Butler Splits Twinbill At Eastern Illinois

CHARLESTON, ILL. -- Sophomore Leah Bry tossed a five-hit shutout to lead Butler to a 1-0 victory over host Eastern Illinois and a split in the non-conference doubleheader at Williams Field in Charleston, Ill.  The Panthers won the first game in nine innings, 2-1.

Both teams featured dominant pitching in the twinbill.  Three Butler pitchers combined to allow just 10 hits and two runs in 16 innings.  Two Eastern Illinois hurlers limited the Bulldogs to just seven hits and two runs.  There were 48 total strikeouts in the two contests.

The split left Butler at 6-20 on the season, while Eastern Illinois finished the day at 13-13.

The Bulldogs will return to action with another non-league contest at Michigan State on Thursday, March 29.

Game 1 - Eastern Illinois 2, Butler 1 (9 innings)
Hannah Cole singled with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the host Panthers to a come-from-behind win in the first game of the doubleheader.  The Panthers loaded the bases on two singles and a walk.

Butler broke up a scoreless deadlock in the top of the ninth.  Sophomore Meaghan Sullivan singled to left field and then stole second with two outs.  Senior Erin Falkenberry walked and senior Mallory Winters followed with an infield grounder that was misplayed by Eastern Illinois second baseman Carly Willert.  Sullivan scored the game's first run on the play.

The Bulldogs had just three hits off of Eastern Illinois starter Stephanie Maday (9-6), who struck out 15 Bulldogs in the nine-inning stint.  Freshman Kristen Boros had two of Butler's three hits.

Sophomore Jenny Esparza, returning from injury, started her first game for the Bulldogs since March 3.  She pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.  Senior Breanna Fisher pitched four innings in relief of Esparza, while Bry threw a third of an inning and took the loss.

Game 2 - Butler 1, Eastern Illinois 0
Bry stormed back from her first game setback with a dominant performance.  She scattered five hits over seven innings and allowed just one runner to advance beyond second base.  The second-year righthander had 13 strikeouts and no walks in the complete game effort.

Butler scored the game's only run in the top of the fourth on a double to left-center by senior Lauren McNulty.  Freshman Sarah Gronowski reached on a fielding error and advanced to second on a ground out by Sullivan.  McNulty then delivered the game-winning blow.

The Bulldogs managed just four hits off of Eastern Illinois starter Hanna Mennenga - singles by Gronowski, Boros and junior Kayla Gray and McNulty's double.