February 19, 2011

Butler Loses Two Narrow Decisions In Mississippi

STARKVILLE, MISS. -- Butler picked up a pair of strong pitching performances, but came up on the short end of the score in two games at the 2011 Bulldog Round-Robin in Starkville, Miss., on Saturday (Feb. 19).  Louisiana Tech edged the Bulldogs, 3-2, in the first game, while host Mississippi State prevailed, 2-0, in the second.

“We played much better softball today,” said first-year head coach Scott Hall.  “Our pitching was solid, we only had four walks on the day.  But we still had too many errors, and we have to get our bats going.”

Butler fell in the first game in the seventh inning.  Louisiana Tech’s Molly Goza reached on a fielding error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a sacrifice bunt.  She then scored the eventual game-winner on an infield single by Cassie Krieg.

The Bulldogs (0-3) had tied the game, 2-2, in fifth inning on a solo home run by Jessica Huey and a run-scoring single by Kayla Gray.  Louisiana Tech had taken a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on the strength of three hits.

Freshman Lea Bry made her first collegiate start on the mound for the Bulldogs, and she allowed just two runs on five hits, while striking out four, in five innings of work.  Senior Jennifer Chasteen pitched the final two innings and took the loss, allowing one unearned run.

Mississippi State jumped in front in the first inning of the second game, scoring a single run on a walk and two Butler errors.  The score remained 1-0 until the sixth inning, when the home team scored on back-to-back doubles by Courtney Nesbit and Heidi Shape.

Butler’s Jenny Esparza allowed just three hits and no earned runs in six innings of work, but she suffered her second loss of the young season.  Mississippi State’s Kylie Vry went the distance on the mound and picked up the shutout, while allowing four hits.  Both pitchers recorded six strikeouts.

Devin Dearing had two of Butler’s four hits in the game, while Erin Falkenberry and Lauren McNulty each had one hit.

Butler will wrap up play in the four-team tournament against Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 20.