GREAT BEND, Kan. – The Butler baseball team swept a conference doubleheader on the road Sunday at Barton to win the series by taking three out of four games.
The Grizzlies used a late-game rally to win 6-5 in the first game and then rode a dominant pitching performance to win the second game 4-1.
Butler's Evan Koehler had a hit in both games, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Trever Ezell closed out both games on the mound to earn a pair of saves, giving him 10 saves on the season, which leads all of NJCAA Division I baseball.
With the wins, Butler improves to 18-9 on the season and is now 9-3 in Jayhawk West Conference play, putting the Grizzlies one game behind first-place Hutchinson in the conference standings.
Butler will play a non-conference game on Wednesday at nationally-ranked Coffeyville before coming home for a four-game conference series against Dodge City with doubleheaders at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
GAME 1 – Butler 6, Barton 5
Barton, however, would find a way to score two runs in the second and add two more in the fourth and another in the sixth to take a 5-1 lead against starter Brennan Walker.
Butler was down to its final three outs when it came to bat in the top of the seventh, but the Grizzlies responded in a big way. Butler loaded the bases with the first three batters of the inning. Alex Weiss drove in one run with a single, then Jake Huscroft drew a walk and Cameron Knight was hit by a pitch, each forcing in another run to make it a 5-4 game.
Trever Ezell came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh, striking out the first two batters and getting a ground ball to third to end the game. The save is his ninth of the season. Walker earned the win, his fifth of the season without a loss.
GAME 2 – Butler 4, Barton 1
Starting pitcher Grant Hamilton went eight strong innings, allowing six hits, but striking out seven Barton batters as he allowed just one run.
Butler scored one run in the top of the second on an RBI single by Jake Huscroft. After Barton scored its only run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth, Butler scored the go-ahead run in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Evan Koehler.
Zach Baker provided a pair of insurance runs later in the game for Butler, with a double in the seventh and a double in the ninth. Each time, Jake Huscroft scored on the play.
Ezell went out and again struck out two batters in the final inning to close the game and earn the save.