The Butler baseball team continued its hot streak this weekend by sweeping a four-game conference series at McDonald Stadium from Cloud County, winning four games by a combined score of 46-11.
Butler scored in double digits in all but one game and posted two shutouts on its way to the sweep, making it the first conference series this season the Grizzlies have won. Previously, Butler split conference series with Seward County and Colby and lost three of four at Pratt.
The Grizzlies are now 13-14 overall and 9-7 in Jayhawk West Conference play, putting them in a four-way tie atop the conference for most wins in league play along with Garden City, Seward and Pratt.
Butler plays two non-conference games this week – at Labette on Tuesday and at Allen County on Wednesday and will play a non-conference series at Longview (Mo.) this weekend.
Offensively, Butler got off to a quick start as its first three batters reached base in the first inning and scored on a grand slam home run by Ross Cunningham. Cunningham would also drive in a run in the sixth inning with a triple as he finished the game going 3-4 at the plate with two runs scored and five RBI.
Cooper Biggers also drove in two run with single in the fifth inning.
Cloud took an early lead on a solo home run by Aaryc Woodyard in the second inning, but the Grizzlies came back to put up four runs in the bottom of the third and would not look back in a 12-7 win.
Tory Bell had a big game for the Grizzlies at the plate, going 3-4 with a run scored and five RBI. Brayon Colley was also 3-4 at the plate while Levi Parker, Aaron Malone, Gabe Cook and Brandon Young had two hits apiece. Baylor Parker added insurance runs for the Grizzlies with a 2-run homer to right in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Travis Hendry made his first start of the season, going five innings and allowing two runs while striking out three Cloud batters to pick up the victory, improving his record to 2-1. Nate Briar threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the save, his third of the season.
Starting pitcher Taylor Berthusen threw a seven-inning, complete-game shutout as Butler eased past Cloud by an 8-0 score in the first game of a doubleheader on Monday. Berthusen won his third straight start by striking out six without allowing a walk, working around five Cloud base hits.
The big blow by the Butler offense was delivered early, when Mark Hutmacher hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning. He had two hits in the game, as did Gus Strunk and Travis Hendry. Tory Bell continued his hot hitting, going 3-3 at the plate with two RBI.
Gabe Cook was 3-3 at the plate, while Gus Strunk, Tory Bell and Travis Hendry each had two hits apiece. Brayon Colley was officially 0-3, but reached drove in a run, scored two runs and stole four bases in the game.
Curt Lanham started the game for Butler and threw five innings, allowing four runs on five hits, striking out four while walking three. Robert Calvano closed the game by throwing two scoreless innings in relief.
For the weekend, Tory Bell went 8-12 with nine RBI, Gabe Cook was 7-12, Gus Strunk was 5-12, and Mark Hutmacher was 4-5 at the plate.