Butler baseball won a pair of thrilling come-from-behind walk-off victories against Garden City to remain in first place in the Jayhawk Conference standings on Thursday at McDonald Stadium.
The Grizzlies (13-5 overall, 5-1 conference) won the first contest 5-4 behind a walk-off infield single from Jackson Soule, then needed a three-run ninth-inning rally to send the second game into extra innings, where Butler completed the sweep with a 10-inning 12-11 victory.
Butler will head to Garden City on Saturday to complete the four-game series, with the first game starting at 1:00 p.m.
Game 1 - Butler 5, Garden City 4
Butler trailed 3-0 after three innings, as Garden City scored two runs in the first inning off a bases-loaded hit by pitch and an RBI single, then Robbie Young added a solo home run in the third.
Sophomore catcher Alex Brough got Butler rolling the bottom of the fourth with an RBI double that scored Jackson Soule. Jack Maki followed with a single to center field to score Brough, cutting the Broncbusters' lead to 3-2.
In the fifth, Garden City extended its lead to 4-2 on a Corbin Truslow solo home run off Butler starter Zach Bilek.
Butler grabbed the run back in the bottom of the sixth when Brough went opposite field with a solo home run to right, bringing the Grizzlies back within a run, 4-3.
After Grizzly reliever Ryan Miller recorded his second straight perfect inning in the seventh, Garden City recorded two quick outs - needing just one to end the contest. However, Busters reliever Nick Iossi walked both Keone Givens and Javier Pena, putting the tying and winning runs on base. Connor Hurst then delivered a two-out single up the middle to score Givens to tie the game.
With Soule batting, Hurst stole second base to give Butler two runners in scoring position. Soule then hit an infield single up the middle to score Pena, setting off a wild Grizzly celebration up the first-base line.
Brough and Soule both had two hits in the contest, while Brough scored twice and drove in two runs.
Miller (1-1) was rewarded with the win, facing six batters in two innings and striking out one.
Game 2 - Butler 12, Garden City 11 (10 innings)
Butler jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run home run by Connor Hurst.
In Garden City's third inning, the Busters loaded the bases Grizzly starter Jack Maki with three straight hits. Corbin Truslow then made Butler pay with a grand slam home run, giving Garden a 4-2 lead.
A Javier Pena RBI single to score Soule in the bottom of the inning pulled Butler within a run, but Garden answered back in the fourth with an RBI single by Clint Allen.
Down 5-3 with a runner on first and two outs, Garden City had consecutive dropped fly balls by Allen in center field. The errors allowed Mason Goade and Patrick Bethea to score, tying the game at 5-all. Javier Pena then put Butler back in front with a two-run home run to left.
Robbie Young pulled the Busters back within one with a solo homer in the fifth. The following inning, Garden loaded the bases on two walks and an infield error, then Young drove in two runs with a double to give the Busters the lead. Garden scored two more runs on a Chris Lara groundout and a Darien Burns single for a 10-7 lead.
Butler managed to score a run in the sixth after Bethea drew a two-out walk. Givens then tripled to left field to score Bethea, getting the Grizzlies within two runs.
Neither team scored until Garden City added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a Ty Lightley RBI single for a 11-8 lead.
Butler was helped by three infield errors to open the ninth inning, Jackson Soule reached first on a fielding error by shortstop Lightly, then a muffed throw when Alex Brough reached first on a fielder's choice put runners at first and second. An errant pickoff throw by Busters pitcher Eric Heiman then allowed Soule to score from second base.
After a pitching change with no outs, Parker Base tied the game with a two-run blast to left-center off of Garden's Grant Lathrop. The Busters were able to get out of the inning on two flyouts, then threw out Bethea at second after a two-out walk.
Butler was then able to end the game in the 10th inning without recording a hit. Pena walked to first base with one out. With Pena stealing second, Garden reliever Iossi threw a wild throw past first base, which allowed Pena to score the game-winning run.
Garden City committed eight total errors and issued seven walks in the contest, while Pena led Butler's offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, scoring four times, stealing two bases and driving in two runs. Hurst, Soule and Base each had two RBI in the win.
Miller picked up the win in the nightcap, throwing two innings while allowing just one unearned run on two hits, one walk and striking out two. Trevor Gorges, and Colby Pechin also were solid in relief efforts, combining for 2 1/3 innings of no-hit ball and giving up just one walk.