LONGVIEW, Texas — Butler softball fell short in a solid pitching duel late Saturday in a 2-0 loss to Bossier Parish (LA) at the Region XIV Crossover Tournament.
In her first start of the season, sophomore Celina Sullivan struck out a career-high 12 batters while throwing her first complete game as a Grizzly. However, the Butler offense was held hitless until the final inning, managing just one hit and four total baserunners against Bossier Parish's Elisa Favela, who also fanned 12 batters.
Butler (9-3 overall) was scheduled to play two games Saturday, but a 1:00 p.m. matchup against No. 11 Tyler (TX) was cancelled due to an unplayable field. With rain in Sunday's forecast, the Grizzlies' two games slated against Angelina (TX) and Northeast Texas were also cancelled.
Bossier Parish provided the only runs of the contest in the second inning, getting a two-run home run from Morgan Bullock. With one out in the inning, Raina McKean reached first on an infield single despite a diving stop and throw by Butler shortstop Abi Cole. Bullock then hit the first pitch from Sullivan just over the fence in left-center to give the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead. The two runs were the first allowed by Sullivan this season, as she came into the contest with eight shutout innings.
Favela retired the first 10 Grizzly batters before consecutively walking Kenzie Young and Payton Reynolds with one out in the fourth inning. Butler failed to capitalize, ending the inning with a flyout and a groundout back to the pitcher. The two outs started another streak for Favela, who struck out five of the next six batters while sitting down 10 straight.
Butler attempted a late two-out rally in the seventh when Cole reached first base on an infield error by McKean at third base. Pinch hitter Shalee Brantley then broke up Favela's bid for a no-hitter with a single up the middle, putting the potential tying run at first. However, pinch hitter Alexis Reed struck out for the final out to end the Grizzlies' comeback bid.
Sullivan (0-1) recorded at least two strikeouts in five innings while allowing six hits in the loss.
Butler returns home for a busy week, as the Grizzlies will play four doubleheaders in five days. The Grizzlies will open Jayhawk Conference play against Dodge City on Tuesday, with the doubleheader getting underway at 2:00 p.m. from East Park. Butler will host Northwest Kansas Tech on Wednesday, then step out of conference play to face Indian Hills (IA) on Friday and North Iowa Area on Saturday.
NOTES: Sullivan's previous best in strikeouts came during last year's national championship run, as she struck out nine hitters in five innings in a 9-7 win over Navarro (TX) on Feb. 3, 2017... In three appearances this weekend, Sullivan recorded 21 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched... Butler was held scoreless for the first time since Feb. 12, 2016, when the Grizzlies lost 2-0 to Weatherford (TX). Prior to Saturday, Butler had went 118 games without being shut out and suffered just its second shutout over the past six seasons.