Butler Splits Twinbill With Valparaiso

Butler Splits Twinbill With Valparaiso

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Sophomore Jenny Esparza tossed a three-hit shutout and led Butler to a 2-0 victory over Horizon League foe Valparaiso in the first game of a doubleheader at the Butler Softball Field on Tuesday, April 12.  The visiting Crusaders rebounded in the second game with a 7-1 win.

Esparza, the reigning Horizon League Pitcher of the Week, recorded 12 strikeouts and walked just three in her complete-game effort.  She allowed just three singles in the game and didn’t give up a hit after the third inning.  It was the third consecutive win for the Butler righthander, who improved to 9-5 on the season.  She was coming off a 16-inning performance against Cleveland State on Sunday (April 10).

The Bulldogs (21-15, 7-3 Horizon League) ended the pitchers’ duel between Esparza and Valparaiso’s Alex Lagesse with a single run in the fifth inning.  Senior Erin Jackson came up with a two-out single to leftfield, and then stole second base.  Sophomore Meaghan Sullivan was hit by a pitch and junior Lauren McNulty followed with a run-scoring single to rightfield, ending the scoreless deadlock.

Butler tallied a second run in the sixth inning when pinch runner Krista Hakola scored from first base on a throwing error by Valparaiso catcher Jordan Rutkowski.

Lagesse (8-9), who allowed just four hits in the game, finished with three strikeouts and four walks in her six-inning stint.

The Crusaders (23-16-1, 6-5 HL) jumped in front in the nightcap with three unearned runs off of Butler starter Breanna Fisher (3-3) in third inning.  The visitors added four more in the seventh inning, capped by KC Boldt’s three-run home run to centerfield.

Butler scored it lone run in the bottom of the third inning on singles by Jackson and McNulty and a run-scoring single by junior Erin Falkenberry, who had two hits in two official trips to the plate in the game.

The Bulldogs managed six hits off of Valparaiso starter Sam McGee, who improved to 12-5 with her complete game performance.

The two teams will conclude their three-game league series at the Butler Softball Field on Wednesday, April 13.  The single game will start at 3 p.m.