Butler freshman Colby Deaville provided the early fireworks Thursday with a Game 1 walk-off solo homer in extra innings, then the Grizzlies completed the sweep in the nightcap to stay alive for a conference title.
Deaville's homer – his first of the season – cleared just over the right-field fence in the 11th inning as the Grizzlies took the opening game by a 2-1 score. In Game 2, Butler erased an early 5-0 deficit with a five-run third inning - helped by a game-tying grand slam home run by Joshua Cox. The Grizzlies broke the tie in the sixth inning with a Javier Pena solo homer and defeated Barton 7-5.
Butler (34-15 overall, 20-10 conference) will finish out the regular season with the final two games of a four-game series with Barton on Saturday in Great Bend. The Grizzlies will need a doubleheader sweep to win the Jayhawk West crown outright for the first time since 2010. First pitch is at 1:00 p.m.
Butler did clinch home field for the Region VI opening round best-of-three series, which runs May 4-6. Pairings are expected to be announced following the conclusion of regular season play this weekend.
Game 1 - Butler 2, Barton 1 (11 innings)
Murphy allowed just one run on four hits through eight innings of work, as he struck out four and walked three. Miller locked down the Cougars' offense with three shutout innings of one-hit ball and fanning for batters.
Butler grabbed a 1-0 lead in the opening frame after Keone Givens was hit by a pitch and Javier Pena reached first on an infield single. The Grizzlies executed a double steal to move both runners in scoring position for Connor Hurst, who grounded out to third to score Givens.
Barton starter Josh Hendrickson then shut down Butler, allowing just two baserunners and striking out 13 batters over the next six innings - including fanning the side in both the second and sixth innings. The southpaw sophomore finished with a season-high 14 strikeouts, walked one and gave up two hits.
In the Barton fourth, the Cougars managed to put the first two batters on base with a Kaden Fowler walk and Carson Engroff single. After Butler turned a double play, Brady Michael reached first on ea fielding error that allowed Fowler to score from third base.
Murphy retired the final eight batters he faced before giving way to Miller, who gave up a one-out double off the wall but recorded all three outs by strikeout in the ninth. Miller also sat down eight straight Barton batters.
Meanwhile, Cougars reliever Dawson Pomeroy replaced Hendrickson on the mound to start the eighth inning and retired the first 12 batters until Deaville came up to the plate in the 11th inning with two outs.
Deaville hit an 0-2 pitch just over the glove of Barton right fielder Fowler and over the fence, setting off a wild celebration at home plate.
Game 2 - Butler 7, Barton 5
Barton jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning and handed an early exit to Grizzly starter Zach Bilek, who failed to record an out after facing five batters in the frame.
Brady Michel led off the inning with a double to right-center, then moved to third on a Brett Erickson single. Bilek issued consecutive walks to score Michel, then Chandler Kelley drove in two runs with a double down the right-field line. Butler brought in David Henderson to replace Bilek and gave up an RBI groundout before retiring the side.
In the top of the third, Pomeroy added an RBI single to plate Michel to give Barton a 5-0 lead.
Butler answered by loading the bases in the bottom of the inning as Colby Deaville doubled, Kevon Givens had an infield single and Javier Pena reached first on a fielder's choice. A throw to second base on Pena's at bat pulled the fielder off the bag to fill the bases, then Jackson Soule walked which allowed Deaville to score.
Joshua Cox then gave the Grizzlies new life by hammering a 1-0 pitch to right field for a game-tying grand slam home run.
Pena broke the 5-5 tie by leading off the Butler fifth with a solo homer to right-center. The Grizzlies would add another run in the inning when Cox singled up the middle to score Jackson Soule.
Henderson (2-0) provided solid relief with 5 1/3 innings of work on 77 pitches, giving up just one earned run on five hits, striking out three and walking three. Through innings 4-6, Henderson allowed one hit and a walk.
In the Barton seventh, Michel hit a ball down the right-field line that appeared to be originally ruled as a home run, but was called foul after an appeal. Michel still managed to reach base with a single, but was then caught stealing second. The Cougars still managed to put runners at first and second with two out, but closer Ryan Miller got Kelley caught looking at strike three to end the game.
Cox finished 2-for-3 with five RBI, while Patrick Bethea and Soule each had two hits. Pena and Soule also scored two runs each.