ISU 9, Butler 1
Illinois State defeated Butler, 9-1 in the men’s baseball season opener Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn. The contest, which was originally scheduled against Murray State, had to be rescheduled and moved to a neutral-site — Nashville’s E.S. Rose Park.
The Redbirds swung for 14 hits during the game and Dan Savas pitched six scoreless innings to bring the team to victory.
Savas struck out five Butler players and did not allow a single run on two hits with one walk, contributing to his first win of the season.
“I think [Dan] Savas really set the tone for us with as well as he pitched, he picked up right where he left off from last year which is great to see,” ISU head coach Mark Kingston said. “He threw a lot of strikes, he got a double play when he needed to get a double play and I thought the defense played really well behind him.”
Fellow Redbirds Joe Claver, David Suarez and Brock Stewart saw relief action for the team, with Suarez fanning two batters in two scoreless innings of play.
In his first pitching performance since 2012, Stewart threw a scoreless ninth inning for the Redbirds and added two strikeouts.
Butler’s starter Eric Stout faltered by allowing four runs in four innings, tipping the score in ISU’s favor.
Colon hit a single to the right field line with two outs, allowing Hollenbeck and Voelker to score and giving ISU a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, ISU added a run on a Rodemoyer RBI-triple, followed by a Colon run-scoring double in the fourth, upping the score to 4-0, Redbirds, heading into the fifth inning.
Illinois State took advantage of two Butler errors in the bottom of the fifth, leading to a five-run frame. Voelker added a two-run single hit to stretch the Redbird lead, 9-0 after the fifth inning.
Savas took care of the last seven Butler batters, securing his 14th career-victory on the Illinois State team.
Claver opened the seventh inning by walking the bases loaded while Suarez retired the next three batters. Butler scored only once on a Pat Guinane sacrifice-fly.
Suarez accomplished a scoreless eighth inning and Stewart finished the game in the ninth.
“All things considered I thought it was a really good first day and now we need to build on it tomorrow,” Kingston said.
Butler 7, ISU 6
Coming off of their Saturday win against the Butler Bulldogs, the members of the ISU men’s baseball team rallied for another win, only to fall in extra innings, 7-6.
The Redbirds jumped to an early 2-0 lead at the top of the third inning, but were closely chased by Butler, who came back with one run in the bottom of the third.
In the fifth, Voelker tallied a RBI-double, eventually leading the Redbirds to another inning ahead with a score of 4-2 after the sixth
Butler quickly took advantage of a misplayed ball in center field to load its bases with no outs in the seventh inning. A two-out, two-run single from Butler’s Chris Maranto tied the game at fours before another two-run single put Butler in the lead for the remainder of the game.
Down by two in the eighth inning, the Redbirds pushed themselves through, scoring one run off of a Butler relief pitcher.
Daniel Dwyer hit a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch, moving to third when the final pitch of a walk to Pail DeJong resulted in the second wild pitch of the inning.
Stewart singled, leading to a run, which closed the score gap down to one point. Butler’s Kyle Allen entered the game and retired Rodemoyer to shut down the Redbirds’ run for the win.
In the ninth inning, Hollenbeck hit a single into left field, followed by a Jack Czeszewski single and a Sean Beesley bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Colon then lifted a sacrifice-fly to center field, leading to a run and a tied score.
Butler rallied for one run off of Jeremy Rhoades in the tenth inning to secure a walk-off win. The Redbirds intentionally walked Bulldog Quincy Quintero to load the bases with one out.
A ground ball past a Redbird infielder ended the game, Butler defeating ISU, 7-6.
“I thought we saw some things to build on, but we also saw some things that we need to continue to work on,” Kingston said. “I’m disappointed with the loss because we hate to lose, but we just need to get better.”
The Redbirds swing back into action at 1 p.m. Saturday against Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark.