Bulldogs Beat League-Leading Valparaiso
VALPARAISO, IND. -- Senior Alyssa Coleman drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and relief pitcher Leah Bry finished with four shutout innings to help lift Butler to a 5-4 victory over league-leading Valparaiso in the final game of a three-game Horizon League series at the VU Softball Field on Thursday, April 26. It was just the third league setback for the Crusaders this season.
Coleman came on to pinch hit in the top of the sixth inning with two outs, teammate Megan Gray on third base and the score tied, 4-4. She delivered a single up the middle to drive in Gray and give Butler its first lead since the first inning. It was Coleman's seventh run batted in this season.
The one-run lead was all that Bry needed. The sophomore right-hander struck out two of the three batters she faced in the bottom of the sixth inning and then fanned two of four Crusaders in the seventh to end the game. In five-and-two-thirds innings of relief work, Bry allowed just one run and three hits, while striking out seven.
The Bulldogs (21-29, 11-10 HL), who dropped the first two games of the series, jumped in front with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Freshman Kristen Boros, who reached base on a walk, scored the first run on a Valparaiso throwing error, while sophomore Meaghan Sullivan, who had a one-out single, came home on a sacrifice fly by outfielder Lauren McNulty.
But the Crusaders (33-13, 15-3 HL) came right back with three runs off of Butler starter Breanna Fisher in the bottom of the second inning. The home squad added a fourth run on a leadoff home run by Jordan Rutkowski in the third inning.
Butler tied the game in the fifth inning on a single by Callie Dennison, a run-scoring double by Boros and a run-scoring single by McNulty, setting the stage for Coleman's game-winner.
Eight different players contributed to Butler's eight-hit attack off of Valparaiso pitchers Alex Lagesse and Sam McGee. Lagesse allowed the first four Butler runs, while McGee (12-4) was the victim of the decisive run.
Butler will wrap up the regular season with a three-game road trip to Cleveland State on Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29.