Visiting Youngstown State scored three times in the final three innings to grab a 6-5 Horizon League victory over Butler in the final game of a three-game series at the Butler Softball Field on Sunday (April 26). The game was Butler's final regular season contest and left the Bulldogs with a 23-26 overall record and a 12-11 league mark.
The Penguins (8-35, 4-16 HL), trailing 5-3 after four innings, tied the contest with single runs off of Butler relief pitcher Breanna Fisher in the fifth and sixth innings. The visitors then took the lead on a run-scoring single by Kristina Rendle in the top of the seventh.
Junior righthander Cheryl Cale (7-19), who started all three games of the series, gave up a two-out single to freshman Lauren McNulty in the bottom of the seventh, but then retired Alyssa Coleman on a fly ball to end the game. Cale left the game in the third inning, but returned to pitch the final five outs.
Butler jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an infield single by Paige Ashton, a double to leftfield by Alex Boros, a sacrifice fly by Bridget Paine and a run-scoring single by Erin Falkenberry.
The Penguins, who had dropped the first two games of the series, jumped on Butler starter Kristen Malinkey for three runs in the second inning, but the Bulldogs answered with three in the third.
Erin Jackson started the third inning rally with a bunt single and Ashton followed with a single to centerfield. Jackson stole home on the back end of an attempted double-steal, and Boros reached on a fielder's choice that eliminated Ashton. Paine recorded an infield single and Falkenberry came up with a run-scoring single to plate Boros. A two-out walk to Mallory Winters loaded the bases and Paine scored when Lindsay Schluge was hit by a pitch.
But relief pitcher Jordan Ingalls and Cale combined to blank the Bulldogs over the final four innings.
Ashton, Paine and Falkenberry each had three hits in the contest and the Bulldogs posted nine hits as a team. Youngstown State answered with 13 hits.
The Bulldogs will be off until hosting the Horizon League Tournament at Legends Field in Pendleton, Ind., May 7-9.