The Butler softball team moved into first place atop the Jayhawk West standings with a home doubleheader sweep of Barton on Friday.
The Grizzlies defeated Barton 7-3 in the opening game, then pulled out a 3-2 10-inning victory in the nightcap.
Butler (25-13 overall, 12-4 Jayhawk West) came into Friday's doubleheader tied with Seward County for first place, but the two wins pushed the Grizzlies ahead by one game. The Grizzlies host Colby (19-22. 7-9) in another conference doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch from East Park is at 2 p.m.
Game 1 - Butler 7, Barton 3
Butler opened the scoring with a opposite-field grand slam home run by Monica Islava in the first inning. Aujanae McCoy reached first on an infield single, then stole second and third. Megan Wurts followed with a walk and stole second base, then Morgan Heckart walked to load the bases with no outs. Islava then blasted a shot to right field off Barton pitcher Holly Postgate to give the Grizzlies a 4-0 lead.
The Grizzlies added two runs in the third, beginning with an Islava sacrifice fly to score Wurts. With the bases loaded and one out, Morgan Heckart beat out a force play at home plate when Jill Shipman hit a grounder to the shortstop.
Barton finally scored to break the shutout with three runs in the top of the sixth inning off Grizzly starter Kaelah McMullin. With two runners in scoring position and no outs, Barton's Erica Harper reached first on a throwing error by McCoy, which scoring Bailey Hensley and Brianna Ward. Harper then scored on a Postgate single to right.
McMullin (11-7) earned the win by going the full seven innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out nine batters.
Islava led the Butler offense, going 1-for-2 with five RBI, while Wurts went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and three stolen bases.
Game 2 - Butler 3, Barton 2 (10 innings)
Barton's Taylor Bugner and Butler's Jenny Hittinger were locked into a pitcher's duel, as neither team scored for the first seven innings.
Butler stranded two runners in scoring position in the first inning, then placed a runner at third with one out in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but failed to score. Barton's Brianna Ward reached second base twice against Hittinger - both times advancing on a wild pitch in the first and sixth inning.
In the fifth, Danae Bina tripled to left-center with one out, but was thrown out trying to score on a fielder's choice. Butler had runners at second and third in the sixth, but Haylee Lorenz popped up to first and Gracie Bogle flied out to left to end the inning. With one out in the seventh, Bina doubled to left and stole third, but Bugner got a strikeout and a infield pop-up to escape the jam.
Barton broke the scoreless tie in the eighth as Cailtin Garcia led off the inning with a single to right off Hittinger, who was then relieved by McMullin. Pinch runner Samantha White advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, then scored when Bailey Hensley singled up the middle. Brianna Ward followed with another single, then both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Erica Harper put Barton up 2-0 with a single through the middle of the infield to score Ward. McMullin then got out of the inning by retiring the final two batters.
Butler quickly answered when Monica Islava hammered a two-run home run with no outs. Morgan Heckart led off the inning with a single to left, then Islava won a lengthy battle with Bugner. Down 0-2, Islava fouled off five straight pitches before hitting a blast to left field to tie the game.
With international tiebreakers taking place in the 10th, Barton's Caitlin Garcia opened the inning at second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. McMullin then got an infield pop-up and groundout to end the threat.
McCoy was placed on second for Butler to start the bottom of the 10th, then moved to third on Megan Wurts' sacrifice bunt. Morgan Heckart then flied out to shallow right, but McCoy easily beat an offline throw to home to win the game for the Grizzlies.
Hittinger had a no-decision after throwing seven innings, allowing just four hits on one run and striking out six batters. McMullin (12-7) threw the final three innings, giving up one run on three hits.