Junior Erin Jackson capped a four-run rally with a game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning to help lead Butler to a 4-3 come-from behind victory over Horizon League foe Valparaiso in a single game at the Butler Softball Field on Wednesday (April 22). The dramatic win lifted the Bulldogs to 20-24 on the year and 9-9 in league play.
Butler's improbable seventh-inning rally started with an infield single by senior Alex Boros, just the second hit of the day for the Bulldogs. Junior Bridget Paine was hit by a pitch, and with one-out, freshman Alyssa Coleman laced a run-scoring double off the left field fence. Freshman Lauren McNulty hit a looping fly ball into right field that was caught by Valparaiso second baseman Sara Strickland, but Paine scored on the play.
Senior Lindsay Schluge then singled sharply to leftfield and junior Annie Dolan drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Jackson then followed with a soft line drive to left field that scored pinch-runner Jen Arriaga with the tying run and Schluge with the game-winner.
Jackson's decisive hit ended a game that all but belonged to the visiting Crusaders (23-18, 8-7 HL). Freshman righthander Sam McGee (9-4) blanked the Bulldogs on one bunt single through six innings. She retired 17 of the first 18 batters she faced, and she allowed just two base runners through the first six frames. The first-year pitcher had six strikeouts in the contest.
Valparaiso took a 2-0 lead off of Butler starter Breanna Fisher in the third inning. Pinch runner Jamie Weinburger stole home with the game's first run and Whitney Warner drove in the second with a single.
The visitors scored a third run in the fifth inning, ending Fisher's stint. Junior Kristen Malinkey pitched the final two and two-thirds innings in relief and wound up picking up her fourth win in nine decisions. Malinkey allowed just two hits and no runs.
Butler and Valparaiso will play a doubleheader at the Butler Softball Field on Thursday (April 23) to wrap-up the three-game league series. The first game is slated for 2 p.m.