Bulldogs Split Doubleheader With Cleveland State

Bulldogs Split Doubleheader With Cleveland State

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Sophomore Jenny Esparza pitched a three-hitter and junior Lauren McNulty slugged her sixth home run of the season to lead Butler to a 3-1 victory over visiting Cleveland State in the first game of a Horizon League doubleheader on Saturday, April 9.  Cleveland State rebounded with a 6-0 victory in the second game at the Butler Softball Field.

Esparza was in control from the outset, retiring the first nine batters she faced.  She surrendered a single run in the fourth inning on a walk, a double by Cleveland State pitcher Tess Sito and a wild pitch, but the Butler righthander settled down and retired 11 of the final 14 batters she faced.

McNulty picked up the game-winning RBI in the first inning with a two-out solo blast over the leftfield wall.  The Bulldogs made it 2-0 in the third inning on back-to-back singles by senior Erin Jackson and sophomore Meaghan Sullivan and a run-scoring fielder’s choice by McNulty.

Butler (19-14, 5-2 Horizon League) scored its final run in the fifth inning on a walk to Jackson, a sacrifice bunt by Sullivan and junior Erin Falkenberry’s two-out double to rightfield.

Esparza finished with nine strikeouts and three walks, while improving to 7-5 on the season.  Sito went the distance for Cleveland State and fell to 15-11 on the year.

Junior Jessica Huey had two hits in two trips to the plate to pace Butler’s six-hit attack.

Sito bounced back in the second game and tossed a three-hit shutout at the Bulldogs.  She had five strikeouts and just one walk in the complete-game effort.

The Vikings (19-13, 4-4 HL) piled up 12 hits, including four by Gabby Gillilan, off of three Butler pitchers.  Senior Jennifer Chasteen took the loss and fell to 9-4 on the season.  The Bulldogs did get a strong relief performance from freshman Leah Bry, who blanked Cleveland State on two hits over the final four innings of the contest.

The two teams will close out their three-game league series at the Butler Softball Field on Sunday, April 10.  The single game will start at noon.