No. 1 Butler records pair of run-rule shutouts at Garden City

No. 1 Butler records pair of run-rule shutouts at Garden City

GARDEN CITY, Kan. - Butler softball continued its dominance of Jayhawk West opponents Wednesday with a pair of run-rule shutouts at Garden City.

No. 1 Butler (44-0 overall, 20-0 conference) had a combined no-hitter in a 15-0 Game 1 win over the Broncbusters, then limited Garden to just two hits in a 13-0 victory in the second game.

With the two wins, the Grizzlies moved their overall winning streak to 82 games and now have won 43 consecutive regular-season conference games. Butler ran their road winning streak to 22 straight games and have won 19 road conference contests in a row.

In 20 conference games, Butler has recorded 18 run-rule victories and matched the overall school record of run-rule wins (25), which was set during last year's national title run.

Butler has four conference games remaining on the schedule, beginning with a Friday road doubleheader at Seward County beginning at 2:00 p.m. The Grizzlies will host Barton for two games on Saturday to finish conference play. Butler will then end the regular season with a road twinbill at Cowley on Monday.

Game 1 - Butler 15, Garden City 0 (5 innings)

Regan Mergele, Darrianne Hale and Celina Sullivan combined on a no-hitter in the opening game. The no-hitter was Butler's first since March 23, 2015, when the Grizzlies blanked Southeast Nebraska at home.

In three innings of work, Mergele (21-0) struck out seven batters - including the first five she faced - and allowed just one baserunner on a hit by pitch. Hale tossed 1 1/3 shutout innings, giving up a walk and a hit batter, while Sullivan recorded the final two outs to close the game.

Butler opened the game with a five-run first inning, scoring the first run when Becca Schulte doubled to right to score Ki'Audra Hayter. Schulte came home as Brynn Minor hit a triple to right.

Hale followed with her 15th home run of the season - a two-run blast to left field to give the Grizzlies a 4-0 lead. The Grizzlies would eventually load the bases later in the inning as Allison Jurgensen came home when Hayter reached first on a fielding error.

Butler added another run in the second as Schulte reached first on an error to lead off the inning, stole second and third, and scored on a fielder's choice.

The Grizzlies opened the third inning by scoring seven runs before Garden City could record an out. After a Hayter single and a Kenzie Young hit by pitch, Schulte hammered a three-run homer to left, giving her a career-high 17 homers on the season.

With runners at first and second, Jurgensen hit a looping single over third base to drive in Minor to put Butler up 10-0. Alexis Reed then hit a three-run home run to center field.

Butler would add two more runs on a Nykiah Hines single in the fourth inning to finish the scoring.

Schulte was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI, while Young was 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Reed went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Jurgensen also scored three runs and drove in two runs while going 2-for-4.

Game 2 - Butler 13, Garden City 0 (5 innings)

Butler quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning on a Brynn Minor triple that scored Becca Schulte and a Darrianne Hale RBI single.

The Grizzlies added four more runs in the third, beginning on a Schulte two-run triple to right to score Ki'Audra Hayter and Kenzie Young. Schulte would then score on an infield error. Later in the inning, Hale came home on a Celina Sullivan single down the left-field line.

In the fourth, Minor smacked her third triple of the day to drive in Young from second. Minor's triple went over the head of Garden City right fielder Bailee Muxlow-Volk, who came charging in and misplayed the ball. She then scored when a throw back into the infield skipped past Busters third baseman Nicole Milford.

Up 8-0, Butler would score five insurance runs to secure a run-rule win. Sullivan hit an RBI single to left to drive in Allison Jurgensen, then Beanie Luttig doubled to left-center to score Alexis Reed. Sullivan scored on an infield error, then the final two runs scored when Regan Mergele - making her first plate appearance as a Grizzly - reached first base on an infield error.

Minor was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Hale went 2-for-2 with an RBI. Schulte and Young each scored two runs.

In just her second start of the season, Minor (7-0) threw three innings of no-hit ball and struck out two. Maddie Siemer went 1 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and fanned two, while Sullivan struck out the final two batters to end the game.

NOTES: Minor extended her hitting streak to 28 games and improved her batting average to .500. The sophomore is hitting .602 (50-of-83) with 17 home runs, 57 runs batted in, 46 runs scored, 12 doubles and three triples... Mergele lowered her earned-run average to 0.53, which leads all NJCAA Division I pitchers.