GREAT BEND, Kan. - The Butler softball team opened Jayhawk Conference play with a road doubleheader at Barton on Thursday, splitting the pair of games.
Barton won 4-2 in the first game but the Grizzlies bounced back to run-rule Barton in the second game, winning 9-1 in five innings.
With the split, Butler is now 16-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference. The Grizzlies play a home doubleheader on Saturday against Garden City, starting at 1 p.m.
Game 1 – Barton 4, Butler 2
Butler got off to a solid start in conference play, as Morgan Bohanan doubled and scored on a double by Becca Shulte to put the Grizzlies up 1-0 after the top of the first inning.
Regan Mergele threw a scoreless first inning against Barton, but the Cougars scored runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead.
Butler tied the game in the top of the fourth when Becca Schulte tripled off the top of the fence in center and then scored on a delayed double steal.
Barton regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run by McKenna Mauler, then added an insurance run in the sixth inning.
Regan Mergele (8-3) takes the loss, her first in her past five decisions. Mergele allowed six hits and three earned runs in six innings of work.
Game 2 – Butler 9, Barton 1 (five innings)
Barton scored first, getting a run in the bottom of the second inning but the Grizzlies answered two of their own in the top of the third, as Drea Lesure scored on a sacrifice fly by Megan Wurts and Mikayla Waggnor scored on a double by Morgan Bohanan.
Leading 3-1 in the top of the fifth, Butler erupted for six runs. Morgan Bohanan and Brynn Minor drove in runs, then Raven Bass hit a two-run single to center. Butler capped the scoring with a two-run home run to center from Taylor Zanca.
Butler pitcher Jennifer Hittinger continued to shut down opposing batters. She allowed four hits in five innings, allowing just one run. With the win, Hittinger improves to 6-1 on the season and has won five straight games in the circle.