Bulldogs Sweep Doubleheader From Eastern Illinois

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler used two complete-game pitching performances and a pair of game-winning home runs to sweep two games from visiting Eastern Illinois in a non-league doubleheader at the Butler Softball Field on Thursday (April 8).  The Bulldogs, continuing a record-setting season, won the opener, 5-2, and then captured the nightcap, 4-0.

Sophomore Alyssa Coleman, in the game as a pinch-hitter, slugged a three-run, walk-off home run to provide the winning margin in the opener.  It was her second home run of the season.

Senior Annie Dolan clubbed a two-run, home run in the third inning of the second game to tally the first two runs of the contest and give Butler the lead for good.  Dolan’s round-tripper was her second of the season.

The two long balls proved to be all that Butler’s pitching staff needed.

Sophomore Breanna Fisher went the distance in the opener, allowing just one earned run on three hits.  She had eight strikeouts and just three walks in her stint.  The Butler righthander surrendered two runs on one hit in the second inning and then blanked the Panthers over the final five innings.

Freshman Jenny Esparza was even better in the nightcap!  She blanked the Panthers on two hits and allowed just five base runners in the entire game.  The first-year hurler didn’t allow a hit through the first five innings, and she finished with 10 strikeouts and just three walks.

Eastern Illinois (17-16) struck first in the opener with two runs off of Fisher in the top of the second inning.  But the Bulldogs bounced right back in the bottom half of the inning on a double by Lauren McNulty and a long home run over the centerfield fence by Erin Falkenberry.  The score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh inning when singles by Mallory Winters and Erin Jackson preceded Coleman’s game-winning blow.

Dolan gave Esparza all the support she needed in the second game, but the Bulldogs added insurance runs in the fourth and fifth innings.  Jen Arriaga, pinch-running for Devin Dearing, scored on a passed ball in the fourth frame, while Bridget Paine crossed home plate in the fifth on the second half of a double steal with Falkenberry.

The two wins lifted Butler to 29-8 on the season.  The 29 wins are a school record.

Butler will return to Horizon League play with a three-game series against UIC on Saturday and Sunday, April 10-11.  The first game on Saturday starts at 1 p.m. (ET) at the Butler Softball Field.