BEAUMONT, Texas - Butler softball has recorded its best start in school history with 16 straight wins after opening the three-day Texas Crossover tourney with a pair of run-rule victories on Friday.
With both contests just going five innings, the second-ranked Grizzlies (16-0 overall) rolled to a 13-1 victory over Tyler (TX), then scored a season-high 19 runs in an 19-0 win over Paris (TX).
The 16 wins to start the season surpasses the 2013 Grizzly team, which finished 54-4 overall with an NJCAA Final Four appearance. Butler also extended its school-record winning streak to 54 straight games dating back to last season.
Butler pounded five home runs on the day and also set a season-high with most runs scored in an inning (9, vs. Paris). In the two games, the Grizzly offense hit .461 (24-for-52) and nine extra-base hits.
The Grizzlies will play two games on Saturday, beginning with a 1:00 p.m. contest against Kilgore (TX). Butler then takes on Trinity Valley (TX) at 5:00 p.m. The Grizzlies will finish the Crossover with two more games on Sunday against Navarro and Northeast Texas.
Butler 13, Tyler (TX) 1 - 5 innings
Tyler tied the game in the top of the second when Makenzie Goswick scored on a high throw to home plate during a rundown.
The Grizzlies answered with five-run second inning, beginning on Ki'Audra Hayter's two-run home run to center field. Brynn Minor later followed with a three-run blast to left field, which gives her five homers on the season.
Hayter and Minor added RBI singles in the third inning to put Butler up 8-1.
In the fourth, Tamarah Mascher scored on a bases-loaded walk. Hayter then hit her second home run of the game - a grand slam shot to right-center to cap the scoring for the Grizzlies.
Hayter was the top offensive Grizzly, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and seven RBI, while Brynn Minor was 2-for-3 with four RBI in the win. Butler's offense had 11 walks, which matches a season-best (vs. Northeast Texas, Jan. 28).
Regan Mergele (6-0) had her first complete-game victory, throwing five innings and allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out five.
Butler 19, Paris (TX) 0 - 5 innings
Butler then exploded for nine runs in the third, sending 15 batters to the plate. The Grizzlies began the scoring with a two-run home run to center by Darrian Hale.
With two runners in scoring position and no outs, Ki'Audra Hayter drove in Beanie Luttig by reaching first on a fielder's choice. A throwing error when Hayter stole second base allowed Nykiah Hines to score from third to give Butler a 9-0 lead.
Kenzie Young followed with an RBI single through the left side to score Hayter, then Brynn Minor woudl drive in Young on a sacrifice fly. Pinch hitter Chloe Holman then reached first base on a fielding error, which allowed Becca Schulte to score. Darrian Hale singled through the left side of the infield to score Holman. Allison Jurgensen then scored the final run of the inning, coming in from third base on a wild pitch.
In the fourth, Becca Schulte put Butler up 15-0 with a solo home run to left center.
The Grizzlies added four more runs in the fifth, beginning with Reagan Wilson's RBI single to right to score Beanie Luttig. Caylie Kifer and Tyesha Morgan had consecutive RBI doubles. Morgan would later score on a Celina Sullivan bases-loaded walk.
Hayter, Young and Hale each drove in three runs, while Hayter and Luttig each scored three runs. Jurgensen had a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with two runs scored for Butler, who finished with 15 total hits and nine walks.
Celina Sullivan (4-0) was credited with the win, throwing three shutout innings and allowing one hit while fanning four hitters. Darrian Hale tossed the final two innings, giving up two hits and striking out two.
NOTES: The Butler pitching staff has been solid in the last 10 games since a 3-2 win over Seminole State (OK) on Feb. 4. In that span, Grizzly pitchers have combined for a 0.44 ERA, allowing just four earned runs and averaged 7.5 strikeouts per game.