May 4, 2013

Bulldogs Complete Sweep Of Massachusetts

AMHERST, MASS. -- Senior Jenny Esparza and freshman Kristin Gutierrez combined on a one-hit shutout and Butler completed a sweep of defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion Massachusetts with a 2-0 victory on Saturday (May 4).  The road win at Sortino Field lifted the Bulldogs to 9-9 in conference play.

Esparza, who picked up a complete-game victory over the Minutewomen on Friday, continued to be sharp for the Bulldogs.  The Butler righthander allowed just one hit in five innings of work, while striking out seven.

Gutierrez, who came on in the sixth inning with the go-ahead run at the plate, pitched two shutout innings to pick up her second save of the season.  She retired the first four batters she faced, and then she completed her stint by getting Quianna Diaz-Patterson to ground into a game-ending double play.

The Bulldogs (20-24) broke a scoreless deadlock in the top of the fifth inning.  Cassie Rupel, batting for Devin Brierly, started the inning with a single down the left field line.  Brierly re-entered the game and advanced to second base on a wild pitch.  Walks to Sarah Gronowski and Krosley Ogden loaded the bases, and Brierly came home with the game's first run on a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Meaghan Sullivan.

Butler then added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Maria Leichty reached on a fielding error and stole second.  Callie Dennison came in to pinch-run, and she advanced to third on Devin Dearing's sacrifice bunt.  Riley Carter followed with an infield single to score Dennison.

Esparza improved to 6-5 on the season with the win, while Caroline Raymond was tagged with a loss for the second straight day and fell to 14-13 overall.  Rupel, Carter, Dearing and Kristen Boros each had hits for the Bulldogs.  

Massachusetts (17-24, 11-9 A-10) picked up its lone hit in the game on a lead-off double by Katie Bettencourt in the fourth inning.  Bettencourt eventually reached third base, but Esparza ended the threat by retiring the final three batters she faced in the inning.

Butler will close out the 2013 regular season with a doubleheader at Rhode Island on Sunday, May 5.  The first game of the twinbill will start at noon (ET).