Butler unleashed 18 hits and scored nine runs, but it wasn't enough to overcome host UIC in the opening Horizon League doubleheader for both teams at Flames Field in Chicago, lll., on Saturday (March 21). The Flames won the opener, 5-4, and then captured the nightcap, 6-5, in nine innings.
UIC (7-17) came from behind to win both games. The host squad scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to grab the opener and then scored single runs in each of the last three innings to take the second game. Sophomore Whitney Orellana wound up as the winning pitcher in both contests.
The Bulldogs (6-13 grabbed a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning in the opener on a solo home run by freshman Erin Falkenberry and a run-scoring single by freshman Lauren McNulty. But the Flames responded in the bottom half of the inning with two runs on three hits, before shutting Butler down in the top of the seventh.
Butler had scored its first two runs in the game on solo home runs by senior Alex Boros and freshman Paige Ashton in the third and fourth innings. Freshman Breanna Fisher, who pitched five strong innings for the Bulldogs before surrendering the deciding runs in the sixth inning, was tagged with the loss.
The Bulldogs overcame a 3-0 deficit in the second game and eventually tied the game at 3-3 on run-scoring doubles by freshman Mallory Winters and junior Bridget Paine in the sixth inning. Butler then took a 4-3 lead in the seventh on a run-scoring double by Lindsay Schluge, before the Flames tied the score and sent the game into extra innings.
Butler went ahead again in the eighth inning when Falkenberry scored on an error, but the Flames answered in the bottom half of the inning. UIC then plated the game-winner against relief pitcher Kristen Malinkey in the bottom of the ninth on an error.
Winters had a pair of hits for the Bulldogs in the opener, while Ashton and Paine each contributed two hits in the nightcap.
The two teams will wrap up the three-game series with a single contest on Sunday, March 22.