LIBERAL, Kan. - After a pair of one-run losses Saturday, Butler baseball came back to split the doubleheader against Seward County on Sunday at Brent Gould Field.
Butler won the opener with a 12-1 run-rule victory in five innings over the Saints, then had a ninth-inning comeback rally fall short in a 15-14 loss to drop the conference series.
The Grizzlies (15-22 overall, 7-16) are still seeking their first conference series win of the season and hope to do so on Tuesday, as Butler hosts Pratt at 6 p.m. to finish off a postponed series. Butler won the third game on Thursday by an 8-0 score to earn at least a split against the Beavers.
Game 1 - Butler 12, Seward County 1 (5 innings)
Butler broke a 1-1 tie after the first inning with a five-run second inning, then scored three runs each in the final two innings of the contest for the run-rule win.
Garrett Chalker led off the game with a solo home run to put the Grizzlies up 1-0, but Seward tied the game on an RBI groundout in the bottom-half of the first.
Jackson Soule led off the big second inning with double, stole third and then scored when Blake Blessie singled. After a Tanner Hearon double to move runners in scoring position, Mason Goade reached first on an infield error to score Blessie.
Chalker and Larson followed with RBI singles, then Caleb Cox hit a sacrifice fly to left to drive in Chalker as the Grizzlies took a 6-1 lead.
In the fourth, Butler loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Chalker and Larson and a hit by pitch to Cox. A bases-loaded walk to Tanner White scored Chalker, then Larson scored from third on a throwing error after Soule lined out to the pitcher. Connor Hurst drove in the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to score Cox.
Chalker's fourth hit of the contest came on a two-run triple in the fifth inning to drive in Hearon and Goade. Two batters later, Chalker scored on a Cox RBI groundout.
Zach Bilek (4-0) had a solid pitching performance in the win, going the full five innings for the complete game victory. Bilek allowed just one earned run on three hits while striking out five. Seward only managed one runner to reach second base after scoring its opening run in the first.
Chalker led Butler offensively with a 4-for-4 day at the plate, scoring four runs and driving in four. Larson was 3-for-4 with an RBI, stolen base and a run scored, while Tanner Hearon was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles.
Game 2 - Seward County 15, Butler 14
Butler took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third beginning with a Caleb Cox RBI single to score Mason Goade. Tanner White followed with a two-run triple to right, then Jackson Soule drove in White on a single to center.
In the bottom of the third, Seward scored six runs - all with two outs in the inning. Owen Martin and Brendan Madsen each had two-run singles to help the Saints to a 6-4 advantage.
The Grizzlies answered back with a five-run fourth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, Tanner White walked to score Garrett Chalker. Soule then singled to right to drive in Cox and Javis Larson. After a pitching change, Connor Hurst singled to left to plate White. Soule would score the final run of the inning on a controversial double play.
Seward took back the lead with eight runs in the fifth inning. Addison Kaasch hit a three-run double, then Law Greiner blasted a three-run home run to put the Saints up 12-9. Madsen capped the scoring with a two-run triple.
Butler grabbed two runs back in the sixth on a two-run home run by Hurst, but Seward's Kaasch pushed the Saints' lead to 15-11 with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning.
Butler put together a late rally in the ninth, getting a solo home run from Chalker and a two-run homer from Caleb Cox. The Grizzlies would eventualy load the bases with two outs, but Tanner Hearon struck out to end the contest.
Cox went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI for Butler, while Soule and Hurst had three hits and drove in three runs each. For Seward, Kaasch was 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored, while Madsen went 3-for-5 with four RBI.
Starter Corey Murphy gave up nine runs - five of them earned - on 10 hits in four innings of work. Reliever Caleb Nunez then allowed three runs on two hits in just 2/3 innings, while Sloan Baker threw the final 3 1/3 innings. Baker was tagged for three earned runs on two hits, but struck out three and retired the final eight batters he faced.