Baker's walk-off home run lifts Butler over Cowley, 5-4

Baker's walk-off home run lifts Butler over Cowley, 5-4

Zach Baker hit a walk-off home run to left field to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, giving Butler a 5-4 non-conference win over visiting Cowley on Tuesday at McDonald Stadium.

The win gives Butler a split of the season series against the Tigers, with each team winning on its home field.

The Grizzlies are now 31-19 on the year while Cowley falls to 30-15. Butler will be in action again on Wednesday at Brown Mackie at 4 p.m. in Salina.

Butler had jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with four runs on three hits in the bottom of the first. Ty Redington was hit by the very first pitch of the game from Cowley pitcher Storm Rynard. Dalton Wheat then doubled to left to put runners at second and third. 

Evan Koehler grounded out to shortstop to score Redington, giving Koehler his 67th RBI of the season, which ranks him second nationally in that category. 

Alex Weiss would single to drive in Wheat and later in the inning, Zach Baker hit a two-run double to right-center to make the score 4-0.

Meanwhile, Cade Wager made his first start of the season for Butler and was sharp as he threw two scoreless innings. But he ran into trouble in the top of the third, allowing six straight base hits and three runs. 

Eliot King came on in relief to get the final two outs of the inning and leave the bases loaded. Butler continued to hold that 4-3 lead until the top of the seventh inning, when King allowed a solo home run to Cowley's Dillon White.

Jackson Rolfs came into relieve King and went on to throw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief as the game remained tied. He was pulled with two outs and two on in the top of the ninth and closer Trever Ezell struck out the only batter he faced.

That brought Baker to bat leading off the bottom of the ninth. With two stikes against him, he hit a ball out over the left-field fence to end the game.

Baker finished the game 3-4 at the plate with three RBI. He had half of Butler's six hits in the game.
Ezell earns the win, making him 3-0 on the year to go along with his NJCAA-leading 14 saves.