No. 2 Butler pounds nine homers in sweep of MCC-Maple Woods

No. 2 Butler pounds nine homers in sweep of MCC-Maple Woods

Butler softball opened the home portion of its schedule with an offensive explosion in Tuesday's doubleheader against MCC-Maple Woods (Mo.).

The second-ranked Grizzlies (24-0 overall, 2-0 conference) defeated the Monarchs 9-1 in five innings to win the first game, then hammered out six home runs in a 19-0 rout for the sweep.

Butler hit a total of nine home runs in the doubleheader, with sophomore shortstop Becca Schulte hitting four of them - including three in the second game. With the Game 2 victory, the Grizzlies set season highs in runs scored (19), home runs (6), runs batted in (18) and extra-base hits (9).

Winners of 62 consecutive games, Butler will look to extend its streak in the home conference opener tomorrow against Colby. First pitch from East Park is at 2:00 p.m.

Game 1 - Butler 9, MCC-Maple Woods 1 (5 innings)

Butler scored five runs in the second inning behind a pair of home runs. Brynn Minor hit a two-run homer to left, then Alexis Reed added a three-run shot to right field later in the inning.

In the third, Becca Schulte hit the first of four home runs on the day with a solo blast to center field to put Butler up 6-0.

Reed hit a two-run single up the middle to drive in Brynn Minor and Allison Jurgensen, then Ki'Audra Hayter capped the Grizzlies' scoring with an RBI groundout to score Reed from third base.

Maple Woods would get a solo home run from Allison Collier in the fifth off reliever Celina Sullivan.

Grizzly starter Regan Mergele extended her shutout streak to 19 straight innings as she moved to 10-0 on the season. Mergele threw four innings and allowed just one hit while striking out seven.

Reed was the top Grizzly offensively by going 2-for-2 with five RBI, while Minor was 2-for-3 with three runs driven in. Schulte was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI.

Game 2 - Butler 19, MCC-Maple Woods 0 (5 innings)

After a scoreless first inning, Butler scored seven runs in the second inning, beginning when Allison Jurgensen clubbed a three-run home run to right field.

Ki'Audra Hayter hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Alexis Reed, then Kenzie Young doubled to right to drive in Nykiah Hines to put Butler in front 5-0. Schulte then hit a two-run home run to left field for her first homer of the contest.

The Grizzlies added three more home runs in a six-run third inning. Darrianne Hale opened the frame with a towering solo shot to left, then Jurgensen added her second homer of the game with a solo to center.

Chloe Holman would score from second on a wild pitch, then Tamarah Mascher followed with an RBI infield single to score Beanie Luttig.

Schulte ended the scoring with a two-run homer to center field to give the Grizzlies an 13-0 lead.

Butler opened the fourth inning with RBI singles from Nykiah Hines and Celina Sullivan, who both later scored on a two-run triple to left by Kenzie Young.

Young's triple then brought up Schulte, who blasted a towering two-run drive to left field for her third home run and eighth on the season.

Schulte finished the game with a 3-for-4 performance with six RBI, while Jurgensen was 2-for-3 with four runs driven in. Young scored three runs and drove in three by going 2-for-3.

Hale improved to 4-0 on the season with three shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two. Maddie Siemer and Brynn Minor both tossed an inning of relief with one strikeout each. 

NOTES: The six home runs in Game 2's win was the most in a game since Butler hit seven against Jefferson (Mo.) in a 9-0 win on April 3 last year... Butler moved into third in the nation in runs scored (232) and runs batted in (211). The Grizzlies also rank fifth in the NJCAA in home runs (35)... Mergele lowered her earned-run average to 0.26 on the season, which ranks second among NJCAA pitchers... Butler's pitching staff also dropped its team ERA to 0.86 and ranks second to Chipola (Fla.), which has a 0.54 ERA through 31 games.