VANDALIA - The Aviators (17-5, 12-3) celebrated Alumni Night in style, winning their eighth straight Friday night, under the lights with a dramatic 5-4, walk-off win over the rival Red Devils.
Trailing 4-0 going into the fifth inning, time was running out for a Butler comeback. A walk and two singles later the Aviators were in business with the bases loaded and just one out. Max Rubins drew a walk to score John Stevens and cut the Tippecanoe lead to 4-1.
The Red Devils would squash the rally as right-fielder Josh Dietz caught a fly ball and fired a laser beam in to catcher Brady Liskey for an inning ending out at the plate.
The Aviators would capitalize an inning later, turning three walks and two singles into three runs and a tie game. After an opening walk to Hunter Richardson, Jayden Watkins singled on a liner to center field. Alex Ables and Max Frye each walked, scoring another run to cut the Tippecanoe lead to 4-2.
Mitch Strehle (1-for-2, 2 RBI) ripped a clutch line drive to Dietz in right field, scoring Watkins and Ables to knot the game at 4-4.
The Red Devils were held scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings, and the momentum and anticipation were at a crescendo - the Aviators didn't disappoint.
Austin Flohre was hit by a pitch to get things started and quickly stole second base, putting the Aviators in scoring position. Watkins was intentionally walked to setup a possible double play - but it was not to be.
After a passed ball advanced both runners to second and third base respectively, Alex Ables sent a sacrifice fly deep to center fielder Max Dunaway. Dunaway came up firing and put the ball at the plate in a flash, the ball however escaped Liskey's glove just long enough for Flohre to slide his hand across the plate for the Butler win and into a jubilant celebration with his teammates.
Jordan Taylor got the start for Butler working 4.1 innings with five strikeouts and four runs allowed. Cayden Borchers (2-0) entered in relief and pitched the remaining 2.2 innings allowing just one hit, with one strikeout for the win.
Butler will jump back into action on Saturday at home with a 12:00 pm matchup with perennial power Coldwater (15-3).