Butler opens conference play with splits at Garden, Seward

Butler opens conference play with splits at Garden, Seward

The Butler softball team opened conference play with four road games this past weekend, splitting with Garden City and Seward County.

Butler (5-10 overall, 2-2 Jayhawk West) lost both opening contests against Garden and Seward before taking the second game. On Friday at Garden, the Grizzlies lost Game 1 by a 2-1 score, then defeated the Busters 3-1 in the nightcap. In Saturday's contests in Liberal, Seward walked off with a 3-2 eight-inning win in the opener. In Game 2, Butler's offense came away with a 14-5 run-rule victory over the Saints.

The Grizzlies play a non-conference doubleheader at Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa on Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m., then host Pratt on Wednesday in the 2015 home season opener at East Park beginning at 3 p.m.

Game 1 – Garden City 2, Butler 1

Butler scored its only run in the first inning when Morgan Heckart's groundout scored Aujanae McCoy. Garden answered back with a Mattie Miller RBI single.

The Broncbusters broke the 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with a run scored by Erin Jankiewicz.

McCoy was the Grizzlies' lone offensive spark, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and three stolen bases.

Kaelah McMullin took the loss, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six innings. McMullin walked three and struck out three.

Game 2 – Butler 3, Garden City 1

Butler snapped an eight-game losing streak with a Game 2 win over the Busters. The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Gracie Bogle's sacrifice fly scored Megan Wurts.

The Grizzlies added another run in the sixth when Bogle drove in Wurts on another sacrifice fly. Garden cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth, as Sidney Coleman scored on a Mattie Miller single.

Butler added an insurance run in the seventh, as Wurts drove in Morgan Heckart to give the visitors the 3-1 lead.

Wurts went 4-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored, five stolen bases and one RBI. Monica Islava went 2-for-3, while Bogle had two RBIs. The Grizzlies finished the game with a season-high nine stolen bases

Jenny Hittinger earned the win, tossing a complete-game four-hitter while allowing one earned run and striking out two batters.

Game 1 – Seward County 3, Butler 2 (8 innings)

Butler broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning, getting a leadoff bunt single by Aujanae McCoy, who then stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. McCoy would then score on an A'Liyah Rogers RBI groundout.

Seward scored two runs in the bottom-half of the inning, scoring both runs with two outs on back-to-back RBI singles from Jaidyn Mawhinney and Kolby Hamilton.

Butler tied the contest in the sixth when Monica Islava hit a leadoff solo home run to left-center.

Seward ended the contest with walkoff RBI single by Tifanie Bolanos with one out to score Vanessa Oakden from third.

Rogers and Islava both had two hits and one RBI each.

Hittinger was on the losing end, allowing three runs – all of them unearned – on eight hits in 7 1.3 innings. She struck out three batters.

Game 2 – Butler 14, Seward County 5 (5 innings)

The Butler offense had its best production to date, scoring 14 runs on 14 hits – both season-highs on the season – and taking advantage of eight Seward errors.

Butler jumped out to a 6-0 lead over Seward after 1 ½ innings, scoring three runs each in the first two innings.

In the first inning, Butler took advantage of three Seward errors. Aujanae McCoy reached first on a single, then moved to third when Megan Wurts reached first on a throwing error. Rogers drove in McCoy on an RBI single to right field. Wurts and Rogers would come home on separate throwing errors, making the score 3-0.

With runners on first and second with one out in the second, Wurts drove in Heckart on an RBI single. McCoy then scored on a wild pitch. Wurts scored the third run in the inning on an A'Liyah Rogers RBI groundout.

In the bottom of the second, Seward answered with five runs off that were charged to pitcher Kaleah McMullin. With Butler leading 5-3 and Seward loading the bases with nobody out, Gracie Bogle came in relief of McMullin. A Bogle wild pitch scored a runner from third, then an RBI groundout pulled the Saints within a run.  Seward ended the inning unable to score the tying run from third with one out.

Butler broke the game open with four runs in the top of the fourth, as Heckart led off with a double, then advanced to third on an error. With one out, Wurts and Rogers followed with RBI singles to score Heckart and Karlie Peck. On Rogers' single, Wurts scored on a throwing error to give Butler a 9-5 lead. Islava's RBI single to left to score Rogers made the score 10-5.

In the fifth with one out, McCoy reached first on an error, then stole second. Wurts followed with a double to left to score McCoy, then stole third base with Rogers batting. After a walk to Rogers, Wurts and Rogers both scored when Islava reached first on a throwing error. Islava scored the final run on an Bogle RBI single to left.

Butler's 1-2-3-4 punch of McCoy, Wurts, Rogers and Islava combined to go 9-for-15 with 11 runs scored, 11 RBIs and four stolen bases. Both McCoy and Wurts went 3-for-4. Rogers and Islava each scored twice and drove in four RBIs each, while Wurts had three RBIs and scored four runs.

Bogle allowed just one hit in four innings of relief of McMullin, who gave up three earned runs on four hits in just one inning.