Butler walks off Hutchinson to start doubleheader sweep

Butler walks off Hutchinson to start doubleheader sweep

The Butler softball team swept Hutchinson in very different ways on Wednesday at East Park.

The Grizzlies trailed the majority of the first game before getting a walk-off single from pinch-hitter Asia Henry in the bottom of the seventh inning to win 8-7 before rolling to a 9-1 run-rule victory in the second game.

With the sweep, Butler (17-5 overall, 9-1 conference) extended its overall winning streak to six games and remains in first place in the Jayhawk East. The Grizzlies have now won seven consecutive conference games, as well as pushing their winning streak over Hutchinson to 18 straight games.

Butler will now be on the road for eight straight games, starting with a doubleheader on Thursday at Pratt. The Grizzlies will play back-to-back doubleheaders at Colby and Northwest Kansas Tech on Saturday and Sunday.

GAME 1 - Butler 8, Hutchinson 7

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, head coach Doug Chance called on Asia Henry to pinch hit. Henry delivered, lacing a single to center off the glove of pitcher Maryssa Rollin, allowing Sara Mitchell and Makensey Pankers to score.

Up to that point, Butler led just once in the contest with a 5-4 lead after four innings.

Hutchinson scored three runs in the top of the second inning off starter Megan Johnson, as the Blue Dragons played small ball and took advantage of a defensive error.

Pankers hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to bring Butler back within a run.

Each team scored a run in the third, with Taliya Talley singling up the middle to score Shayna Espy for the Butler run.

The Grizzlies then took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fourth, as Anna Williams scored on a Hutch error to tie the game and Espy singled to right drive in Jaime Barta.

Hutchinson quickly responded in the top of the fifth, getting a solo homer to left from Kiara DeCrane that tied the game 5-5. Two batters later, Ashley Wilson put the Dragons in front 7-5 with a two-run homer to center field.

Talley drove in Espy on an RBI groundout in the sixth inning to cut Hutch's lead to 7-6.

Following a 1-2-3 inning by reliever Kaylee Burnett in the top of the seventh, Pankers doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning. After a walk to Mitchell, a Hutch error after catching a pop-up allowed both runners to move up. Henry then hit the first pitch for the game-winning hit to give the Grizzlies the victory

Gutierrez, Espy and Pankers each had two hits for Butler, while Espy and Pankers both scored two runs.

Reliever Kaylee Burnett (6-1) picked up her team-high sixth victory of the season. The sophomore righthander pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, striking out four and allowing just one hit.

GAME 2 - Butler 9, Hutchinson 1 (6 innings)

The nightcap lacked the drama of the first game, but still ended in walk-off fashion. The Grizzlies ended the game early due to run-rule, scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Starter Olivia DePew (5-2) earned the win for the Grizzlies after allowing just one run through 4 2/3 innings of work, that being a solo home run by Taylor Ullery in the top of the third.

Butler broke through for four runs in the bottom of the third. Brianna Robinson reached on a fielder's choice and Jaime Barta scored on the play to tie the game. The Grizzlies took the lead on a two-run double by Taliya Talley. Anna Icenhower followed with a single to drive in Robinson to give Butler a 4-1 lead.

The Grizzlies didn't score again until the sixth, putting up five runs to end the game. Robinson had an RBI single, but the big blast was a three-run homer by Talley. Butler ended up loading the bases with two outs, then ended the game with an RBI single by Barta to left that allowed pinch-runner Taylor Lambert to score.

Talley was Butler's top offensive producer in the second game, going 3-for-4 with a season-high five RBI. Espy, Icenhower and Barta had two hits each, while Gutierrez and Espy each scored two runs. 

Kaylee Burnett recorded her first save of the season, entering the game when Butler led 4-1. Burnett did not allow a hit in 1 1/3 shutout innings and struck out two batters.

NOTES: Butler improved to 22-2 overall against Hutchinson under head coach Doug Chance... The seven runs scored by Hutchinson in Game 1 were the most runs the Blue Dragons have scored against Butler since a Hutch 7-5 win back in 2004... Talley has now had four three-hit games this season, including two in the last three games... Gutierrez has hit safely in eight straight games, hitting .458 (11-of-24) with nine runs scored... Burnett has thrown seven consecutive shutout innings. In that span, Burnett has allowed just two hits and struck out 10 batters.