No. 1 Butler breaks school record for most runs in season

No. 1 Butler breaks school record for most runs in season

Butler softball continued its assault on the school record book Sunday, setting a new record for most runs scored in a season with a pair of run-rule wins over Barton.

The top-ranked Grizzlies (46-0 overall, 22-0 conference) won the opening game 8-0 in six innings, then needed just five innings for a 15-2 victory over the Cougars.

With the combined 23 runs scored on Sunday, Butler has now scored 519 runs on the season, breaking last year's record of 512. The two run-rule wins also set a new program mark for most run-rule victories in a season (27). The Grizzlies have won a season-high 10 straight games by run-rule and have recorded 20 wins by run-rule in 22 conference games this season.

Butler ran its overall winning streak to 84 consecutive wins and extended the school-record streaks at home (42), conference (45) and regular-season home conference (35).

The Grizzlies finish out the regular season Monday with a road doubleheader at Seward County, beginning at 2:00 p.m. With two more conference wins, the Grizzlies can become the first Jayhawk Conference West team to finish a perfect 24-0.

As the Jayhawk Conference champion, Butler will host the Region VI Division I Tournament at East Park. The three-day tourney begins Friday with the opening round

Game 1 - Butler 8, Barton 0 (6 innings)

Brynn Minor inched closer to the Grizzlies' single-season home run record with a solo blast to right-center in the second inning, which gave Butler a 1-0 lead. The homer was Minor's 23rd of the season, just one away from tying Kate James for the record (24, 2013).

In the third inning, Butler put two runners in scoring position which set up Becca Schulte's two-run single up the middle. Two batters later, Darrianne Hale blasted a three-run home run to left field to put Butler up 6-0.

Hale ended the game with a two-out, two-run home run in the sixth. The sophomore now has 17 home runs on the season and tying Schulte for second-most on the team.

Barton managed to get five hits in the contest, but left 10 on base - including nine through the first four innings against starter Regan Mergele.

Mergele (22-0) tossed five shutout innings, giving up all five hits, walking three and striking out eight. Celina Sullivan pitched the sixth inning, allowing just one baserunner on a hit by pitch and had one strikeout.

Hale was the top Grizzly offensively, hitting 3-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored. Schulte was 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Minor scored two runs.

Game 2 - Butler 15, Barton 2 (5 innings)

Barton took a 2-0 lead in the opening frame when Andreana Reynolds clubbed a two-run home run to left field. The Grizzly deficit was the third time this season a Jayhawk Conference opponent has held a lead.

Butler quickly tied the game in the bottom-half of the inning. Becca Schulte scored on a Brynn Minor RBI double to right-center, which extended Minor's hitting streak to 30 games. Minor would then come home on a dropped fly ball in center hit by Darrianne Hale.

The Grizzlies took the lead in the second on a two-run double by Ki'Audra Hayter, which scored Celina Sullivan and Paige Pacher. Schulte would later hit an RBI single to right to drive in Hayter for a 5-2 lead.

Butler broke the contest open with an eight-run third inning. With no outs and the bases loaded, pinch runner Nykiah Hines scored from 3rd base on a dropped fly ball to right. Pacher followed with an RBI single to left to score Allison Jurgensen.

After a fielder's choice for the first out, Kenzie Young was hit with a pitch, allowing Celina Sullivan to score from 3rd. Schulte then hit a single through the left side to drive in a pair of runs to put Butler up 10-2. The Grizzlies would load the bases again in the inning for Jurgensen, who doubled to left to clear the bases.

Butler added two runs in the fourth on a Tamarah Mascher RBI double to center to score Reagan Wilson and a Schulte single to drive in Mascher.

Schulte had her third four-hit game of the season, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI. Jurgensen went 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Hayter scored two runs and drove in two.

Minor (8-0) threw four innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits, walking one and striking out five. Sullivan closed the game and gave up just one hit and struck out two.

NOTES: As of Monday, Butler ranks first among NJCAA Division I teams in batting average (.423), home runs (96), runs batted in (484), runs scored per game (11.3), on-base percentage (.494) and slugging percentage (.747). The Grizzlies are second in runs scored (519) and total bases (983), fourth in extra-base hits (210) and fifth in triples (24)... Butler finished 16-0 in regular season home games. The perfect home record marks the third time under head coach Doug Chance that the Grizzlies were undefeated at home... During her 30-game hitting streak, Minor is batting .589 (53-for-90) with 18 home runs, 59 runs batted in, 50 runs scored, 13 doubles and three triples. Despite going 3-for-7 in the doubleheader, Minor saw her batting average drop to .496 on the season... Schulte has hit safely in 24 of the last 25 games, hitting .552 (48-of-87) with 14 home runs, 57 RBI and 45 runs scored. Schulte ranks third in among NJCAA Division I hitters with 79 runs batted in. With four hits in the second game, the sophomore has six games with four hits or more in her Butler career... Mergele lowered her nation-best earned-run average to 0.50. The eight strikeouts marked the eighth time this season she has thrown eight or more.