May 4, 2014

Bulldogs Fall In Season Finale

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler entered its final regular season game against DePaul with hopes of earning a berth in the upcoming BIG EAST Softball Championship.  Those hopes came to an end with a 13-1 loss to the league champ Blue Demons at the Butler Softball Field on Sunday, May 4.

The loss left Butler with a 10-10 conference record and a tie with Creighton for fourth place in the league standings.  The Blue Jays earned the fourth and final berth in the conference tournament by the tiebreaker of head-to-head competition with the Bulldogs.  Creighton beat Butler twice earlier this season.

DePaul (38-9, 18-1 BIG EAST) used two big innings to polish off Butler on Sunday.  The Blue Demons broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run rally in the fifth inning and then sealed the game with an eight-run rally in the sixth.  Seven different DePaul players hit safely in the two innings and ten different Blue Demons crossed the plate.

The first four innings of the game followed a similar script to the first two games of the series, low scoring and tightly contested.  DePaul took the first game of the series, 3-2, while Butler bounced back with a 4-2 decision in the second.  

DePaul took a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the series' finale on a double by Morgan Maize, a stolen base and a throwing error.

The Bulldogs tied the game an inning later on a leadoff home run by freshman Brandyce Sallee.  The towering shot over the left field fence was her third home run of the season.

DePaul then grabbed control in the fourth frame with four runs on four hits off of Butler starter Kristin Gutierrez.  The big blows in the inning were a two-run double by Dylan Christensen and a two-run single by Megan Coronado.

That rally was all that DePaul starter Kirsten Verdun needed.  The senior lefthander retired the final nine batters she faced, while improving to 28-5 on the season.  She allowed just three hits in the run-shortened game and  finished the contest with eight strikeouts.

Butler ends the season with a 24-28 record.  The Bulldogs made a strong run in the final six weeks of the campaign, winning 16 of their final 25 games.  Included in that stretch was a sweep of defending Ohio Valley Conference champ Eastern Illinois, a team that had already won more than 30 games this season, and Saturday's win over DePaul, which snapped the Blue Demon's 20-game winning streak.  Butler was the only BIG EAST team to defeat the Blue Demons during the regular season.