INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Sophomore Jenny Esparza picked up her 13th
win of the season and led Butler to a 4-3 extra-innings victory
over Youngstown State in the first game of the Bulldogs’
final home doubleheader of 2011 on Saturday, April 23. The
visiting Penguins took the second game at the Butler Softball
Field, 3-0, also in extra innings.
Esparza (13-5) had a no-hitter going through five-and-a-third innings and carried a 2-0 lead into the top of the sixth frame. But the Penguins broke through with three runs on two hits and two walks off the Butler righthander to grab a 3-2 lead.
The lead didn’t last long. Butler came right back in the bottom of the sixth inning on a walk to Lauren McNulty, a wild pitch, a sacrifice bunt by Erin Falkenberry and a run-scoring sacrifice bunt by Jessica Huey to tie the score at 3-3.
The Bulldogs then pulled out the victory in the bottom of the ninth inning. Mallory Winters led off with a single to left field and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Kayla Gray. After Alyssa Coleman lined out to center field, senior Erin Jackson hit a slow roller to pitcher Casey Crozier, who threw the ball past first baseman Vicky Rumpf allowing Winters to score the winning run.
Esparza, who recorded her fifth consecutive win, finished with 13 strikeouts, while giving up just four hits in the nine-inning stint. McNulty slugged her eighth home run of the season to give Butler a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, while Huey belted a pair of doubles in the victory.
Crozier and Butler senior Jennifer Chasteen locked up in a pitcher’s duel in the nightcap. Butler had just five hits off of Crozier, who pitched all eight innings and improved to 12-8 on the season. Chasteen allowed just six hits through seven innings, before giving up a pair of runs in the eighth.
Jordan Ingalls started the Penguins’ decisive rally with a one-out double to rightfield. She then scored the go-ahead run on a two-out single by Samantha Snodgrass. Junior Breanna Fisher replaced Chasteen (10-6) on the mound and the Penguins added two more runs on a double by Sarah Gabel and a single by Kristen Philen.
Butler managed just six baserunners off of Crozier and just one extra base hit, a one-out triple by freshman Callie Dennison in the fifth inning.
Prior to the game, the Bulldogs paid tribute to the three senior members of the squad - Lauren Ott, Jackson and Chasteen. The three have helped lead Butler to a school-record 105 wins over the past four seasons.
The Bulldogs (26-18) will play their final six regular season games on the road, beginning with a three-game series at Wright State that starts on Tuesday, April 26.
Butler's doubleheader against Youngstown State was the team's NFCA Strikeout Cancer Day, and the Bulldogs wore special pink uniforms in honor of the day.