Five home runs – including a first-inning grand slam – doomed Butler in a 13-6 loss to No. 12 Cowley on Tuesday at McDonald Stadium.
Butler (24-13 overall, 14-8 conference) had two home runs and five RBI from sophomore Connor Hurst, but Cowley was able to outpower the Grizzlies with a five-run sixth inning and added three solo homers in the eighth to pull away for the win.
In the opening frame, Cowley's Cross Factor opened the scoring with a grand slam shot to left off Butler starter Keone Givens (0-1), who was making just his third appearance of the season.
Hurst drove his first run on a groundout to third in bottom of the inning, plating Mason Goade from third base after he led off the inning with a walk.
Alex Peterson, who went 4-for-5 with three RBI for the Tigers, hit a solo homer to left in the third inning to give Cowley a 5-1 lead.
In Butler's half of the third, Colby Deaville led off with a walk, then Goade hit a one-out single to right. After a strikeout for the second out, Hurst hammered a three-run blast to left as the Grizzlies pulled within a run.
Butler reliever Colby Pechin, who entered the game in the fourth inning, looked solid in relief with six strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings. However, Pechin ran into trouble in the sixth during Cowley's five-run inning.
Austin Garrett hit an RBI double to left with no outs, then after a strikeout, Pechin allowed a single to Kea'von Edwards and an RBI single to Peterson. Butler pulled Pechin for Trevor Gorges, who gave up RBI singles to both Grady Davenport and Factor.
Cowley loaded the bases on a walk, then Parker Dunn hit an infield single to score another run tfor a 10-4 lead for the Tigers.
Hurst led off the bottom of the sixth by hitting a monster solo shot – his team-high 17th homer of the season – to left field, then Joshua Cox added a solo home run to left in the eighth to pull Butler within four runs.
However, Cowley had solo homers from Dalton Dinkel, Edwards and Peterson - all to straight-away center field off Grizzly reliever Blake Mullendore in the ninth inning.
Cox finished 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Hurst was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and five RBI in the loss.
Butler will return to conference play with a road doubleheader Thursday at Cloud County. The Grizzlies are currently two games ahead of both Cloud County (20-16, 12-8) and Colby (22-17, 12-8) in the Jayhawk West standings. First pitch from Concordia is at 1:00 p.m.
NOTES: With two home runs, Hurst is now tied for second among all NJCAA Division I hitters. Hurst needs just one homer to move into a tie for fourth place on the Grizzly single-season leaderboard. The Augusta, Kan., sophomore has 30 career home runs, which is two back of Grier Jones (32, 1990-91) for third all-time at Butler.