Butler splits final conference series with Pratt

Butler splits final conference series with Pratt

The Butler baseball team finished its regular season conference schedule by splitting a four-game series with Pratt on Monday at McDonald Stadium.

The Grizzlies had to come back in both games on Sunday for the victories, winning 9-8 and 7-3. However, Pratt swept Butler on Monday as the Beavers won 7-4 and 7-5.

Butler (23-19 overall, 18-14 Jayhawk West) needed a four-game sweep of Pratt to finish in second place in the West division. With Monday's losses, the Grizzlies fell to fifth place and will have to face Kansas City Kansas in a best-of-three series for the Region VI opening round. The first two games will be played this Saturday, with a third game if necessary on Sunday.


Game 1 - Butler 9, Pratt 8

The Grizzlies never led in the opening game until scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Butler rallied from a 5-0 deficit after two innings with a five-run third to tie the game at 5. Levi Parker got the Grizzlies on the board with an RBI double to left to score Gabe Cook. Parker would then steal third and score on an errant throw by Pratt catcher Garrett White. Dalton Wheat then hit a solo home run to pull Butler within two runs.

After Wheat's homer, Ty Moore walked and stole second, then scored on Jordan Knox's double to left center. Knox would tie the game  on Tory Bell's RBI single through the left side of the infield.

Pratt scored three runs in the top of the fourth to take an 8-5 lead. Butler would get two of the runs back in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Levi Parker scored on a balk. Ty Moore then crossed the plate on an RBI groundout by Micheal Cerullo.

In the seventh, Butler tied the game at 8-8 when Tory Bell led off with a solo home run to left field. Two batters later, Gabe Cook was hit with a pitch then stole second base. Cook advanced to third on a groundout by Shane Bridges, then scored the game-winning run when Levi Parker singled down the left-field line.

Gus Strunk picked up the win, tossing 3.1 innings of relief and striking out six while allowing just one hit.

Levi Parker went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI for Butler. Ty Moore and Gabe Cook also scored two runs each in the win.


Game 2 - Butler 7, Pratt 3

Butler trailed 3-1 after 7 1/2 innings, but scored six runs in the eighth inning for the nightcap victory.

Ty Moore led off the eighth with an infield bunt single, then Jordan Knox followed with a walk. Moore then scored on an error by Pratt's John Lassiter. Two batters later, Trever Ezell's two-run double to score Knox and Micheal Cerullo gave Butler a 4-3 lead.

The Grizzlies scored three more insurance runs in the inning with a two-run single from Gabe Cook and Levi Parker's RBI sacrifice bunt to score Cook.

Brennan Walker (3-0) received the win coming in relief of starter Greg Houser. Walker tossed four scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out four.


Game 3 - Pratt 7, Butler 4

Butler took a 1-0 lead after the first inning when Jordan Knox's RBI single through the right side scored Dalton Wheat.

Pratt would score twice in the fourth, but Butler recaptured the lead in the bottom-half of the frame. With Tory Bell on first with one out, Trever Ezell singled to right-center. Bell advanced to third and scored on a throwing error by Pratt's Justin Crouch. The throw would allow Ezell to score as well to make the score 3-2 in Butler's favor.

Pratt then took the lead for good with a four-run fifth inning and added another insurance run in the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, Ezell hit an RBI single to score Jordan Know to pull Butler within three, 7-4.

In the seventh, Dalton Wheat and Ty Moore both reached on base by getting hit with a pitch with one out, but Knox and Cerullo struck out swinging for the final two outs to end the game.


Game 4 - Pratt 7, Butler 5

Butler held a 5-2 lead after four innings in the second game, but could not maintain the lead for the series victory.

Dalton Wheat scored the game's first run in the first on a passed ball, but Pratt's Jake Siroky hit a two-run homer in the second to give the Beavers a 2-1 lead. Levi Parker's sacrifice fly to score Gus Strunk in the bottom of the second tied the game at 2-2.

Butler added two runs in the third when Trever Ezell reached on an error that scored Jordan Knox. Micheal Cerullo then scored on a sacrifice fly by Gabe Cook to give Butler a 4-2 lead.

In the fourth, Dalton Wheat's solo home run to right center extended the Grizzlies' lead to 5-2.

However, Pratt followed with a three-run fifth inning to tie the game, then added two more runs in the seventh to take the lead for good.

Wheat went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Grizzlies offensively.