The Miami RedHawks (23-14, 9-6 Mid-American) couldn’t summon their usual late-game magic, as they fell to the Butler Bulldogs 4-3 in extra innings on Wednesday.
Butler (26-11, 4-4 Big East) knotted the score at three in the eighth inning before breaking the tie with a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the 11th.
The loss is Miami’s third in its last four games.
Redshirt senior first baseman Ross Haffey got the RedHawks going early, when he doubled over the center fielder’s head as the second batter of the game. Haffey scored when the next batter, junior designated hitter Hayden Senger, ripped a triple to make it 1-0.
But the ‘Hawks weren’t done scoring in the first. Senger scored from third on a sacrifice fly from sophomore third baseman Landon Stephens to extend Miami’s advantage to 2-0.
Redshirt freshman Jay Wilson got the start for Danny Hayden’s RedHawks and threw five innings before turning the game over to the bullpen with the 2-0 lead still intact. Wilson allowed one unearned run on four hits and two walks, but struck out six Bulldog hitters.
Junior Andy Almquist relieved Wilson on the mound in the sixth and gave up a sacrifice fly to senior third baseman Garrett Christman.
The score held at 2-1 until the top of the eighth, when Stephens muscled a ball over the left-field fence for his sixth home run of the year to push the RedHawks’ lead back to two.
Miami wouldn’t have breathing room for long. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with just one out, before junior second baseman Connor Dall smoked a two-run double down the left-field line to tie the game at 3.
The ‘Hawks wouldn’t give up any further offense in the inning, but were forced to cycle through three different relievers during the frame.
As previously mentioned, the RedHawks couldn’t pull off their typical late-game heroics. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try.
With the score still even, Miami loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but were unsuccessful in bringing any of the runners across home plate. Junior Shane Smith sent Butler down in 1-2-3 order in the bottom half of the inning to send the contest to extras.
After a quiet top half of the 10th, the RedHawks brought in Redshirt senior Jacob Banks to take Smith’s place on the rubber.
Banks pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th to give the ‘Hawks another chance to jump ahead. However, Miami fell short once again.
In his second inning of work, Banks gifted Butler a baserunner by hitting the lead-off batter with a pitch. After getting the next batter to fly out, Banks gave up the walk-off base hit to sophomore shortstop Zach Jarosz, as the Bulldogs picked up a 4-3 victory.
Banks (L, 0-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up the walk-off. Overall, he pitched 1.1 innings, giving up two hits and one hit-by-pitch. He struck out two batters and walked none.
After nine days away from Oxford, Miami returns to McKie Field at Hayden Park this weekend to take on the Ohio Bobcats in the “Battle of the Bricks.” Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m., while Saturday’s is at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s is at 1 p.m.