A pinch hit home run by Lindsay Schluge helped lift Butler to a 5-4 victory over visiting Minnesota in the opening game of a non-league doubleheader at Butler Softball Park on Thursday, March 19. Minnesota bounced back in the nightcap, 13-1.
Schluge, batting for junior Jen Arriaga, launched her first home run of the season to leadoff the bottom of the sixth inning. It gave Butler a 5-3 advantage and proved to be the decisive run when Minnesota posted a single tally in the top of the seventh inning.
The Bulldogs (6-11) managed just four hits off of Minnesota ace Briana Hassett, but turned those hits into five runs. Junior Bridget Paine drove in a pair of runs in the first inning with a double and junior Annie Dolan added a run-scoring single in the fifth inning. Freshman Lauren McNulty picked up the other RBI with a bases-loaded walk.
Fresham Breanna Fisher (2-5) pitched six strong innings for the Bulldogs, allowing just one earned run on seven hits. Junior Kristen Malinkey pitched the final inning of the game and picked up her second save of the season. Hassett took the loss and fell to 16-11 on the season.
Minnesota (17-18) scored 11 runs in the first three innings of the second game and pulled away to the 12-run victory in five innings. The Gophers pounded out 14 hits, including three by infielder Colleen Conway. Dolan had a double for the Bulldogs, while Paine, McNulty and freshman Erin Falkenberry each added a single.
The Bulldogs will begin Horizon League play on Saturday, March 21, with a doubleheader at UIC. The two league foes also will play a single game on Sunday, March 22.