Bulldogs Sweep Morehead State

Maria Leichty

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Sophomore Megan Gray delivered a two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Butler a 7-6 victory and a two-game sweep over visiting Morehead State at the Butler Softball Field on Wednesday (April 10).  The two wins opened a 12-game homestand for the Bulldogs.

Gray's clutch hit capped Butler's second come-from-behind victory of the day.  The Bulldogs claimed the opener in the non-conference twinbill, 6-3, after trailing 3-2 through three innings.

Head coach Scott Hall noted his squad's resilient effort after the second win.

"Our challenge was not to win, but to have nothing left on the field," said Hall.  "Today, the effort was there."

The Bulldogs, whose offensive effort included a five-run first inning in the nightcap, were fueled by strong pitching performances from the freshman duo of Taylor Lockwood and Sid Gutierrez.  The two first-year hurlers combined to limit Morehead State to just three runs over 10 innings in the two contests.

"They came out and threw lights-out," praised Hall of his rookie hurlers.

The two wins lifted Butler to 14-18 on the year and 5-0 at home.  The Bulldogs will continue their stretch of home games against La Salle with a pair of Atlantic 10 Conference games on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13.  The Friday contest will start at 3 p.m.

GAME 1 - Butler 6, Morehead State 3

Butler rallied from a 3-2 deficit with two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth to grab the lead and Lockwood kept the Bulldogs on top with a strong relief pitching performance.

A single by Carrie Tvieta and a Morehead State throwing error brought home two runs in the fourth inning to give Butler a 4-3 lead.  The Bulldogs then padded that margin on a two-run single by sophomore Maria Leichty in the fifth.

That was more than enough for Lockwood, who blanked the Eagles on two hits over the final three innings.  She earned her first collegiate save with the effort.

Senior Jenny Esparza pitched the first four innings for the Bulldogs and improved to 4-2 on the year.  She allowed two earned runs, while striking out five.

Leichty and sophomore Kristin Boros each had a pair of hits to pace the Bulldogs' seven-hit attack.  Boros scored a pair of runs.

GAME 2 - Butler 7, Morehead State 6

Gray's clutch hit capped off a contest that saw Butler overcome an early 3-0 deficit, before responding to a late Morehead State comeback and a 30-minute lightning delay.

The Bulldogs held a 6-5 lead through five innings, when the field was cleared because of lightning in the area.  When the teams returned, Morehead State tied the game with a single run in the top of the sixth.

That set the stage for Gray's heroics.  Leichty led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk, and she advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Krista Hakola.  With two outs, Gray came on to pinch hit and came through with a sharp single to centerfield to plate Leichty with the game-winner.

The Eagles jumped to a 3-0 lead off of Butler starter Leah Bry, before Gutierrez came on to stop the rally.  Butler answered with five runs in the bottom of the first inning on the strength of four hits and two Morehead State errors, and Krosley Ogden made it 6-3 with a run-scoring single in the third inning.

Morehead State countered with a pair of runs in the fourth inning.

Gutierrez allowed just three runs on six hits in seven innings of work.  She had five strikeouts and two walks, while picking up her third career win.

Ogden paced Butler's offense with a pair of hits.