Butler softball run-rules No. 13 Howard, TX in NJCAA opener

Butler softball run-rules No. 13 Howard, TX in NJCAA opener

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Butler softball rolled to an 11-2 run-rule victory over No. 13 Howard (Texas) in Wednesday's opening round of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament at Canyons Complex.

With the victory, Butler advances to Thursday's quarterfinal round against No. 5 Florida Southwestern, who defeated No. 12 San Jacinto-South (Texas) by a 6-1 score. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

The Grizzlies hit three home runs in the contest, including back-to-back blasts in the fifth inning from Morgan Bohanan and Becca Schulte.

Butler's margin of victory is the second-highest in the program's history at nationals and the third overall victory by run-rule at the tournament.

Butler jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning on a Brynn Minor two-run single to score Megan Wurts and Schulte. Bohanan added an RBI single in the second inning to bring in Tyesha Morgan and put the Grizzlies up 3-0.

In the third, Howard's Shelby Ume hit a two-run home run to center to pull the Hawks within a run.

The Grizzlies went back up by two runs on a sacrifice fly by Schulte in the fourth inning.

Butler then pulled away from Howard with a four-run fifth inning, beginning with an RBI single by Wurts to score Mikayla Waggnor. Bohanan followed with a two-run home run to right field, then Schulte hit a solo shot to left to give the Grizzlies an 8-2 lead.

Butler added three more runs in the sixth to finish the game. Drea Lesure hit an RBI single, then Ameia Cutchlow ended the contest with a two-run walk-off blast to straight-away center.

Offensively, Bohanan led Butler with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate and three RBI. Wurts was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, while Morgan Heckart and Waggnor had two hits each. Schulte, Minor and Cutchlow each drove in two runs.

Jennifer Hittinger earned the win and improved to 22-1 overall, going four innings and allowing just two runs on three hits with two strikeouts. Minor tossed two innings of relief, giving up just one hit and recording one strikeout.