GREAT BEND, Kan. – Butler softball extended its road conference winning streak to 47 straight games with a doubleheader sweep at Barton on Monday at Cougar Field.
The Grizzlies won the opener 5-2 with a five-run fourth inning, then needed extra innings for a 6-3 Game 2 win to complete the sweep over Barton.
Winners of 11 straight games, Butler (36-6 overall, 25-1 conference) will finish out the regular season at home Tuesday in a non-conference doubleheader against Cowley. First pitch from East Park is at 4:00 p.m.
Butler will then open Region VI tourney play at 7:00 p.m. on Friday in Dodge City with a first-round contest against Garden City. The double-elimination tournament will run through the weekend, with the title game scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Region VI winner will advance to the NJCAA District E series against the Region XI winner, which will host the best-of-three series on May 15-16.
Game 1 – Butler 5, Barton 2
Henry hammered her seventh homer of the seventh by sending a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field fence, while Icenhower blasted a 2-2 pitch to left field for her 11th homer on the year.
Pankers followed with a single to left field, then Carlson walked to put runners at first and second with no outs. Jaime Barta then laid down a bunt and beat a wild throw to first base, which allowed Pankers to score.
With Meghan Gutierrez batting, Barta stole second base to give Butler two runners in scoring position. A Gutierrez sacrifice fly scored Carlson from third base for a 4-0 Grizzly lead. Taliya Talley drove in the final run of the inning by reaching first on an outfield error, scoring Barta on the play.
Barton managed to score two runs in the fifth off Grizzly reliever Kaylee Burnett behind RBI singles from Betsy Parmley and Demi Kunkel.
Butler starter Megan Johnson (13-2) kept the Cougars off the scoreboard with four shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out one batter. Burnett struck out five batters over three innings to earn her third save of the season, despite giving up two earned runs on six hits.
Pankers led Butler offensively by going 3-for-3 at the plate, while Gutierrez had two hits.
Game 2 – Butler 6, Barton 3 (8 innings)
Barton took a 1-0 lead in the first inning by scoring the opening run on a wild pitch. Jaelyn Carter led off the inning with a double to right-center, then moved to third on a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Butler starter Olivia DePew issued a wild pitch to allow Carter to score from third base.
The Cougars added another run in the bottom of the fourth on a Maggie Schuetz double to left-center to plate Betsy Parmley.
After four innings, Butler managed just two hits against Barton starter Emma Horsch, but finally broke through with a pair of runs in the fifth.
DePew hit a one-out double to left, then moved up to third on a Meghan Gutierrez double. Shayna Espy walked to load the bases for Brianna Robinson, who reached first on an infield error to score DePew. Taliya Talley then followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in Gutierrez and tie the game.
DePew (11-2) allowed just two hits over the next three innings, with Barton only managing one runner in scoring position over that time. The freshman righthander threw seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Butler mustered just one hit in the next two frames, as the Grizzlies were forced to play their first extra-inning game of the season.
Talley led off the eighth with her team-high 18th homer of the year – a solo blast to right field to give Butler a 3-2 lead. The Grizzlies managed to put two runners on base with one out on an Asia Henry single and a hit by pitch to Makensey Pankers.
Carlson then hit a double to center to score pinch runner Sara Mitchell. Butler added two more runs when DePew hit an opposite-field bloop single to right which allowed both Pankers and Carlson to score.
Barton's Brooke McCollough led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run to left off Butler reliever Kaylee Burnett. The Cougars followed with consecutive singles and moved both runners into scoring position after a wild pitch with one out. However, a Burnett strikeout and a force-out at third base ended the contest.
Henry, Carlson and DePew each had two hits, while Talley drove in two runs.
NOTES: Butler improved to 59-7 all-time vs. Barton under head coach Doug Chance… Talley moved into seventh place in on the Butler single-season homer leaderboard with her 18th home run, passing Robyn Sadowski (2006)… Gutierrez extended her on-base streak to 33 games, getting two hits in the opening game and one hit in the nightcap.