No. 2 Butler stays undefeated with five wins at Cowtown Classic

No. 2 Butler stays undefeated with five wins at Cowtown Classic

FORT WORTH, Texas – Butler softball remained undefeated on the season with five wins at the Cowtown Classic this weekend.

The second-ranked Grizzlies (7-0) defeated No. 12 Galveston (TX) 7-6 in nine innings to begin the two-day Classic, then beat Navarro (TX) 9-7 and Ranger (TX) 14-6. Butler also completed the Jan. 28 suspended game against North Central Texas by winning the game 8-3.

On Saturday, Butler routed Lamar State (TX) 12-5, then held on for a 3-2 victory over Seminole State (OK).

In the five Classic games, Butler averaged nine runs per game. On the season, Butler ranks second nationally by averaging 9.3 runs per game.

Butler will have the week off before playing seven games in three days. The Grizzlies will play a road doubleheader on Thursday at Rose State (OK), then head back to Fort Worth for five games at 

Butler 7, Galveston (TX) 6

Butler scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the opening game of the Cowtown Classic.

Paige Pacher delivered a single to center field to score courtesy runner Caylie Kifer to tie the game at 7-7. Two batters later, Kenzie Young hit a fly ball to right field that was dropped, allowing Kifer to score the winning run.

Butler led 3-0 after five innings, as Grizzly starter Regan Mergele threw five shutout innings. The Grizzlies scored twice in the second inning beginning with an Alexis Reed double to score Brynn Minor. Reed later came home on a Caylie Kifer single. In the third inning, Kenzie Young tripled to score Ki'Audra Hayter to put Butler up 3-0.

Galveston broke the shutout in the top of the sixth with a one-out double to score two runs off reliever Brynn Minor.

Butler answered with an insurance run as Paige Pacher hit a two-out infield single to score Allison Jurgensen from third base.

In the seventh, Galveston tied the game at 4-4 with a bloop single to score two runs, sending the game into extra innings.

Galveston took its first lead in the eighth, scoring a courtesy runner from second on a bunt single and a throwing error. In the bottom-half of the inning, Allison Jurgensen's sacrifice fly scored Ki'Audra Hayter from third to keep the game tied.

Galveston went up 6-5 with a one-out RBI single in the ninth before Butler answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to win the game.

Reed went 3-for-4 with two doubles while Pacher was 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Butler offense, which pounded out 13 hits. Young also had two hits and drove in two runs.

Mergele allowed just one hit and struck out five batters in five shutout innings. Minor received the win, despite giving up seven hits and six runs – only one earned – in four innings of relief.

Butler 9, Navarro (TX) 7

Butler exploded for a five-run first inning, then had to come back to defeat Navarro.

Trailing 2-0 in the first, the Grizzlies cut the lead in half on Kenzie Young's single to center which drove in Ki'Audra Hayter. Darrian Hale then delivered the big hit of the inning with a three-run home run to left-center to put Butler up 4-2.

Allison Jurgensen, who went 4-for-4 with two RBI in the contest, added a double down the left-field line to score Brynn Minor.

Navarro responded with a five-run second inning to re-take the lead. The Bulldogs broke a 5-5 tie on a two-run inside-the-park home run by Lindy Kennedy.

In the bottom of the second, a bloop single by Jurgensen, then a sacrifice fly to score Nykiah Hines allowed the Grizzlies to re-tie the game at 7-7.

Becca Schulte broke the tie with a solo home run to center in the third. The next inning, a Celina Sullivan RBI groundout scored Jurgensen to put Butler on top, 9-7.

Sullivan provided five shutout innings in relief duty, giving up only two hits and striking out eight for her first win of the season.

Offensively, Butler had three players – Young, Schulte and Hale – score two runs each.

Butler 14, Ranger (TX) 6

Locked into a 4-4 tie after five innings, the Grizzlies scored 10 runs in the final two innings to defeat Ranger.

Butler's top four in the lineup – Ki'Audra Hayter, Kenzie Young, Becca Schulte and Darrian Hale – combined for 11 of the Grizzlies' 18 hits. The quartet went 11-for-17 with seven runs scored and nine RBI.

Down 3-0 after two innings, Butler broke the shutout with a Schulte single to score Hayter. Hale then blasted a two-run shot to left to tie the game.

After Ranger scored a run in the top of the third, the Grizzlies managed a two-out triple by Nykiah Hines and a Hayter infield single to tie the game at 4-4.

