Butler Splits Two Games In Tennessee

Junior Leah Bry

NASHVILLE, TENN. -- Butler rebounded from a heart-breaking, 1-0, loss to IUPUI to post a convincing, 8-3, victory over Morgan State on the first day of the Tennessee State Tiger Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 23.  The victory was the Bulldogs' first of the young softball season.

Sophomore Maria Leichty led a 16-hit Butler attack with three hits and three runs batted in against Morgan State.  The Butler first baseman gave the Bulldogs the lead in the first inning with a two-run triple, and she added a run-scoring single in the fourth frame.  She had as many hits as the entire Morgan State team.

Senior Meaghan Sullivan, sophomore Sarah Gronowski and freshmen Alex Kotter and Riley Carter each added two hits to the Butler attack.

Senior right-hander Jenny Esparza allowed no hits and two runs in four innings of work, while picking up her first win of the season.  Freshman Kristin Gutierrez pitched the final three innings and earned her first collegiate save.

In the opener, IUPUI outfielder Jessica Lam hit a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to end the no-hit bid of Butler junior Leah Bry and saddle the Bulldogs with their sixth loss.

Bry, who locked in a pitcher's duel with IUPUI's Nikki Thomas, had eight strikeouts and just on walk in six and two-thirds innings of work.  She struck out the first two batters she faced in the seventh inning, before Lam launched her decisive shot over the left field fence.

Thomas had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning, when Leichty reached first base on a dropped third strike.  Devin Brierly came in to pinch-run and sophomore Kristin Boros followed with a single, the first hit of the game.  Lam cut down Brierly at third base on the play, and Thomas followed with a strikeout to end Butler's threat.

The single by Boros wound up as Butler's only hit in the contest.

The Bulldogs will conclude play in the tournament on Sunday (Feb. 24) with games against Bradley and host Tennessee State.