FORT WORTH, Texas - Butler softball extended its school-record winning streak to 50 games with five wins at the Cowtown Classic on Friday and Saturday.
The second-ranked Grizzlies (12-0 overall) opened the Classic with a pair of shutouts against Alvin (TX) and Vernon (TX), winning 3-0 and 4-0. Butler finished Friday with a 9-4 win over Hill (TX).
On Saturday, Butler won two games over NJCAA Division II foes Iowa Central, 8-4, and Des Moines Area, 4-1.
Butler will play a doubleheader Sunday against Rose State (OK) in Midwest City beginning at 11:00 a.m. The Grizzlies will then play their home opener against Friends JV on Wednesday, with a doubleheader starting at 2:00 p.m. at East Park.
Butler 3, Alvin (TX) 0
Regan Mergele threw five innings of no-hit ball and finished with seven strikeouts in the Grizzlies' opening win at the Classic over Alvin.
While Mergele was dominant in the circle, the Grizzlies struggled offensively with just three hits through six innings.
Brynn Minor scored Butler's first run on consecutive wild pitches in the second inning after hitting a double past third base.
The Grizzlies would not score again until the seventh inning, when Kenzie Young drove in two runs with a two-out single up the middle.
Mergele (2-0) allowed only one baserunner on a walk in the third inning, while Celina Sullivan and Minor each recorded an inning of relief. Alvin broke up the no-hitter with a single off Sullivan in the sixth, which ended up being the only hit. Minor picked up her second save of the season.
Butler 4, Vernon (TX) 0
Minor scored the final run in the fourth, beginning when she led off the inning with a double. Two batters later, Alexis Reed singled to left to drive in Minor.
Maddie Siemer (1-0) earned her first win of the season behind four shutout innings, giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out four. Celina Sullivan had two innings at middle relief and had four strikeouts while allowing just two baserunners on walks. Minor threw one inning with two strikeouts.
Minor and Allison Jurgensen each had two hits to lead Butler offensively.
Butler 9, Hill (TX) 4
Hill tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a fielding error and an infield single.
In the second inning, Schulte put the Grizzlies back on top with an RBI single to left to score Kenzie Young.
Schulte prevented Hill from tying the game in the fourth with a defensive play from the shortstop position. With two outs and a runner on third, Schulte fielded an overthrow back to the mound, then fired a perfect throw to catcher Beanie Luttig to get the third out.
The Grizzlies added three runs each in the final two innings. In the sixth, Brynn Minor doubled to score Reagan Wilson to give Butler a 5-2 lead, then Alexis Reed and Paige Pacher followed with RBI singles.
Luttig then hit a three-run home run to left in the seventh to essentially put the game out of reach.
Starter Darrian Hale (2-0) was credited with the win after going 3 2/3 innings. She allowed just two earned runs on three hits while fanning two batters. Celina Sullivan was solid in relief, as she struck out eight batters and gave up two hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Minor was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while Pacher was 3-for-4 at the plate.
Butler 8, Iowa Central 4
Iowa Central's four-run first inning was the only time Butler trailed throughout the two-day Classic.
In the sixth, Butler took the lead when Allison Jurgensen scored from third on a wild pitch. With one out and the bases loaded, Kenzie Young singled to center to score Tyesha Morgan. Schulte then followed with a two-run single to left to give the Grizzlies an 8-4 lead.
After allowing four runs in the first, Maddie Siemer limited Iowa Central to just one hit over the next four innings. Siemer allowed four earned runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings of work. Reliever Celina Sullivan tossed the final two innings, recording two strikeouts and giving up just one hit.
Offensively, Kenzie Young was 3-for-3 with a run scored, while Schulte, Jurgensen and Kifer each had two hits.
Butler 4, Des Moines Area (IA) 1
Becca Schulte put the Grizzlies up 3-0 in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Raegan Wilson.
Mergele (3-0) picked up the win with 4 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on two hits and striking out ninebatters. Minor then finished the final 2 1/3 and earned her third save of the year, striking out four and giving up one run on four hits.
Hale led the Grizzlies with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate.