The Butler baseball team managed to split a four-game conference series with Hutchinson this past weekend. The Grizzlies won both Saturday and Sunday's nightcap contests.
Hutchinson took the opener 9-6, while Butler won the second game by the same score. On Sunday, the Grizzlies were run-ruled 11-0 in the first game, but then broke out the bats in a 15-11 victory in the second game.
Butler moved to 21-17 overall and is 16-12 in Jayhawk West conference action. With just four conference games remaining, Butler is two games behind Seward County and Garden City for first place. The Grizzlies will host Tabor JV on Tuesday at 4 p.m., then face Coffeyville in a 7 p.m. Wednesday contest.
Game 1 – Hutchinson 9, Butler 6
Defensive woes hurt the Grizzlies, as Butler committed eight errors in the opening game. Butler had its only lead of the game – 2-0 – on a two-run double by Brandon Taylor in the first inning, but Hutch would score six runs over the first three innings to take a 6-2 lead.
In the fourth, Levi Parker pulled the Grizzlies within two runs with a two-run single to left-center to score Gabe Cook and Trever Ezell. However, the Dragons answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth.
Levi Parker went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in the loss. Jordan Knox also had a multiple-hit game with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with a run scored.
Starter Brad Day (1-3) took the loss, lasting just two innings as he allowed five runs on six hits.
Game 2 – Butler 9, Hutchinson 6
Butler rallied from a 5-1 first-inning deficit to win Saturday's nightcap. The Grizzlies pounded out 14 hits, with five hitters having multi-hit games.
Trailing 5-1 in the top of the third, Butler put up three runs to close within a run. With the bases loaded, Brandon Taylor hit a single to score Levi Parker. Tory Bell followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Dalton Wheat. Ty Moore scored the Grizzlies' third run on a fielder's choice.
Hutch added a run in the fourth to make the score 6-4, but Butler again would score three runs in the fifth to take the lead for good. With one out, Micheal Cerullo hit a solo home run to right-center. Four batters later, Ty Moore hit a two-run double to left to score Levi Parker and Gabe Cook to give Butler a 7-6 lead.
The Grizzlies added insurance runs in the eighth and ninth. Hutch managed to load the bases with two outs against reliever Trever Ezell, but Ezell was able to get Brooks DeBord to ground out for the final and earn the save.
Starter Brandon Taylor struggled on the mound, giving up five runs on five hits in just two innings. However, Kyle Vogt earned the win as he provided strong relief from the bullpen. Vogt went six innings and allowed just one run on four hits while fanning six.
Game 3 – Hutchinson 11, Butler 0 (5 innings)
The Grizzlies managed just four hits off Hutch starter Christian Cox, while the Dragons hammered Butler for 11 runs on 11 hits. Hutch scored three runs in the second, then added eight runs in the fourth.
Jordan Knox was the lone bright spot, going 2-for-2 at the plate. Travis Hendry was tagged with the loss, giving up all 11 hits and 11 runs in just 3.2 innings.
Game 4 – Butler 15, Hutchinson 11
Butler used a steady flow of offense in Sunday's nightcap as the Grizzlies scored at least two runs in six of the first seven innings while building a 15-3 lead. Every starter in the Grizzly lineup scored at least once as the team had 17 hits.
Brandon Taylor drove in the game's first run on a groundout that scored Levi Parker. Dalton Wheat followed with a run on a throwing error to give Butler a 2-0 lead. In the second inning, Wheat hit a two-run homer to center to put the Grizzlies up 4-1.
Butler added three runs each in the third and fourth innings. Gabe Cook's two-run single to score Tory Bell and Brandon Taylor gave the Grizzlies a 6-1 lead, then Levi Parker followed with an RBI single that scored Trevor Ezell. In the fourth, Taylor hit an RBI double to bring home Ty Moore. Two batters later, Micheal Cerullo added a two-run home run as Butler took a 10-1 commanding lead.
Bell and Cook had RBI hits in the sixth, and Bell added two more RBI in the seventh with a single through the left side of the infield to score Jordan Knox and Brandon Young.
Hutchinson would score eight runs over the final three innings to close the gap to four, but the Dragons' rally fell short.
Dalton Wheat, Tory Bell and Gabe Cook all had three hits apiece for Butler. Bell and Cook also drove in three runs each.
Greg Houser (3-3) received the win as he went six innings, allowing four runs on 14 hits and striking out two.