Butler Powers Towson Into CAA Championship Game
HARRISONBURG, Va. (May 24, 2013) – Brendan Butler had three hits – all for extra bases – drove in six runs and scored five times to lead Towson to a 20-13 victory over William & Mary Friday afternoon in the winners’ bracket final of the 2013 CAA Baseball Championship at Veterans Memorial Park.
Fourth-seeded Towson (28-28), winner of three straight games in the double-elimination event, advances to the tournament’s championship round for the first time since 2008 and will be seeking its first CAA title. Two losers’ bracket games remain to be played to determine an opponent who would have to defeat the Tigers twice to win the league’s title and automatic NCAA Tournament bid. Second-seeded William & Mary (36-21) will play the survivor of Friday night’s UNCW-Northeastern elimination game at 1 p.m. Saturday with that winner advancing to face Towson at 4:30 p.m.
Butler hit a three-run, third-inning home run to put Towson in front to stay 5-4, tripled in a run in the fourth, drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the sixth and tripled in a run in the eighth. He scored after reaching base on each of those occasions and after walking in the fifth and was retired in six plate appearances only on a foul fly ball to the right field corner during the first inning.
The Tigers also got four singles and three RBI from Brandon Gonnella, three hits and three RBI from Andrew Parker and three hits each from Zach Fisher, who drove in two runs, and Kurt Wertz. Towson’s scoring total and 23 hits both were season highs.
Second baseman Ryan Lindemuth led a 17-hit William & Mary attack by going 4-for-5 with a home run, three doubles and six RBI. His three-run homer gave the Tribe a 4-2 lead in the top of the third, he doubled in two runs in the fourth, doubled in a run and scored in the sixth, and doubled and scored in the seventh. Michael Katz added three hits, including a homer and a double, scored four times and drove in a run for the Tribe.
Towson took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Pat Fitzgerald doubled with one out and Wertz reached on an infield single. After Wertz was forced out on Peter Bowles’ infield grounder Fitzgerald scored on a wild pitch and Bowles came home on Dominic Fratantuono’s single.
William & Mary got a run back in the second when Jonathan Sarty led off with a single, advanced a base on a groundout and a Ryan Williams single and scored on Derek Lowe’s fly to right.
The Tribe took a 4-2 lead in the third when Lindemuth hit his third homer of the season following a walk to William Shaw and a Katz double.
Towson answered with six runs in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 8-4. Butler put the Tigers in front with his fourth home run of the season; Gonnella singled in Andrew Parker who had doubled; Fisher singled in Gonnella; and Pat Fitzgerald’s sacrifice fly plated Hunter Bennett who had singled.
Lindemuth got William & Mary to within 8-6 in the fourth with his fourth and fifth RBI of the game, doubling in Shaw who singled and Katz who walked.
Towson raised its lead to 11-6 in the fourth on the first RBI triple by Butler, Parker’s sacrifice fly and Fisher’s RBI single. RBI singles by Parker and Gonnella in the fifth upped the advantage to 13-6.
William & Mary scored five times in the top of the sixth to get to within 13-11 on Lindemuth’s RBI double, Sarty’s infield grounder, Jackson Shaver’s RBI single and Ryan Brown’s two-run single.
Towson added four runs in the bottom of the sixth on a bases-loaded walk to Fratantuono, Butler’s infield grounder and a throwing error, and on a Gonnella single.
William & Mary scored in the seventh on Katz’ solo homer and Sarty’s groundout, and Towson added three eighth-inning runs on Butler’s second triple, a Parker double and a groundout by Bennett.
Kyle Paul, Towson’s fourth pitcher, was credited with the win after working 3 1/3 innings. He allowed two runs and three hits while striking out one and not walking a batter and improved to 3-4 for the season.
William & Mary starter Jason Inghram took the loss to fall to 8-6. He gave up 11 runs on 13 hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked three.