Butler wins sixth straight conference title with sweep of Barton

Butler wins sixth straight conference title with sweep of Barton

Butler softball is once again the champions of the Jayhawk Conference after sweeping a home doubleheader from No. 9 Barton on Saturday. With the sweep, Butler wins its sixth straight conference title and its eighth in the last 10 seasons.

The sixth-ranked Grizzlies won the first game 3-2, completing a contest that had been suspended by rain nearly a month ago. In the second game, Butler jumped to a 5-0 lead and cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Cougars.

With the wins, the Grizzlies clinched the title outright with a conference record of 21-1. Butler (41-4 overall) still has two games to play Monday at Dodge City, but second-place Barton is 17-5 with two games left.

Butler has won 26 consecutive games since a loss at Barton on March 3, which was the Grizzlies' only conference loss. The streak is just two shy of the program record of 28 straight wins in 2013.

The Grizzlies also clinch home field and the top seed in the upcoming Region VI Tournament, which will be held at East Park. The three-day tourney begins Friday, April 29.

Game 1 - Butler 3, Barton 2

The Grizzlies had led 2-1 thanks to a Megan Wurts home run, but Barton tied the game 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning and had the bases loaded with two outs when rain forced the game to be suspended on March 30.

More than three weeks later, play resumed. Brynn Minor came on in relief and retired the final Barton hitter in the fifth.

Butler scored the eventual winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Morgan Bohanan doubled and Drea Lesure pinch ran at second base. Minor then doubled to left to score Lesure for the game-winning run.

Minor also threw scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh to earn the victory and move to 3-0 overall on the season.

Alexis Clinton led the Grizzlies' offense, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored.

GAME 2 - Butler 6, Barton 1

Offensively, Butler had all the runs it needed after the first inning. Becca Schulte hit a double to right to drive in Alexis Clinton and Morgan Bohanan for a 2-0 lead. Butler added two more in the third as Megan Wurts and Bohanan both had hits to drive in runs.

Bohanan, who improved her average to .538 and now ranks second nationally, drove in another run with a double to left in the bottom of the fourth, putting Butler up 5-0. Bohanan has hit safely in 19 of the last 20 games, hitting .617 (37-for-60) with 31 runs batted in.

Butler's final run came in the sixth when Becca Schulte doubled to drive in Mikayla Waggnor.

Regan Mergele started for Butler, throwing four shutout innings before giving up a solo homer in the top of the fifth. Brynn Minor then came in and three two more shutout innings to slam the door on Barton. Mergele finished with eight strikeouts - including three in the third inning - to improve to 20-3 on the season.

Clinton was 2-for-4 with three runs scored while Bohanan went 3-for-4 with two runs driven in and Becca Schulte was 2-for-3 with three RBI.