Bulldogs Roll Past Michigan State

EAST LANSING, MICH. -- Junior Jenny Esparza pitched four strong innings and helped lead visiting Butler to an 8-1 victory over Michigan State at Secchia Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., on Thursday, March 29.  It was the second straight road win for the Bulldogs, who will begin a three-game Horizon League series on Saturday (March 31).

Esparza (2-3), making just her second start since March 3rd, allowed just two hits and one run in her four-inning stint.  She had seven strikeouts and one walk, while recording her first victory since Feb. 26.

The Bulldogs (7-20) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back.  Butler added five runs in the third, and two more in the seventh to secure the victory.

Senior Lauren McNulty led off the second inning with a double and eventually scored the game's first run on a single down the right field line by Kristen Boros.  Both players also had a hand in Butler's five-run third.  McNulty had an infield single and scored a run in the big frame, while Boros had a run-scoring single.  Senior Erin Falkenberry, senior Alyssa Coleman and junior Kayla Gray each had RBI's in the inning, while junior Meaghan Sullivan scored on a passed ball.

Butler's final two runs came on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Callie Dennison and a run-scoring single by sophomore Krista Hakola.

Boros led Butler's 11-hit attack with a perfect four-for-four day.  Sullivan and McNulty each had a pair of hits in the contest.

Sophomore Leah Bry pitched the final three innings in relief of Esparza and blanked the Spartans (10-20) on three hits.

The Bulldogs will return to league play against Loyola at the Butler Softball Diamond on Saturday and Sunday, March 31-April 1.  The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. (ET), and a single game on Sunday, beginning at noon.