Butler breaks conference win streak with run-rule sweep at Pratt

Butler breaks conference win streak with run-rule sweep at Pratt

PRATT, Kan. - Behind 13 total home runs in the doubleheader, Butler softball set a school record for most consecutive conference victories with a run-rule sweep of Pratt on Monday.

The top-ranked Grizzlies (28-0 overall, 6-0 conference) routed the host Beavers 15-1 in the opening game, then shut out Pratt 22-0 to complete the sweep.

Butler extended its conference winning streak to 29 straight games, which surpasses the school record of 28 (2012-2014). The Grizzlies' last conference loss came at Barton on March 3 last season. Since then, Butler has won 68 straight contests.

Against Pratt, Butler hit six home runs in the first game, then clubbed seven homers in the second game, which ties a school record for most home runs in a game (vs. Jefferson, Mo.; April 3, 2016). The Grizzlies also set season-high game marks for runs scored (22) and hits (22) in the contest.

Sophomore Brynn Minor hit three home runs in the second game, matching teammate Becca Schulte as the only two Grizzlies this season to achieve the feat. Minor hit four total in the doubleheader and finished with eight RBI.

Butler will host Garden City in a conference doubleheader on Wednesday, beginning at 2:00 p.m from East Park.

Butler 15, Pratt 1 (5 innings)

After two innings, Butler built an 8-1 lead over Pratt courtesy of the long ball. Becca Schulte opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning, then followed with a grand slam to start a six-run second inning. Brynn Minor and Darrianne Hale then hit solo home runs, giving the Grizzlies three consecutive home runs.

Pratt scored its only run in the bottom of the second, which snapped a 23 2/3 inning shutout streak by starter Regan Mergele.

Butler added another run in the third when Caylie Kifer scored from third base on a passed ball, which put the Grizzlies up 9-1.

The Grizzlies would not score again until the fifth inning, where they put up six runs and hit two homers with pinch hitters. The first came from Tamarah Mascher, who hit a two-run home run. Later in the inning, Ki'Audra Hayter scored on a fielder's choice, then Minor doubled to left field to score Schulte. Celina Sullivan then came off the bench to add a two-run home run.

Schulte led the Grizzlies with six RBI in a 2-for-4 performance with three runs scored, while Minor was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Kifer and Hayter also scored two runs each.

Mergele improved to 12-0 overall with three innings, allowing just two hits and one unearned run while striking out eight batters. Sullivan struck out all three batters she faced, while Minor had two strikeouts in one inning of work. The Butler pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts in the victory.

Butler 22, Pratt 0 (5 innings)

Brynn Minor and Darrianne Hale opened the scoring with home runs in the first inning. Minor hit her first of three homers with a two-run blast, then Hale followed with a solo shot.

In the second, Kenzie Young hit a bases-loaded double to center to score all three runs. Becca Schulte then singled to left to drive in Young. Minor followed with a two-run home run to put Butler up 9-0.

Minor led off the fourth inning with a solo home run. Two batters later, Celina Sullivan singled to center to score Tyesha Morgan. Later in the inning, Chloe Holman scored from second on a two-base error.

Butler then scored a season-high 10 runs on nine hits in the fifth inning, beginning with an RBI single by pinch hitter Caylie Kifer to score Schulte. Morgan followed with a double to left which scored Kifer, then Sullivan's RBI single to right drove in Morgan.

The Grizzlies would load the bases for Tamarah Mascher, who hit her second grand slam of the season to put Butler up 19-0. After a pitching change, Young hit a solo home run, then two batters later, Kifer hammered a two-run homer to finish the scoring.

Seven Grizzlies finished with two or more hits in the contest, with Minor and Schulte each having a three-hit game. Minor drove in five runs and scored three times, while Schulte scored a game-high four runs. Mascher matched Minor with five RBI. Young, Kifer, Morgan, Holman and Hines each scored two runs in the rout.

Maddie Siemer, Hale and Minor combined on a one-hitter and allowed just three baserunners. Siemer (2-0) received the win with three shutout innings, giving up the lone hit while striking out four. Hale and Minor each had one inning of relief.

NOTES: Minor currenty ranks second among NJCAA hitters with 14 home runs on the season and is third with 46 runs batted in... Despite having the shutout streak snapped, Mergele still lowered her earned-run average to 0.23, which ranks third overall in the nation and first among pitchers with 30 or more innings pitched. Mergele is averaging 10.56 strikeouts per seven innings, which is third-best in the nation.