McNulty Lifts Butler Past Green Bay

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Junior Lauren McNulty slugged a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to lift Butler to a 5-4 victory over visiting Green Bay and a sweep of the three-game Horizon League series that concluded at the Butler Softball Field on Sunday (April 17).  The win lifted Butler to 25-15 on the season and 11-3 in league play.

McNulty, who singled in her first two trips to the plate in the game, delivered the decisive blow off of Green Bay relief pitcher Ashley Nannemann, who carried a 4-3 lead to the mound in the fifth inning.  Sophomore Meaghan Sullivan opened the inning with a hard ground ball past Green Bay third baseman Danielle Peerenboom, and then McNulty deposited a one-two pitch from Nannemann over the left field wall.

Senior righthander Jennifer Chasteen came on in relief of Butler starter Jenny Esparza in the sixth inning and retired six of the seven batters she faced to earn her second save of the season.

Butler jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning on run-scoring singles by McNulty, junior Erin Falkenberry and junior Jessica Huey, all off of Green Bay starter Tieraney Planasch.  But the Phoenix tied the game in the fourth inning with three runs on three hits and a walk off of Esparza.

The Phoenix (15-15, 2-7 HL) then jumped in front in the top of the fifth inning on a double by Amanda Omahen, a walk to Sara Junion and a long fly ball that was caught by Huey in rightfield.  Omahen advanced to third after the catch and then scored when Butler shortstop Kayla Gray dropped a throw attempting to nail Junion at second base.

McNulty led the Bulldogs with three hits in three at-bats, three RBIs and two runs scored.  Five teammates also hit safely in the game.

Esparza, who blanked the Phoenix on one hit on Saturday (April 16), gave up four runs on eight hits in five innings of work, while improving to 12-5 on the year.  Green Bay’s first run in the fourth inning ended a string of 35 scoreless innings for the Butler righthander.

Butler will step out of conference play for a doubleheader at Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday, April 19.  The Bulldogs will return to the Butler Softball Field for their final home series of the 2011 campaign against Youngstown State on Friday and Saturday, April 22-23.  The games on Friday have been designated NFCA Strikeout Cancer Day, while the single game on Saturday will be Butler’s Alumni/Senior Day.