COLBY, Kan. – For the second straight week, the Butler baseball team split a four-game conference series, winning the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday and Sunday.
Butler beat Colby 4-0 on Saturday before losing a 10-7 slugfest in the second game. Then on Sunday, Butler used another stellar pitching performance to win 4-1 before falling 4-3 in the fourth and final game.
The Grizzlies, who are 5-4 over their past nine games, are 9-14 overall on the season and 5-7 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Butler will play at Emporia State on Tuesday, a game that was rescheduled from February.
Dakota McKaskle earned the win, allowing just three hits over seven innings as Butler posted its first shutout of the season. He struck out four Colby batters without allowing a walk.
Butler fell behind 6-0 as starting pitcher Chase Hains allowed nine hits and four walks in 3.2 innings. The Grizzlies settled in behind 2.1 scoreless innings of relief by pitcher John Reick and would then score seven straight runs to take a lead in the sixth inning thanks to a series of Colby miscues and errors. The big hits were a two-run single by Brayon Colley and an RBI single by Travis Hendry.
The Grizzlies, though, could not hold on to the lead as Colby scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to regain the lead.
Taylor Berthusen earned his third win in as many conference games by propelling Butler to a 4-1 win in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. Berthusen scattered seven hits in seven innings of work, striking out five and walking just one.
Even with Berthusen's pitching, the Grizzlies trailed 1-0 going into the top of the fifth inning. The Grizzlies finally scratched for a run when Tory Bell hit a two-out triple and scored on a single up the middle by Aaron Malone.
Butler then scored three more runs in the top of the sixth when Gabe Cook and Travis Hendry each hit run-scoring singles and Ross Cunningham scored on a wild pitch.
In another low-scoring game, Butler fell just short in a 4-3 loss in the series finale. Starting pitcher Curt Lanham allowed just one run through the first five innings, but surrendered two runs in the bottom of the sixth before being relieved by John Reick, who allowed another Colby run.
Trailing by three runs, Butler rallied to score twice in the top of the eighth as Levi Parker and Brandon Young both had RBI groundouts. Butler would get a runner to third base in the top of the ninth but could not get the tying run home, ending the series.