Bulldogs Rally For A-10 Twinbill Split

Bulldogs Rally For A-10 Twinbill Split
Devin Dearing

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Senior Devin Dearing delivered a clutch double in the bottom of the eighth inning to cap a two-run rally and lift Butler to a 3-2 extra innings victory over visiting Fordham on Sunday (April 14).  The dramatic win gave the Bulldogs a split in the Atlantic 10 Conference doubleheader.

Dearing's hit, which drove in pinch-runner Devin Brierly with the game-winning run, gave pitcher Kristin Gutierrez a much deserved victory.  The freshman left-hander went the distance, holding a strong Fordham squad to two runs on six hits.  She retired the Rams in order through the first four innings and gave up just two hits through five.  She was nicked for single runs in the sixth and eighth frames.

"She's really throwing well right now, especially being a freshman against a very, very good hitting Fordham team," said Butler head coach Scott Hall of his first-year pitcher's performance.  "She did what we asked her to do, hit her spots.  She didn't go out and try to over-throw.  She just went out and executed our game plan and did it flawlessly."

The win, Butler's fifth in the past six games, lifted the Bulldogs to 17-19 on the season and 6-4 in the A-10.  It also boosted the Bulldogs to 8-1 at the Butler Softball Field.

Fordham (25-16, 9-5 A-10) captured the opener, 3-0, behind the shutout pitching of sophomore Michele Daubman.  The Fordham right-hander limited the Bulldogs to just six hits over seven innings.  The Rams scored three runs in the first two innings, including a lead-off home run by Jamie LaBovick.   

"That's a very good Fordham team that we battled and we were able to split with them.  It's more just confidence with us right now," added Hall.

Butler will continue its 12-game homestand with a conference doubleheader against Saint Louis on Tuesday (April 16).  The first game of the twinbill at the BU Softball Field will start at 3 p.m.

GAME 1 - Fordham 3, Butler 0

LaBovick opened the contest with a home run to left field and that proved to be the game-winner for Fordham.  The Rams, behind Daubman, blanked the Bulldogs over seven innings to capture the win.

LaBovick, who entered the contest with a 26-game hitting streak, added a pair of doubles to the Fordham attack.  Her first double sent Sammi Smith, who had been hit by a pitch, to third base, and Smith later scored on a single by Elise Fortier.  LaBovick scored the final run on a sacrifice fly by Gabby Luety.

That was more than enough run-support for Daubman.  She finished with three strikeouts and no walks, and she didn't allow a runner past first base over the final five innings.

Dearing and freshman Audrey East each had two hits to pace Butler's attack.  Junior Leah Bry, who entered the game in relief of starting pitcher Jenny Esparza, pitched five-and-two-thirds shutout innings, holding the Rams to just four hits.  She had four strikeouts and no walks.

GAME 2 - Butler 3, Fordham 2 (8 innings)

The Bulldogs, who had a 1-0 lead after five innings, found themselves in a come-from-behind situation in extra innings.

Fordham tied the game in the top of the sixth inning on LaBovick's second home run of the day, extending her conference-record hitting streak to 28 straight games.  LaBovick then scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth after reaching on a fielder's choice.  She came home on a double by Fortier.

Trailing 2-1, Butler opened the bottom of the eighth inning with an infield single by sophomore Kristen Boros.  East followed with a sharp single to left field, and when the ball was bobbled in the outfield, Boros continued running and scored the tying run.  Brierly entered the game as a pinch-runner, and Dearing followed with a blast off the left-center field wall to bring home the winning run.

Butler had taken the lead in the fourth inning on a double to left-center field by Krista Hakola and a run-scoring single by Maria Leichty.

Gutierrez, who pitched her second complete game in as many days, improved to 4-9 on the season.  She won for the third time in her last three outings.

East and Leichty led Butler's 10-hit attack with two hits each.