CONCORDIA, Kan. – The Butler baseball team evened its record on the season and in conference play with a four-game sweep at Cloud County on Saturday and Monday.
The Grizzlies won 4-3 and 5-0 on Saturday and then on Monday won 5-3 in the first game and finished the series with a 16-8 win in the final game. Butler saw its team batting average rise by 16 points on Monday alone, up to .282 after 26 hits in the doubleheader.
With the wins, Butler is now 9-9 on the season and 6-6 in Jayhawk West Conference play. The Grizzlies will be out of conference for their next six games, starting with a single game on Wednesday at Coffeyville. Butler will then play a four-game home series against Longview (Mo.) on Saturday and Sunday at McDonald Stadium.
GAME 1 – Butler 4, Cloud County 3
Butler freshman pitcher Brad Day was making his third start of the season, and this performance was his best to date. He threw six scoreless innings as the Grizzlies led 4-0 going to the final inning. Day was sent back to the mound for the seventh, but pulled after allowing the first two batters to reach base.
Trever Ezell came on to finish the game off. The two inherited runners scored, as did a third run on an inside-the-park home run, but Ezell was able to end the game to earn his fourth save of the season. Day gets the win and is now 1-0 on the season.
Offensively, Brandon Taylor drove in Levi Parker in the first inning for Butler's first run. Taylor then scored in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly to right field by Gabe Cook. Levi Parker scored his second run of the game when Dalton Wheat drove him in with a double in the fifth inning.
Evan Koehler and Brandon Taylor each had two hits apiece in the gme for the Grizzlies.
GAME 2 – Butler 5, Cloud County 0
Brandon Taylor made his first collegiate start on the mound and threw six scoreless innings, strikeout out four while allowing four hits to get the win, making him 1-0. Connor Dempsey threw the final three innings to preserve the shutout for the Grizzlies and earn his first save.
It is the third shutout of the season for Butler, the first in a nine-inning game this season.
Butler got two runs in the first inning as Gabe Cook scored on an RBI single to center by Evan Koehler and Brandon Taylor scored on an RBI single by Jordan Knox. The Grizzlies added another run in the second inning when Levi Parker scored on an RBI groundout by Dalton Whet.
In the fourth, Jordan Knox scored when Parker hit into a fielder's choice. The final run was scored by Tory Bell on a Shane Bridges single in the fifth inning. Levi Parker and Evan Koehler had two hits apiece for the Grizzlies in the win.
GAME 3 – Butler 5, Cloud County 3
Butler got yet another quality start, this one from Travis Hendry. He went five innings, scattering six hits and striking out six hitters while allowing just one run. He earned the win, improving to 3-1 on the season.
Kyle Vogt pitched one inning, allowing one run. Butler went to the bullpen again for closer Trever Ezell. He retired the first two batters before allowing a run, but was eventually able to close out the game for his fifth save of the season.
Neither team scored for the first three innings. The Grizzlies were the first to scratch the scoreboard when Evan Koehler reached on a fielding error by the Cloud shortstop, allowing Brandon Taylor to score. Later in the inning, Koehler scored on an RBI triple by Jordan Knox.
In the sixth inning, Evan Koehler doubled to right center to drive in Tory Bell and later in the inning, Levi Parker drew a walk with the bases loaded, forcing Jordan Knox home. Butler would scored once more, when Logan Beard beat out a potential double play ball, allowing Gabe Cook to score from third.
Evan Koehler had two hits for the third straight game, while Levi Parker also had a pair of hits.
GAME 4 – Butler 16, Cloud County 8
The Grizzlies had their best offensive performance of the season, scoring 16 runs on 18 hits. Both are season highs. It is the first time Butler has been in double figures in runs this season. The previous high came in a 13-9 loss at Northern Oklahoma-Enid in February.
Butler raced to a 6-0 lead after an inning and a half, but allowed Cloud to tie the game after committing four errors in the bottom of the third. Butler would answer with three runs in the top of the fourth to take a 9-6 lead and the Grizzlies would not trail again on its way to the lopsided victory.
Butler had a number of offensive standouts in the game. Gabe Cook was 4-5 at the plate, reaching safely five times including a walk. He scored twice and drove in three runs. Levi Parker was 3-5 at the plate, scoring three times and driving in a pair of runs. Evan Koehler had two more hits, giving him two in each of the four games of the series. Dalton Wheat, Jordan Knox and Shane Bridges also had two hits each. Shane Bridges, Gus Strunk, Levi Parker and Brandon Taylor all drove in two runs apiece.
Jackson Rolfs started the game, but allowed eight runs and was chase from the mound in the bottom of the fifth. Greg Houser came on in relief, throwing two scoreless innings to earn the win. Kyle Vogts also threw two scoreless innings and Danny Wise threw one scoreless inning to end the game.