May 4, 2009
Butler, seeded fifth, will play No. 8 seed Youngstown State in the first round of the 2009 Horizon League Softball Championship on Thursday, May 7, in Pendleton, Ind. The nine-team tournament, hosted by the Bulldogs, will be played at Legends Field at Pendleton Heights High School.
Tournament action will begin at 9 a.m. (ET) on May 7 with a game between No. 6 Valparaiso (24-22, 9-11 Horizon League) and No. 7 Green Bay (18-23, 7-13). The Butler (23-26, 12-11)-Youngstown State (8-40, 4-19) game is slated to begin at 11 a.m., followed by a 1 p.m. contest between No. 4 Loyola (26-22, 14-10) and #9 Detroit (7-40, 3-17).
Top-seeded UIC (24-24, 16-4) will face the winner of the Valparaiso-Green Bay game at 4 p.m. on Thursday, while No. 2 seed Cleveland State (31-15, 17-5) will meet the winner of the Butler-Youngstown State game at 6 p.m. No. 3 seed and two-time defending champ Wright State (32-19, 16-8) will play the winner of the Loyola-Detroit game at 8 p.m.
The double-elimination tournament will continue with six games on Friday, May 8, and four games on Saturday, May 9. If the team advancing through the winners' bracket falls in the championship game, scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, a second title contest will be played on Sunday, May 10, at 9 a.m. The winner of the Horizon League Championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship.
The Bulldogs, who won 10 of their final 14 regular season games, will be meeting Youngstown State for the fourth straight time this year. Butler ended the regular season at home on April 25-26 with a three-game series against the Penguins. Head coach Jeanne Rayman's squad captured the first two games of the series, before falling, 6-5, in the final game.
Butler enters the Horizon League Championship as one of the top power-hitting teams in the league. The Bulldogs rank third in the league in home runs with a school-record 32 this season, and Butler freshman Erin Falkenberry, a former Pendleton Heights High School standout, ranks second in the league with a school-record 10 home runs. Junior Bridget Paine has hit five home runs this season, while senior Alex Boros has added four.
An all-tournament pass for the Horizon League Championship is
available for $20, while a single day pass is $8. Senior citizens
and students age 12 through high school can purchase a tournament
pass for $15 or a single day pass for $5. Horizon League students
(with a valid ID) and children under 12 are free.