two-run blast by Ziegel, his second of the game, put the Bulldogs back on top for good in the fifth. Joe Pauley had a two-run shot in the sixth to increase the lead to 11-7.
A double play ground out and Brunelli’s second round-tripper of the day brought Valpo within two in the bottom of the sixth. Butler added an insurance run in the eighth before Wallace had his second run-scoring single in the bottom of the inning.
Brian Deter came on to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth for the Bulldogs to earn his first save of the season.
Elliott Gibbs (Munster, Ind./Munster H.S.) started and suffered the loss (1-4) for the Crusaders, striking out seven but allowing 12 hits and nine earned runs in 6.1 innings of work. Jamie Feldheiser (2-2) earned the win in relief for Butler.
“Our pitchers have got to keep the ball down,” Woodson said. “It’s tough to pitch on days like to day, but we can’t stress it enough.”
Ziegel and Betsch each had three hits for the Bulldogs to pace their 14-hit attack.
“We have to come back and be ready to play tomorrow and win two games,” Woodson said.
Valparaiso (11-25, 3-8 Horizon) and Butler (9-26, 5-12) will wrap up their three-game weekend series on Saturday at Emory G. Bauer Field with a doubleheader beginning at noon.