Bulldogs Fall Twice At Cleveland State

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Host Cleveland State used its final at bat to break up two classic pitching duels and sweep Butler in a key Horizon League doubleheader at Viking Field on Saturday (April 24).  The first place Vikings captured the opener, 1-0, and then took the nightcap, 4-1.

Butler freshman standout Jenny Esparza and Cleveland State ace Amanda Macenko when head-to-head on the mound in both games.  Esparza (17-6), who took both losses, allowed just six hits and three runs in 11-and-a-third innings of work.  Macenko, who improved to 29-11 with a pair of wins, gave up nine hits and just one run in 14 innings!

Esparza was the story in the opener, blanking the Vikings on no hits through six innings.  But she opened the bottom of the seventh inning in the scoreless deadlock with a walk to Cleveland State’s Tess Sito, who then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.  With one out, Sito scored on an infield single by Lia Gordon to give the Vikings the win.

The Bulldogs (35-13, 11-7) managed seven hits off of Macenko, including two by sophomore Erin Falkenberry, but couldn’t push across a run.  Cleveland State didn’t allow a Butler runner to reach third base.

Butler did strike first in the second game, taking a 1-0 lead off of Macenko in the top of the first inning.  Meaghan Sullivan reached on an error to start the inning, and Annie Dolan was hit by a pitch to give the Bulldogs runners on first and second.  With one out, Lauren McNulty singled to centerfield to plate Sullivan, but Macenko retired the next to batters to end the threat.

Cleveland State (35-11, 15-2 HL) tied the game with a single run off of Esparza in the fourth inning and then took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Dara Toman’s two-run, home run off of relief pitcher Jennifer Chasteen sparked the winning rally.

Macenko allowed just two hits in the night cap, while striking out 14 Bulldogs.

The two teams will close out their three-game series at Viking Field on Sunday, April 25.