Butler took its first lead in the sixth inning behind a two-run triple by Hayter to score Beanie Luttig and Reagan Wilson. Hayter then scored from third on a Kenzie Young sacrifice fly.

Up 7-5 in the seventh, the Grizzlies then put the game away with a seven-run inning. After singles by Hale and Tyesha Morgan to lead off the inning, Alexis Reed drove in Hale with a single. With two runners in scoring position, Beanie Luttig hit a double off Ranger third baseman Shelby Neatherlin's glove and into left field to score both runs.

Hayter delivered an RBI single to center to score Luttig, then a Kenzie Young single and throwing error led to two more runs. Butler ended the scoring on an RBI single by Schulte.

Celina Sullivan recorded her second win of the day, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out three.

Hayter was the top Grizzly offensively, going 4-for-5 with two triples, three runs scored, two runs batted in and a stolen base. Young went 2-for-3 and drove in four runs, while Hale was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

Butler 8, North Central Texas 3

Following the Ranger contest, Butler was able resume the Jan. 28 contest against North Central Texas that was tied 3-3 after five complete innings in Gainesville.

The Grizzlies quickly scored in the top of the sixth inning when Allison Jurgensen rocketed a double down the left-field line to score Brynn Minor. Jurgensen then crossed home on a Caylie Kifer sacrifice fly to put Butler up 5-3.

In the seventh, Ki'Audra Hayter led off with a triple to left, then scored on Kenzie Young's single to right. Butler managed to load the bases with nobody out, but North Central was able to turn a double play. Alexis Reed then singled up the middle to score Becca Schulte and Nykiah Hines.

Brynn Minor received the win, giving up one unearned run on three hits and striking out three in three innings of work. Minor allowed only one baserunner in the final two innings.

Hale was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while Hayter and Paige Pacher had two hits each.

Butler 12, Lamar State (TX) 5

Butler's offense started slowly with no runs on three hits in Saturday's opening game against Lamar State. The Grizzly bats finally woke up in the fourth inning by scoring eight runs – all with two outs.

Back-to-back RBI singles by Paige Pacher and Ki'Audra Hayter provided the first two runs of the inning, then Becca Schulte belted a grand-slam home run to left to put the Grizzlies up 6-3. Two batters later, Brynn Minor drilled a two-run homer to center.

Butler then added four runs in the seventh inning, again scoring all runs with two outs. Kenzie Young tripled to right-center to score Nykiah Hines, then Schulte followed with an RBI double to left to drive in Young. Darrian Hale then hit her third home run of the season – a towering two-run shot to left – to cap the Grizzly scoring.

Schulte went 4-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored, while Minor was 3-for-5 with two RBI. All nine Grizzlies in the starting lineup each had one hit, as Butler collected 17 total hits in the game.

Hale (2-0) received the win with a solid six-inning outing, as she allowed just one earned run on seven hits and fanned two batters. Maddie Siemer added one shutout inning of relief, giving up just one hit and striking out one.

Butler 3, Seminole State (OK) 2

The Grizzlies jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, but then had to hold on for the victory.

Becca Schulte opened the scoring for Butler with an RBI single to drive in Ki'Audra Hayter in the first inning.

In the second, Hayter hit a two-out single up the middle to score Caylie Kifer, then scored when Kenzie Young doubled down the left-field line.

Butler's offense was shut down for the final four innings, as the Grizzlies managed just one baserunner. However, the Grizzlies countered by getting out of key jams with a one-run lead.

Seminole State scored its only two runs of the contest in the fourth inning. With runners on first and second with no outs, Regan Mergele overthrew first base on a Makenzie Hudson bunt, which allowed both runners to score.

In the fourth, Seminole managed to get a runner on first with two outs, but reliever Celina Sullivan came in to record the final out on a grounder to shortstop.

Seminole threatened again in the sixth inning, getting the first two batters on base, then a sacrifice bunt moved the runners in scoring position. After a walk, Brynn Minor came in to get a slow groundout to first to end the inning.

Minor worked a perfect inning with a groundout and two flyouts to left fielder Reagan Wilson to end the game.

Hayter was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI for Butler.

Mergele received the win with 3.2 innings pitched, allowing two unearned runs on four hits. Sullivan struck out two batters in two shutout innings, while Minor earned her first save of the year with 1.1 innings of relief.