Baseball Earns Split With First-Place Butler
April 12, 2003
Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler third baseman Jeff Albert drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning off of University of Illinois at Chicago reliever David Haehnel to give the host Bulldogs the 3-2 Horizon League victory over the Flames in the opening game of their doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Bulldog Park.
UIC bounced back in the nightcap, torching Butler hurler and the Horizon League leader in ERA, Luke Behning, for five runs in 1.2 innings of work as the Flames picked up the 8-3 victory to gain the doubleheader split.
With the split, Butler moves to 20-15 on the campaign and 6-1 in Horizon League play, while UIC goes to 16-12 overall and 5-2 in league action.
In the opening game, Butler started their rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied up at two, first baseman Ryan Nance, catcher Tim Marks and second baseman Justin McKinley each notched one-out singles to load the bases for Bulldogs pinch hitter Jeff Brown.
The suicide squeeze was on, but Brown missed the bunt and Nance was thrown out to put runners at second and third with two outs. Brown later drew a walk to bring Albert to the plate. Albert worked a full-count and was able to check his swing on a Haehnel offering for the game-winning RBI.
Butler reliever Randy Miles picked up the victory for the Bulldogs, retiring all three of the batters he faced in the seventh inning to improve to 1-0 on the campaign. Haehnel drops to 3-1 on the season.
Costly baserunning errors proved to be a thorn in UIC's side in the opening game as the Flames had two runners thrown out at third base, a runner thrown out at home and a runner picked off first base.
Junior first baseman Brad Ryan broke out of a 0-for-14 slump in the opening game as the Elmhurst, Ill., native went 2-for-3 with two RBI to lead the Flames offensively. Bryan Russo and Mike Hughes each turned in solid offensive efforts for UIC as both went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Butler designated hitter Paul Beck went 3-for-3 with a RBI to pace the Bulldogs' offensive attack in the opener.
In the nightcap, UIC centerfielder J.P. Carey led the offensive charge for the Flames as the Homewood, Ill., native went 2-for-3 with three RBI. The Flames also received solid efforts from third baseman Nelson Gord (2-run triple, 2 runs) and catcher Kevin Nelson (2-for-4, homer).
UIC was also the beneficiary of five Butler errors on the afternoon, which led to three unearned runs.
Sophomore pitcher Bill Bernabei picked up the victory as he struck out three batters and allowed four hits in three innings to improve to 2-0 on the campaign.
Nelson got things going for the Flames in the top of the second inning as he launched a one-out solo-homer, his second of the season, to put UIC ahead, 1-0.
Both designated hitter Weber Bowen (single) and Gord (hit-by-pitch) reached base to set the stage for a two-run triple by Carey to extend their lead to 3-0. Junior shortstop Jordan DeVoir reached base on a fielding error by Bulldogs' shortstop Jared Lowe, allowing Carey to score from third.
Miscues cost Butler again as left fielder Chuck Peters roped a single that centerfielder Matt Crews was unable to handle, allowing DeVoir to score from first base to give UIC the 5-0 advantage.
Gord provided the offensive highlights in the top of the third as he rocketed a two-run triple and scored on a RBI single from Carey to give UIC the 8-0 lead over Butler.
Butler picked up three runs in the bottom of the third inning, led by a two-run single by Beck.
UIC and Butler will do battle again on Sunday afternoon, with the first pitch slated for 12:00 p.m. at Bulldog Park.