Butler Beats Baseball 7-5 in Series Opener

Marcus Heath | Photo by David Schofield
Marcus Heath | Photo by David Schofield

Butler scored three runs to break a tie in the sixth inning and held on late to defeat the Youngstown State baseball team 7-5 on Friday afternoon at Eastwood Field.

The Bulldogs' three-run sixth came after YSU scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the score at 4-4. YSU added a run in the eighth and had the tying run at the plate in each of the final two innings.

YSU starter Blake Aquadro struck out a career-high seven batters in five innings, but he walked four batters and hit two others. All seven runs were charged to the junior left-hander, including two in the sixth that came after he handed the ball to the bullpen.

Aquadro struck out the side in both the first and third innings, but the Bulldogs scored a run off him in the first to go up 1-0. Aquadro stuck off the leadoff batter and allowed a ground-rule double down the right-field line that bounced out of play to Michael Fries, the first of many bloop hits by the Bulldogs on the afternoon. Aquadro then fanned Pat Gelwicks for the second out, but Jimmy Risi brought in Fries with a soft liner to right-center.

Marcus Heath gave the Penguins the lead in the bottom of the first with his first career home run. Drew Dosch hit a two-out single to right to get aboard for Heath, who hit a 1-0 pitch from Dom Silvestri over the wall in left.

Mike Hoscheit homered to start Butler's fourth, and the Bulldogs went on to score three runs in the inning. Aquadro walked the next two batters after the home run, but he came up with a nice play on a sacrifice bunt attempt to retire the lead runner at third. Austin Miller brought in Marcos Calderon with a one-out double, and Bob Akin scored on Grant Richeson's squeeze bunt.

YSU tied the score with two runs in the fifth, one of which was unearned. Two walks and a single by YSU's David Leon loaded the bases with one out, and Dosch brought in Padraic Williams with a sacrifice fly. Leon then scored the tying run when Heath's grounder between short and third was misplayed by Miller at short.

Miller responded to lead off the sixth with a bunt single, and another double by Richeson that bounced out of play down the right field line put runners on second and third with nobody out. Fries singled in Miller to give Butler the lead and chase Aquadro from the contest. Richeson then scored on an infield ground out, and Hoscheit brought in Fries with a sacrifice fly that made the score 7-4.

YSU scored a two-out run in the eighth to cut the margin to two. Craig Goubeaux was hit by a pitch to start the rally, and he went to second on Kevin Hix's single to right. Phil Lipari then doubled to left center to bring in Goubeaux.

Jason Shirley hit an infield single with one out in the ninth to put the tying run at the plate for YSU, but Dosch flew out to left and Heath grounded out to short to end the game.

Hix finished with a team-high two hits for YSU, and five Bulldog players had two hits apiece.

Nick DiBartolomeo pitched the sixth inning in relief of Aquadro, and no runs were charged to him. Kevin McCulloh held Butler scoreless over the final three innings.

Silvestri improved to 3-0 for Butler, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks in six innings. Chase Byerly came on with two outs in eighth and went on to earn his seventh save.

Youngstown State and Butler will play game two of their three-game series on Saturday at 1 p.m.