Bulldogs Split With League Champ DePaul

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler rebounded from a narrow first-game setback to defeat DePaul, 4-2, in the second game of a BIG EAST doubleheader at the Butler Softball Field on Saturday, May 3.  With the win, Butler became the first conference team to beat the Blue Demons, who have already clinched the BIG EAST title.

The day began with a tribute to Butler's four senior team members, Krista Hakola, Callie Dennison, Megan Gray and Leah Bry.  It ended with one of the Bulldogs' most complete game performances of the season.

"I can't ask for anything more," said Butler head coach Scott Hall after the Bulldogs' stunning win.  "It was a complete team win.  Great pitching, great defense, timely hitting.  That's what we've worked for all year and it all came together in that last game."

The pitching came from Dennison and sophomore Kristin Gutierrez.  Dennison, making just her fifth career start, allowed just two runs on three hits, before giving way to Gutierrez in the fifth inning.  Gutierrez blanked the Blue Demons on two hits over the final three frames.

Dennison improved to 3-0 in the circle, while Gutierrez picked up her second save of the season.

The timely hitting came in the third inning, when the Bulldogs recorded five of their eight hits and scored three of their four runs.  Freshman Brandyce Sallee started the rally with a one-out double to left field, and junior Cassie Rupel followed with a run-scoring single.

Junior Kristen Boros plated Rupel with a two-out double, and freshman Chelsea drove in the eventual game-winner with a single to right field.

Sophomore Alex Kotter drove in the final run with a two-out infield single in the fourth inning.

The defense was steady throughout.  The Bulldogs turned in an errorless game and recorded 18 of 21 putouts in the field.  Hakola led the way with 10 putouts and one assist.

Norwood led Butler's attack with a pair of hits, while Sallee scored two of the Bulldogs' four runs.

The Butler win snapped DePaul's 20-game winning streak (17 straight in the BIG EAST), and lifted the Bulldogs to 23-27 on the season and 9-9 in the BIG EAST.

DePaul (38-9, 17-1 BIG EAST) survived a late Butler charge to capture a 3-2 victory in the opening game of the series.  Kotter started the Bulldogs' seventh inning rally with a one-out infield single.  She advanced to second and Boros reached first on a DePaul error, and both runners scored on a double to left field by Norwood.

But the Blue Demons ended the threat with the tying run on second base.

DePaul jumped to a lead in the first inning against Gutierrez with two runs on two hits and two walks.  The Blue Demons stretched the margin to 3-0 with a single run on two hits in the third.

Gutierrez allowed just five hits in the game and blanked the Blue Demons over the final four innings, but fell to 14-12 on the season.

DePaul starter Kirsten Verdun gave up four hits and improved to 27-5 on the year.

The two teams will close out the series with a single game at the Butler Softball Field on Sunday, May 4.  The final regular season game for both teams will start at noon.