Bulldogs Capture League Win In 16 Innings

Bulldogs Capture League Win In 16 Innings

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Junior Erin Falkenberry drove in the game-winning run with a one-out single in the bottom of the 16th inning, lifting the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory over visiting Cleveland State and ending the longest game in Butler softball history!  The win at the Butler Softball Field on Sunday (April 10) boosted the Bulldogs to 20-14 on the season and 6-2 in the Horizon League.

Falkenberry’s clutch hit ended a superb pitching duel between Butler’s Jenny Esparza and Cleveland State’s Tess Sito.  Both righthanders went the distance, and both were dominant when their teams needed them most.  Esparza (8-5) allowed 10 hits and one unearned run in her stint, while striking out nine.  Sito, who pitched nearly 30 innings in the three-game series, gave up 14 hits, while striking out 11.

Senior Erin Jackson opened the bottom of the 16th inning with an infield single, and she advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Meaghan Sullivan.  Junior Lauren McNulty followed with an infield single, sending Jackson to third base, and then Falkenberry delivered a line drive to leftfield to plate Jackson with the winning run.

Butler struck first in the game, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning.  Sullivan came up with a one-out infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch.  One out later, she scored on Falkenberry’s line drive single to rightfield.

The Vikings (19-14, 4-5 Horizon League) tied the game in the fifth inning when Sito reached on a two-out error and then scored on a double by Jessica Burt.

Cleveland State loaded the bases with two outs in the 11th inning, but Esparza struck out Gabby Gillilan to end the threat.  Butler also had the bases loaded in the 11th, but Falkenberry struck out to end the inning.  Butler left 19 runners on base in the game, while Cleveland State stranded 18.

Falkenberry led Butler’s 14-hit attack with four hits in seven trips to the plate, while Sullivan added three hits in seven trips.  Sullivan and junior Alyssa Coleman each had a double for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs, who took two out of three games from Cleveland State, will continue their current nine-game homestand with a doubleheader against Valparaiso on Tuesday, April 12.  The first game at the Butler Softball Field will start at 3 p.m.