Butler softball extended its run-rule victory streak to nine straight games and scored 38 total runs in Wednesday's home doubleheader sweep of Garden City.
The top-ranked Grizzlies (30-0 overall, 8-0 conference) blasted the Broncbusters in a 26-2 five-inning win in the opener, then needed a nine-run fourth inning for a 12-0 run-rule victory in the second game.
The 26 runs scored by Butler in the first game set a season-high mark and matches the second-most scored in a game in the program's history. The Grizzlies beat Garden City by the same 26-2 score last year on March 27. Butler's school record is 30, which was set during the 2005 season against Allen County.
Butler's 38 runs in the doubleheader set a school record for most runs scored in a home doubleheader. The previous high was 36, which was also set last year against Garden City. The Grizzlies were one run away from tying the school record (39 at Colby, 2011).
Butler also kept its current streaks of consecutive wins (68), conference victories (31) and home regular-season wins (36). Including postseason games, the Grizzlies have won 32 straight games at East Park.
The Grizzlies will have a 12-day break before hosting Sterling College JV on Monday, March 27 for a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Butler 26, Garden City 2 (5 innings)
Butler opened the doubleheader by sending 16 batters to the plate and built a 13-0 lead off 11 hits before Garden City could record an out.
Kenzie Young drove in the first run of the inning with a triple down the right-field line to score Ki'Audra Hayter, then scored on a Becca Schulte double. Two batters later, Darrianne Hale reached first on a fielding error, which allowed Schulte to score from second.
With Butler going through the lineup a second time, Hayter drove in two runs with a single to right field, then Young provided her second triple of the inning to score Hayter. Young later scored from third on a wild pitch. Becca Schulte followed with a solo homer to left, which gave the Grizzlies an 12-0 lead.
Alexis Reed finally capped the scoring for the opening inning with an single up the middle, which scored Minor. Butler left the bases loaded as Garden was able to end the inning with three straight outs.
The Grizzlies scored five runs in the second inning on three home runs, beginning with solo shots from Young and Minor. Caylie Kifer added a three-run blast to left field to score Chloe Holman and Celina Sullivan, who both subbed in earlier in the frame.
Up 18-0 after two innings, Butler kept the offense rolling with an eight-run third inning. Tamarah Mascher had the big hit in the inning with a three-run single to right-center, while Kifer added a two-run single earlier. Tyesha Morgan, Holman and Hayter each drove in a run.
Garden City finally broke the shutout when Micaela Martinez hit a two-run home run off reliever Maddie Siemer.
Starter Regan Mergele improved to 13-0 on the season with three shutout innings of no-hit ball and struck out six. Mergele allowed just one batter on a hit by pitch, while Siemer allowed just one hit and fanned two in two innings of work.
Kifer led Butler with five runs batted in as she went 3-for-4. Young was 3-for-3 with two triples and three RBI, while Alexis Reed was 2-for-2 with four runs driven in. Kifer, Young, Hayter and Minor all scored three times in the game. Butler had five players (Hayter, Young, Mascher, Reed and Kifer) drive in three or more runs. Each offensive starter had at least one hit and one run in the contest.
Butler 12, Garden City 0 (5 innings)
Instead of an early offensive outburst, the Grizzlies progressively increased their run production over the course of the second game.
Butler did not score until the second inning, as Allison Jurgensen singled through the left side to score Brynn Minor. Kenzie Young and Minor added RBI singles in the third to put the Grizzlies up 3-0.
The Grizzlies then exploded with nine runs on seven hits in the fourth inning. Alexis Reed doubled to right-center to score Jurgensen to begin the scoring. Caylie Kifer followed with a two-run home run to left.
In just her second career start for Butler in the circle, Minor (5-0) tossed four shutout innings and allowed just three hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Darrianne Hale finished the game with one shutout inning.
Young led Butler offensively with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, scoring twice and driving in four runs. Reagan Wilson added two runs, while Kifer and Luttig each had two RBI.
NOTES: As of Wednesday, Butler leads the NJCAA in runs scored (327), home runs (57), runs batted in (298), walks (143) and slugging percentage (.705). The Grizzlies also are second with 16 triples... Minor and Schulte both rank in the top five individually in home runs and runs batted in. Minor leads the Grizzlies with 15 home runs (2nd in NJCAA) and 48 RBI (3rd in NJCAA), while Schulte is tied for fifth overall in both homers (12) and runs batted in (45)... Coupled with the 22-0 Game 2 win over Pratt on Monday, Butler scored 20 or more runs in consecutive games for the first time under head coach Doug Chance. The Grizzlies have reached the 20-run mark 11 times in 13 seasons under Chance.