With just eight conference games remaining, the Butler baseball squad is tied for first place with Dodge City. The Grizzlies split with Pratt on Saturday, as Butler won three games in the four-game conference series at McDonald Stadium.
Pratt avoided the sweep with an 11-4 win in Game 1 on Saturday, but the Grizzlies' offense exploded for 16 hits - including four home runs - in a 13-2 seven-inning win over the Beavers in the second contest.
Butler (23-20 overall, 15-9 Jayhawk West) is tied atop the Jayhawk West standings with Dodge City (28-12, 14-8), who won two games over Garden City on Saturday. The Conquistadors will finish out the four-game series on Sunday, while the Grizzlies will host Hutchinson in a single nine-inning game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The game will not count in the conference standings.
Game 1 - Pratt 11, Butler 4
Pratt wasted no time taking a lead against the Grizzlies, as Skyler Dean scored on a Julio Ibarra groundout in the first inning. Dean provided the big hit in the Beavers' six-run second inning, hitting a three-run double down the left-field line to put Pratt up 5-0. Colton Glover added an RBI single to score Dean, then Ethan Schlesener would later score on a throwing error on a stolen base attempt.
In the fourth, Pratt's Taylor Graf hit a two-run home run to left field to push the lead to 9-0.
Butler scored its first run in the bottom of the fifth. With Cameron Knight on first, Ty Redington reached base safely on a throwing error on a bunt attempt. Pratt third baseman Carson Garrett fielded the bunt, but his throw sailed down the right-field line allowing Knight to score.
Glover added a two-run homer to left for Pratt in the sixth, which put the Beavers up 11-1. In the bottom-half of the sixth with runners at the corners, Butler's Zach Baker hit a sacrifice fly to score Cory Slater. Bryce Whitchurch then followed with a two-run blast to right-center to make the score 11-4.
Gibson Russ (0-2) took the loss, giving up five earned runs on three hits in just one inning of work. The Grizzly trio of Russ, Travis Edgar and Marcus Wasburn combined to give up 11 hits and walk five in the loss.
Jake Huscroft was 2-for-4 with a stolen base to lead the Butler offense.
Game 2 - Butler 13, Pratt 2 (7 innings)
Trailing 2-0, Butler put up six runs each in the second and third inning to ensure a series win over the Beavers.
In the second, Whitchurch hit a one-out double to left-center, then scored on a Alex Forge't single to center. Forge't advanced to second on an error on the play, then moved to third on a throwing error by Pratt pitcher Justen Heuermann. Baker then drove in Forge't with an RBI single to right to tie the game, then later scored on a wild pitch to give Butler a 3-2 lead.
With two runners in scoring position, Cory Slater singled through the left side of the infield to score Jake Huscroft and Channing Williams. Slater then scored on a fielding error when Alex Weiss singled to left.
Butler used the long ball in the third, hitting three home runs to take a 12-2 lead. Baker blasted a two-run homer to center. Two batters later, Ty Redington hit a solo shot to left-center. Cory Slater's RBI single to left to score Jake Huscroft made the score 10-2 Butler. Weiss then capped the scoring with a two-run line-drive blast to left.
Slater, who finished 4-for-4 with four RBIs in the game, hit the Grizzlies' fourth home run of the contest in the fifth inning - connecting on a monstrous shot that traveled well over the left-field wall.
Weiss went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Whitchurch, Forge't and Baker had two hits each.
Butler starter Austin Weiser (3-3) took the win, as the lefty went five innings and gave up just one earned run on five hits while striking out six. Drake Harper and Ben Ramberg each provided an inning of relief, recording two strikeouts each.