The Butler baseball team held serve in the conference standings, splitting a four-game series with Garden City over the weekend at McDonald Stadium. As a result, Butler and Garden remain tied in the conference standings in fourth place, two games out of first place.
Garden City swept the Saturday doubleheader, winning 2-0 and 18-14 in a slugfest. Butler then rebounded to win both games on Sunday, 4-3 and 6-5 with a walkoff win to end the series.
Butler is 19-14 overall, 14-10 in the Jayhawk West standings. Garden City is 20-23 overall and 14-10 in the conference standings. Seward County is in first at 16-8, while Dodge City and Colby are tied for second at 17-11 each.
GAME 1 – Garden City 2, Butler 0
For the second week in a row, Butler starting pitcher Brad Day was a tough-luck loser in a series opener. After falling 1-0 a week ago at Dodge City, Day fell 2-0 to Garden City.
Day allowed one run in the top of the first inning and an insurance run for Garden City in the top of the sixth. Butler's offense could do nothing against Garden City starter Bradley Spires. The Grizzlies had just three hits – one apiece from Levi Parker, Ty Moore and Brandon Taylor – and never mounted a serious scoring threat, as they never had a runner get past second.
GAME 2 – Garden City 18, Butler 14
A dramatic comeback gave the Grizzlies a late lead in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, but the Grizzlies could not keep the Broncbusters off the scoreboard in the final two innings as Garden City won the highest scoring game of the season.
Butler starter Brandon Taylor was chased from the game in the first inning as Garden City scored seven runs. A solo home run in the second inning off reliever Connor Dempsey gave the Broncbusters a seemingly insurmountable 8-0 lead.
Butler started chipping away at the lead, getting an RBI groundout from Gabe Cook in the second, an RBI double from Dalton Wheat and run-scoring single from Evan Koehler in the third and an RBI double by Tory Bell in the fourth inning to make it 8-4.
Garden City would once again go up by eight with four runs in the top of the fifth, making the score 12-4. Once again, Butler would start to cut into the deficit, getting one run in the bottom of the fifth and two in the bottom of the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh, Butler erupted for seven runs. The Grizzlies tied the game when Brandon Taylor singled to drive in Dalton Wheat. Then Butler took a 13-12 lead on a bases-loaded walk to Jordan Knox. Butler would get one more run on an RBI groundout by Tory Bell and took a 14-12 lead into the eighth inning.
The Grizzlies, though, couldn't hold Garden City's bats. The Broncbusters hit two home runs in the eighth, scoring four runs. Garden scored twice more in the top of the ninth to win, 18-14.
Kyle Vogt took the loss in relief, his first of the season. Offensively, Tory Bell led the Grizzlies, going 4-6 at the plate with two RBI, while Jordan Knox was 4-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Dalton Wheat was 3-6 with three RBI for Butler.
GAME 3 – Butler 4, Garden City 3
A two-run home run by Gabe Cook and 4.1 innings of relief from Travis Hendry helped Butler win in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.
Jackson Rolfs started the game and threw two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the third, when Garden City scored three runs. Rofls was replaced on the mound by Hendry, who was making his first appearance in nearly a month.
Butler got one run back in the bottom of the third when Trevor Ezell scored an unearned run after an error by the Garden City first baseman.
Then in the fifth, Ezell doubled and scored on the home run over the left field fence by Gabe Cook. Butler then loaded the bases for Evan Koehler. He lifted a fly ball to deep center, allowing Levi Parker to run home with the go-ahead run.
Hendry cruised through 4.1 scoreless innings in relief, earning the win to improve to 4-1 on the season. He allowed just one hit while striking out four batters.
Levi Parker and Trevor Ezell were both 2-3 in the game.
GAME 4 – Butler 6, Garden City 5
Butler ended the series in dramatic fashion, with Jordan Knox hitting a sacrifice fly to left field with the bases loaded. Levi Parker beat the throw to the plate to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Butler starter Greg Houser fell behind 2-0 in the top of the second, but his teammates replied with four runs in the bottom of the inning. The Grizzlies loaded the bases and Michael Cerullo and Tory Bell both scored on two different wild pitches by Garden City starter Brooks Trujillo. With the bases still loaded, Levi Parker hit a ball up the middle. He beat the throw from the second baseman, which then skipped away from the first baseman. One run scored on the infield single and the other run scored on the error, giving Butler a 4-2 lead.
Garden City eventually came back to take the lead on a solo home run by Mason Fischer in the fifth inning and a two-run home run by Rocky Desantis in the sixth inning.
Butler tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Levi Parker scored on an RBI groundout by Ty Moore. That set the stage for the game-winner in the ninth.
Greg Houser went five innings for Butler, allowing five runs. Brennan Walker earned the win by pitching four scoreless innings in relief. He is now 2-0 on the season.