Butler baseball picked up a pair of victories against Pratt on Saturday at McDonald Stadium, including a come-from-behind 7-5 win in Game 2.
The Grizzlies (19-9 overall, 11-5 conference) took the opening game 5-4 behind a complete game win from sophomore pitcher Drake Norton. In the second game, Butler trailed 5-3 after 5 ½ innings before tying the game in the sixth inning, then Javier Pena drove in two runs with a double in the eighth for the eventual game-winning runs.
With the home doubleheader sweep, Butler won the season series over the Beavers three games to one and remained two games back of Barton and Colby for first place in the Jayhawk Conference standings.
Butler will host Northern Oklahoma-Enid in a single nine-inning contest on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.
Game 1 – Butler 5, Pratt 4
Butler scored all five runs in the third inning, then held on for the victory in the first game.
The Grizzlies broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning when Mason Goade scored on a pair of errors in a pickoff attempt. Goade led the inning off with a walk, then moved to third when Pratt starter Cole Parker's pickoff throw sailed up the right-field line. The throw back into the infield sailed out of play, allowing Goade to score standing up.
Patrick Bethea followed with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a Keone Givens single to right field. After a strikeout, Butler loaded the bases on consecutive walks to Connor Hurst and Jackson Soule.
Jack Maki put Butler up 3-0 with an RBI single to left to score Givens, then Joshua Cox hit into a fielder's choice to drive in Hurst. With runners at the corners, the Grizzlies executed a delayed double steal as Soule stole home.
Pratt broke the shutout bid with a three-run fourth inning, scoring two runs on a Kenneth Gonzalez single and error, then Eric Escamilla followed with an RBI single.
The Beavers cut the lead to one in the fifth with a two-out RBI double by Trace Maddux.
Pratt had chances to tie the game in each of the final three innings, including runners at second and third with two outs in the seventh. However, Norton got a strikeout for the final out to give Butler the 5-4 win.
Norton (6-1) allowed four earned runs on eight hits, walked four and struck out five batters while throwing 120 pitches for his fourth complete game on the season.
Butler had more walks (6) than hits (5) in the contest, with five of the walks issued by Parker.
Game 2 – Butler 7, Pratt 5
Pratt took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Elerie Rivera led off with a single, moved to third on consecutive groundouts, then scored on a throwing error.
In the bottom of the first, Connor Hurst put Butler back in front with his 12th home run of the season – a two-run shot to right field to give the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead.
Pratt loaded the bases in the second on two hit-by-pitches and a throwing error, then scored the tying run on a fielder's choice. Butler managed to get out of the inning on the play, throwing Ben Van Diest out at home plate for the third out.
Butler went back in front by a run in the third on a solo homer to left field by Javier Pena, but the Grizzlies gave the run right back the next inning on a dropped fly ball by center fielder Patrick Bethea with two outs.
Pratt took a 4-3 lead in the fifth as Ashton Roy hit a solo home run to right, then the Beavers added another run in the sixth on a Gage Axline RBI double.
In Butler's half of the sixth, the Grizzlies opened the inning by loading the bases on a Mason Goade single, Garrett Chalker double and a Bethea hit by pitch. Goade scored from third on a fielder's choice, then Chalker tied the game by coming home on a Pena groundout.
In the eighth, Butler put runners at first and second behind a Bethea walk and hit by pitch to Givens. Pena then smacked a single into the right-center field gap, allowing both runs to score to put the Grizzlies in front.
Butler's bullpen was key in the win in the final three innings, with Corey Murphy providing 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief. In the ninth, Murphy allowed a leadoff walk and a one-out single. The Grizzlies then brought in Jack Maki, who recorded a pop-up and groundout to earn his third save of the season.
Grizzly starter James Leitch went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits and striking it five. Colby Pechin relieved Leitch in the sixth, getting two outs as Pratt left the bases loaded.
Pena led Butler's offense with a 2-for-5 performance at the plate and driving in four runs. Hurst also had two hits and two RBI, while Bethea scored two runs.