Butler Captures Conference Doubleheader

Butler Captures Conference Doubleheader
Kristen Boros

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler used an offensive explosion in the first game and two solid pitching performances to sweep a doubleheader from visiting La Salle on Saturday, April 13.  The Bulldogs captured the first game, 15-1 in five innings and then completed the sweep of their Atlantic 10 Conference foe with a 2-0 decision in the second contest.

Sophomores Megan Gray and Kristen Boros powered the Bulldogs to a season-high 15 runs in the opener at a cold and blustery Butler Softball Field.  Gray hit two home runs into the teeth of an an 18 mile-per-hour wind and drove in four runs, while Boros added a three-run shot in the victory.

Boros provided all the run support Butler needed in the second contest with her second home run of the day, a two-run blast to left field.

The solid run support was more than enough for Butler's pitchers, who limited La Salle to just seven total hits on the day.  Senior Jenny Esparza and freshman Taylor Lockwood combined to hold La Salle to a single run in the opener, while freshman Kristin Gutierrez blanked the Explorers in the second.

"I can't say enough about them," Butler head coach Scott Hall noted of his team's pitchers.  "They're coming in and doing what we ask them to do, hit their spots and let their defense help them.  They're just getting better every outing."

The two wins stretched Butler's current winning streak to four in a row and boosted the Bulldogs to 16-18 on the season and 5-3 in the A-10.  La Salle fell to 13-20 overall and 2-10 in conference.

'We're continuing to put pressure on ourselves to play hard, to play the game the way it's supposed to be played and execute," said Hall.  "We came out today and really did that."

The Bulldogs will continue with their current homestand with a doubleheader against A-10 opponent Fordham on Sunday, April 14.  The first game will start at noon.

GAME 1 - Butler 15, La Salle 1

Butler jumped on starting pitcher Alicia Aughton for ten runs in the first inning and then cruised to the victory in five innings.  The Bulldogs had 12 hits in the run-shortened game and took advantage of three La Salle errors.

Krosley Ogden had two hits, scored two runs and drove in two runs in the opening frame, while Cassie Rupel added a pair of hits and scored one run.  Boros capped the early explosion with a three-run shot over the left-center field fence in her second at-bat of the opening frame.  Butler sent 13 batters to the plate and all nine players in Butler's lineup scored at least one run in the rally.

All that was left was for Butler's pitchers to hold La Salle in check, and they did just that.  Esparza allowed one run on two hits, while striking out eight in two-and-a-third innings of work.  Lockwood came on and blanked the Explorers on two hits in two-and-two-thirds innings.  She had two strikeouts and allowed just one walk, while picking up the win.

Gray and Boros joined Ogden and Rupel with two hits in the game, while Sarah Gronowski scored three runs.
GAME 2 - Butler 2, La Salle 0

Gutierrez was in charge from the start, allowing just two base runners in the first four innings.  She retired seven of the first eight batters she faced and 21 of 26 batters on the afternoon, while recording her second career shutout.  She allowed only one La Salle runner to advance as far as second base.

Boros delivered the game-winner in the first inning.  She followed a single by Rupel with her sixth home run of the season, and that wound up being the only tallies of the game.

Gutierrez allowed just three singles in the contest.  She stuck out four and walked two, while picking up her fourth win of the season.

Butler managed just five hits off of La Salle starter Mary Cate Scott, who finished with four strikeouts and one walk, but three of the Bulldogs' hits came in the decisive first inning.