PARSONS, Kan. – Butler softball had its 14-game winning streak snapped with a 5-4 Game 1 loss at Labette on Tuesday afternoon, but the 11th-ranked Grizzlies salvaged to split the non-conference doubleheader by winning the second game 8-6.
Butler (26-6 overall, 17-1 conference) fell behind 5-0 after four innings in the opening game before having a late seventh-inning rally come up short. In Game 2, the Grizzlies held a 7-0 lead after 3½ innings, then held off Labette for the victory.
The Grizzlies will return to conference play Wednesday with a home doubleheader against Independence. First pitch from East Park is at 11:00 a.m.
Game 1 – Labette 5, Butler 4
Labette tagged Butler starter Megan Johnson for three runs on three hits in the opening frame. An RBI double by Audrey Miller scored Peyton Nigh, then a triple by cleanup hitter Julia Hawkins scored Miller. Kaelyn Davis followed with a sacrifice bunt to score Nigh from third base.
The Cardinals added two more runs in the fourth after three errors put two runners in scoring position to begin the inning. After Johnson recorded two outs, Nigh hit a single down the right-field line to drive in both runs.
Butler managed just three hits in the first four innings, but broke the shutout in the fifth when Meghan Gutierrez scored from second base on a two-base error.
With one out in the sixth, Butler loaded the bases on a Makensey Pankers single, a Jordan Carlson double and a walk to Sara Mitchell. Jaime Barta then reached first on an infield error, which allowed Pankers and Carlson to score.
Trailing 5-3 in the seventh, Butler put its first two runners on base following a Taliya Talley single and a walk to Asia Henry. After two flyouts, Sara Mitchell hit a grounder off the glove of Labette third baseman Julia Hawkins, which scored Talley. Pinch hitter Delainey Fenoglio ended the game by hitting into a force out at third base.
Talley was the only Grizzly with two hits in the contest, while Barta led Butler with two RBIs.
Johnson (9-2) suffered just her second loss of the season, allowing five runs – three earned – on seven hits and striking out two in just four innings of work.
Game 2 – Butler 8, Labette 6
In the fourth inning, the Grizzlies sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs on five hits. Butler's first seven batters reached base, beginning with a single by Makensey Pankers and Olivia DePew reaching first on an error. Jordan Carlson followed an RBI single up the middle to score Pankers and put runners at the corners.
A delayed double steal followed, with Barta sliding home safely past the tag to give Butler a 3-0 lead. The Grizzlies then received RBI singles from Sara Mitchell and Megan Gutierrez. After consecutive four-pitch walks to Taylor Lambert and Espy to score another run, Labette changed pitchers.
Butler's final run of the inning came when Taliya Talley hit a one-out single up the middle to score Lambert.
Labette's Audrey Miller led off the fourth with a solo home run to right field to avoid a shutout, then the Cardinals added two unearned runs on two infield errors to pull within four runs.
Butler added an insurance run in the fifth when a throwing error with two outs allowed Mitchell score from second base.
In the bottom of the fifth, Labette managed to cut the lead to 8-6 with three runs on two three hits off Grizzly reliever Kaylee Burnett. The Cardinals loaded the bases to open the inning behind a walk and two hits, then a hit batter with one out brought in one run. Jessica Allen followed with a two-run double to right field.
Burnett settled down to retire the final eight batters of the contest. Grizzly starter Olivia DePew (6-2) earned the win, allowing three runs on four hits in four innings.
Espy, Pankers and Mitchell each had two hits, while Mitchell scored two runs to lead Butler.