TROY - It was a game that lived up to the billing, as the two juggernauts atop the Miami Valley League clashed Friday evening in Troy.
Despite the Trojans rally attempt in the bottom of the seventh, Butler was able to hang on for a huge 7-3 win over the Trojans.
Troy pitcher Trace Mercer came out with his best stuff for the Trojans and have the Butler batters off balance early - but Cason Bennett delivered a key triple in the first inning to plate freshman and starting pitcher Hunter Richardson for the early 1-0 lead.
Richardson, the lefty and University of Kentucky commit again performed like a trusty veteran on the mound, mowing down the Trojans one-by-one.
"Hunter threw a great game, said head coach Trent Dues. "He kept them off balance and mixed it up well."
Richardson would finish with nine strikeouts through six innings of work and just one run allowed.
Austin Flohre added to the Butler lead with a clutch sacrifice fly to score Jayden Watkins and a batter later Bennett came barreling into home from third, stealing a run for a 3-0 Butler lead.
The Aviators capitalized on Troy committing an uncharacteristic four errors in the game, to cruise from there - withstanding a Trojan rally in the seventh inning that saw Troy load the bases and add two runs late to shorten the gap.
Sophomore Jordan Taylor closed out the win for Butler with three strikeouts.
"We took advantage of some mistakes they made, said Dues.
Bennett and Mitch Thomas each finished the day 3-for-3, but it was a team effort as the Aviators seemed to find timely hitting when they needed it.
"Casey, Jayden, Hunter, Mitch and Austin did a nice job for us at the plate."
The win gives Butler (9-1, 6-0) the top spot in the MVL, but a rematch with Troy (8-2, 5-1) awaits on Monday at Butler at 5:00 pm. Ahead of that game, the Aviators will travel to Coldwater for a non-conference clash with Coldwater (6-2, 3-0).