Butler Earns NFCA Academic Recognition

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Eight Butler softball players earned individual recognition and the Bulldogs were honored as a team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) for academic achievement.  The eight players each were named NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes, and Butler was tabbed as a 2012-13 All-Academic Team.

Chosen as 2012-13 Scholar-Athletes by the NFCA were outfielders Sarah Gronowski and Cassie Rupel, infielders Meaghan Sullivan, Krista Hakola and Alex Kotter, catcher Maria Leichty and pitchers Jenny Esparza and Kristin Gutierrez.  To be named a Scholar-Athlete, players had to have a 3.5 grade point average or higher for the 2012-13 academic year.

Esparza, who was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Conference Team, finished her career as Butler's all-time leader in wins and strikeouts (789).  She also set Butler's all-time record with a 1.47 career earned run average.  Sullivan led the Bulldogs in hitting for a second consecutive year, posting a .362 average in 2013.

Gutierrez recorded seven wins in her first season with the Bulldogs last year, and she earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Rookie Team.  Leichty started all 46 games for Butler and batted .252, while Rupel batted .241 in 39 starts.  Hakola batted .269 in 40 games, while Kotter hit .286 in 11 contests.  Gronowski started 24 games and led the Bulldogs in stolen bases.

As a team, Butler compiled a 3.385 grade point average.  That ranked 29th in the NCAA Division I and was the top team GPA in the Atlantic 10 Conference.