FORT WORTH, Texas – Butler softball won three games this weekend at the Cowtown Classic, as the fourth-ranked Grizzlies improved to 5-1 on the regular season.
Butler opened the two-day Classic with a 10-5 come-from-behind win over Blinn, Texas, on Friday morning, then followed by defeating Alvin, Texas, 7-1. The Grizzlies suffered their first defeat later that evening to North Central Texas, falling 6-5.
After having a 9:00 a.m. contest vs. Iowa Central canceled due to cold weather, Butler ended the Classic with a 2-1 win over Central Nebraska.
Butler returns to action on Thursday with a road doubleheader at Northern Oklahoma-Enid, with first pitch at 12:00 p.m. The Grizzlies will also face Connors State, Okla., on Saturday in a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader in Edmond, Okla.
Butler 10, Blinn (TX) 5
Blinn grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a pair of throwing errors. Butler would not get on the scoreboard until a Delainey Fenoglio RBI triple to center plated Anna Williams in the fourth inning.
Blinn answered in the bottom of the frame with three RBI singles to take a 5-4 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Butler managed to put runners at the corners as Makensey Pankers led off the inning with a double to left and advanced to third on a throwing error, then Gutierrez followed with a walk. Following a Blinn pitching change, Pankers scored from third on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5-all.
Blinn recorded two outs, then issued consecutive walks to Barta and Shayna Espy to load the bases for Robinson, who cleared the bases with a three-run double to left for an 8-5 lead. Butler added two more runs on a two-run Taliya Talley double.
Robinson was the Grizzlies' top hitter, going 4-for-4 with four RBI, while Talley went 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Kaylee Burnett (2-0) picked up her second win of the season by throwing the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on two hits and striking out two. Grizzly starter Megan Johnson threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on three hits and fanned two batters.
Butler 7, Alvin (TX) 1
Butler scored three runs in both the first and fourth inning to build a 6-0 lead after four innings.
In the first inning, a fielding error led to Jaime Barta scoring from third base for Butler's first run, then Taliya Talley added a two-run single to left to score Anna Icenhower and Brianna Robinson.
Butler had three straight hits in the fourth inning to take a 6-0 lead. Barta hit an RBI single to left-center to bring in Jordan Carlson, then Shayna Espy followed with a double to left-center to score Barta. Espy scored from second on a Robinson single to left.
Robinson, who led the Grizzlies by going 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs driven in, added an RBI double to score Espy again in the top of the sixth to cap the scoring.
Carlson was the only other Butler hitter to have multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-2 with a run scored and two stolen bases. Both Barta and Espy scored two runs each.
Butler freshman Olivia DePew (1-0) picked up her first collegiate win by throwing four shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three batters.
North Central Texas 6, Butler 5
Butler fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning as NCTC scored both runs on a throwing error by catcher Makensey Pankers. North Central loaded the bases with no outs, but had a runner caught between second and third after a flyout. Pankers threw down to second base to get the runner, but the throw was wide and allowed the two runners in scoring position to come home.
Butler grabbed a run back in the bottom of the inning after loading the bases with one out. Taliya Talley hit a single off the glove of North Central second baseman Katie Smith, which allowed Shayna Espy to score from third.
In the top of the fourth, North Central's Samantha Coker put the Lions up 3-1 with an RBI double to left to score Katie Smith.
After Espy reaching first on a fielding error to open the bottom of the fifth, Anna Icenhower tied the game up at 3-3 with a two-run home run to right center.
Butler then went in front 5-3 in the sixth after Jordan Carlson reached first, then advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt and a foul out to right field. Jaime Barta singled to left to score Jordan Carlson. Espy followed with a triple to left field to drive in Barta.
North Central rallied with three runs in the top of the seventh, beginning with putting runners at the corners with one out on a pair of singles. Taylor White pulled the Lions within a run with a single up the middle to drive in Chelsea Luddeke. With two outs and the bases loaded, Faith Hollingsworth singled through the left side to score both Peyton Davidson and Brooklyn Mason.
Butler went down in order in the bottom of the inning to end the game.
Barta was Butler's top hitter by going 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Espy scored two runs and Icenhower drove in two.
Olivia DePew (1-1) took the loss, giving up all three earned runs on four hits in the final inning.
Butler 2, Central Nebraska 1
All the offense in Saturday's contest happened in the opening inning, beginning with Central loading the bases with one out on two singles and a dropped fly ball. Shelby Gerloff scored from third base when Tori Mullen reached first base on a fielder's choice.
In the bottom of the inning, Jaime Barta led off the inning with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on Shayna Espy's bunt single. Barta then scored from third on an errant throw by Central catcher Alyssa Dockerty in an attempt to throw out Espy on a steal attempt of second base.
With Espy at third on the two-base error, a wild pitch by Raiders pitcher Ashten Gibson scored Espy to give the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead.
Butler received a solid pitching performance by Kaylee Burnett (3-0), who entered the game in the third inning and threw five scoreless innings, gave up just two hits and recorded eight strikeouts. Burnett, who struck out the 7-8-9 hitters twice, had four straight strikeouts in the game after fanning the last two hitters in the fourth and opened the fifth with two strikeouts.
Butler managed just four hits in the contest, but Espy had two of the hits.