GREAT BEND, Kan. – Butler softball ran its winning streak to 30 consecutive games with a road doubleheader sweep over Barton on Monday at Cougar Field.
Sophomore Brianna Robinson hit three home runs and drove in nine runs as the fifth-ranked Grizzlies (39-3 overall, 24-0 conference) stayed perfect in conference play. Celina Sullivan had a career-high four-hit game with a home run while striking out 12 batters in a 14-2 Game 1 win, then Robinson smacked two home runs as Butler run-ruled Barton 15-5 in six innings for the sweep.
Butler's 30-game win streak is now the second-longest in school history, passing a 28-game streak that was set during the 2013 season. The Grizzlies also extended its regular season conference winning streak to 71 games and just needs two victories to clinch its 14th Jayhawk West Conference title in program history.
The Grizzlies will host Pratt on Wednesday in a 2:00 p.m. doubleheader at East Park, then play Seward County in the home finale on Saturday.
Game 1 – Butler 14, Barton 2
Butler scored its first run in the opening frame hit as Kenzie Young walked with two outs. Brianna Robinson singled to center, but a fielding error followed by a wild throw to third base allowed Young to score on the play.
Butler extended the lead to 7-0 in the fifth with a two-run double by Abi Cole and a RBI single from Sullivan.
Sullivan had her consecutive shutout inning streak snapped at 37 2/3 innings in the bottom of the fifth as Barton's Kat Frakes hit a two-out RBI single to score Kristin Storer. The Cougars added another run in the inning on a run-scoring single by Hailey Pop.
Butler added seven runs in the seventh, beginning with a leadoff opposite field homer to right-center from Robinson. The Grizzlies ended up putting two runners in scoring position with one out when Reagan Wilson hit an hard infield single to shortstop, which scored Alexis Reed from third.
Pinch hitter Allison Jurgensen followed with a two-run single to drive in Sullivan and Wilson. Butler loaded the bases again as Robinson made her second player appearance of the inning. Robinson then cleared the bases with a three-run double to right-center.
Sullivan (14-1) finished with 12 strikeouts in six innings, giving up two runs on five hits. Kaylee Burnett finished the game with a shutout inning, allowing just one hit.
Offensively, Sullivan was 4-for-4 with three RBI, while Robinson went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs. Pacher and Young also had two hits in the contest.
Game 2 – Butler 15, Barton 5 (6 innings)
Kenzie Young drove in Butler's first run with an RBI single to center that scored Paige Pacher in the first inning, but Barton tied the game the following inning with a bloop RBI single from Kat Frakes off Grizzly starter Maddie Siemer.
Butler answered with a six-run third inning as Brianna Robinson hit a three-run home run to center field. Payton Reynolds added an RBI double that scored Abi Cole, then Caylie Kifer followed with a bloop single to shallow left to drive in Reynolds. The Grizzlies loaded the bases for Shalee Brantley, who was hit by a pitch to score Anngie Salinas.
Barton cut Butler's lead to 7-5 in the bottom of the inning behind three home runs. Maggie Schuetz and Nasadiya each hit solo homers, while Alexis Sharples added a two-run home run to left.
Butler grabbed two runs back in the fifth when Sullivan hit a sharp grounder through the legs of Barton second baseman Emma Horsch. Two runs scored on the play as Salinas and Kifer crossed home.
The Grizzlies then put the game out of reach with a six-run sixth inning, as Robinson and Reed hit back-to-back home runs. Robinson smacked a two-run homer to center, then Reed followed with her 17th homer of the season on a solo shot to center.
Later in the inning, Butler loaded the bases on two singles and a hit by pitch. Sullivan drove in two runs with a single to left-center, then a fielding error on the play allowed Kifer to come home.
The Grizzlies pounded out 15 hits, with each starter getting at least one hit. Robinson hit 2-for-3 with five RBI, while Salinas was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Butler had solid production from the top of the lineup as Pacher, Brantley and Young each had two hits.
Siemer (17-2) was credited with the win, despite giving up five runs on five hits in just 2 2/3 innings of work. Megan Johnson was solid in relief with 3 1/3 shutout innings, allowing only three hits.
NOTES: Robinson, who now has 14 home runs on the season, has eight homers with 28 runs batted in over the last 10 games… Sullivan has recorded double-digit strikeouts in five games this season… Reed moved into a fourth-place tie in career home runs, matching Robyn Sadowski (26, 2005-06). Reed also tied Sadowski for fifth in the single-season leaderboard with 17 homers… Young scored five runs in Monday's doubleheader and is now two runs away from tying Becca Schulte for career runs (152) at Butler. After having a 25-game hitting streak snapped at Colby on Wednesday, Young has gone 8-for-13 (.615) with 10 runs scored and eight RBI over the last four games.