LIBERAL, Kan. - The Butler softball team used a series of big innings to complete a road doubleheader sweep of Seward County on Thursday.
Butler won the first game 13-6 before winning the second game 8-0 in six innings. The Grizzlies have won six straight over their arch-rival, dating back to last season and are 25-4 against the Saints since the start of the 2011 season.
Butler scored two or more runs in six of the 13 innings played on Thursday, including five runs in the fourth inning of game one and five more in the sixth inning of game two.
The Grizzlies improve to 26-4 overall and are in first place in the Jayhawk West at 11-1, having won 11 straight and 20 of their past 21 games. Butler will return home to play three games this weekend in the BUCO Bash at East Park, facing Highland at 6 p.m. on Saturday and playing a doubleheader against Jefferson (Mo.) on Sunday, starting at noon.
Butler got started early when Becca Schulte hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning. Seward answered with a solo home run by Brittany Corrales in the bottom half of the first.
Two Butler errors led to two Seward runs in the bottom of the second, giving the Saints a 3-2 lead.
Butler responded by scoring three runs in the third and five more in the fourth to make it a 10-3 lead.
Seward would score three times in the fifth to cut Butler's lead to 10-6, but Alexis Clinton hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to put the game away.
In addition to the home run, Becca Schulte had two doubles and drove in five runs, going 4-for-5 at the plate. Clinton was 3-for-3 and scored four runs while Schulte, Minor and Danae Bina scored two runs each.
Neither team scored in the first two innings. Butler broke through for two runs in the top of the third on an RBI double by Megan Wurts and an RBI single by Becca Schulte.
In the fourth, Schulte doubled and scored on a double by Brynn Minor.
Butler then exploded for five more runs in the top of the sixth, including a two-run single by Megan Wurts.
Wurts drove in three runs, while Schulte and Minor drove in two apiece.
In the circle, Jennifer Hittinger threw the complete-game shutout, going six innings and allowing four hits and a walk while striking out three. She improves to 11-1 on the season.