Bulldogs Split League Doubleheader

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler began the day with a strong offensive punch.  UIC countered with a similar offensive output to close the afternoon and the two Horizon League teams wound up splitting a doubleheader at the Butler Softball Field on Saturday, April 5.  The Bulldogs captured the series, 2-1.

Butler unleashed nine hits and nine runs in five innings to roll past the visiting Flames, 9-0, in a run-shortened contest to open the twinbill.  It was the fifth straight win for the Bulldogs, and the team's eighth victory in nine outings.

UIC came back with eight runs on 12 hits in the nightcap and survived a late Butler rally to claim the victory, 8-4.  The Bulldogs had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.

The split moved Butler to 13-22 on the season and 5-4 in the Horizon League.  UIC finished the day at 16-19 and 3-3 in league play.  The Bulldogs will return to action with a non-league doubleheader at Morehead State on Tuesday, 10.

Game 1 - Butler 9, UIC 0 (5 innings)
Senior Erin Falkenberry sparked Butler's nine-hit attack with a pair of doubles and three runs batted in.  She was one of three Butler players to record a pair of hits in the run-shortened contest.

The Bulldogs provided starting pitcher Jenny Esparza with a three-run cushion in the first inning.  Freshman Kristen Boros started the rally with a double off the left field fence, and she advanced to third on a throwing error by UIC leftfielder Courtney Heeley.  Junior Meaghan Sullivan drew a walk and senior Lauren McNulty followed with a bunt that plated the first run when Boros beat the throw to the plate.

The Bulldogs scored their second run when Sullivan and McNulty executed a double-steal, and UIC catcher Teresa Aguilar threw the ball past third baseman Jenna Marsalli allowing Sullivan to score.  Senior Mallory Winters followed with a single up the middle to score McNulty.

Butler added a single run in the third inning on a single by Boros and Falkenberry's double to centerfield.  The Bulldogs then settled the decision with a five-run rally in the fourth inning, highlighted by Falkenberry's two-run double to leftfield.

Esparza blanked the Flames on three hits through five innings.  The Butler righthander had five strikeouts and just two walks, while improving to 6-3 on the season.

Boros finished with two hits and a walk and three runs scored, while Winters added a pair of hits and three RBIs.  Sullivan and McNulty each scored a pair of runs.

Game 2 - UIC 8, Butler 4
The Flames jumped on Butler starter Leah Bry with three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning and never relinquished the lead.  But the visitors did survive a scare in the final frame.

Trailing 8-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Butler loaded the bases with one out on three walks.  Pinch-hitter Carrie Tveita then knocked in Butler's third run with a sacrifice fly and Mallory Winters followed with a single to re-load the bases.  A walk to Kayla Gray made it 8-4 and brought Callie Dennison to the plate with the tying run.

Dennison hit a sharp grounder to shortstop, but the Flames made the play and retired her at first base for the final out.

The Bulldogs managed just five hits off of UIC pitchers Devin Miller and Ashley Hewett, but one was a two-run double by Lauren McNulty.  The Butler senior had two hits, scored three runs and drove in three runs in the doubleheader.  Winters had three hits and drove in three runs in the two games.