BARTLESVILLE, Okla., — Butler softball opened the 2019 regular season with a pair of road victories over Oklahoma Wesleyan JV on Wednesday.
The fourth-ranked Grizzlies (2-0 overall) took the opening game 8-1 over the host Eagles, then posted a 12-1 run-rule win in the nightcap.
Butler will next play five games this weekend at the Cowtown Classic in Fort Worth, Texas. The Grizzlies have three games scheduled for Friday, beginning with an 11:00 a.m. contest against Blinn (TX). Butler will also play Alvin (TX) and North Central Texas, then finish up the Classic on Saturday with games against Iowa Central and Central Nebraska.
Game 1 - Butler 8, Oklahoma Wesleyan JV 1
The Grizzlies scored the first run of the season in the second inning when Sara Mitchell singled up the middle to score Makensey Pankers, who reached base with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout.
Butler then scored four runs - all with two outs - to build a 5-0 lead after three innings. With Brianna Robinson on first with two outs, the Grizzlies loaded the bases with consecutive singles by Taliya Talley and Pankers. Anna Williams drew a bases-loaded walk to score Robinson, then Mitchell followed with a two-run single to right field to plate Talley and Pankers. Meghan Gutierrez added another RBI by beating out an infield single to drive in Williams.
In the fifth, Shayna Espy's two-out single plated Jaime Barta for a 6-0 lead. Butler added two more runs in the sixth, beginning when Jordan Carlson led off the inning by stretching a single into a double. After stealing third, Carlson came home on an Asia Henry single to right. Henry then scored on a two-out single by Barta.
Mitchell went 2-for-2 with three RBI, while Barta had a 3-for-5 performance at the plate with an RBI and run scored. Carlson came off the bench to go 2-for-3 with two stolen bases.
Game 2 - Butler 12, Oklahoma Wesleyan JV 1 (5 innings)
The Grizzlies exploded for a 10-run inning in the top of the fifth inning to break open a 2-1 contest. Butler failed to score until the fourth inning, as the Grizzlies had bases loaded. Taliya Talley put Butler on the board when Wesleyan catcher Kassidy Smith could not secure a throw for a forceout. Later in the inning, Makensey Pankers scored from third base as Eagles third baseman Amy Enkey failed to step on the bag on another forceout attempt.
Leading 2-1 in the fifth, Butler sent 15 total batters to the plate during the 10-run inning. Pankers put the Grizzlies up 4-1 on a two-run double to left-center to score Anna Icenhower and Talley. Two batters later, Delainey Fenoglio singled to right to score Pankers.
Butler added two runs on wild pitches to score Fenoglio and Jordan Carlson, then Shayna Espy reached first on an infield single to drive in Jaime Barta. The Grizzlies made it a 9-1 margin as Talley reached first on an infield error, which allowed pinch runner Kris Lucas to score from second base. Pankers followed with another two-run double to deep center, then Fenoglio added her second RBI single of the inning.
Pankers was the top offensive hitter in Game 2, going 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored, while Talley was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Butler finished with 14 hits, as Espy (2-for-4, RBI) and Fenoglio (2-for-2, 2 RBI) also had double-hit performances.
Sophomore pitcher Kaylee Burnett (1-0) was solid in her first start of the year, allowing just one earned run on four hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. Burnett struck out seven batters and walked two.