The Butler softball team recovered from a pair of losses against IPFW, sweeping a three-game series against Horizon League opponent Detroit.
The Bulldogs (16-11, 4-1 HL) outscored the Titans (4-18, 0-6 HL) 28-7 during the three game series and dispatched Detroit, 11-1, in five innings in the second game of a doubleheader and the final game of the series.
“It was good to see us get the sweep,” head coach Scott Hall said. “The pitching staff did a good job and allowed us to get the offense going.”
Butler put several good swings on the ball against Detroit freshman Erin Huddleston, earning all 11 runs off the pitcher in as many hits.
Junior first baseman Erin Falkenberry, who recently earned the Horizon League Co-Player of the Week honors, nearly hit for the home run cycle, blasting a solo home run in the third inning, a two-run homer in the fourth inning and a three-run shot in the fifth.
“I was seeing the ball well,” Falkenberry said. “I’d been struggling the past few games so I would’ve been happy with any hits.”
Falkenberry went 3-for-3 in the contest with four runs and six RBIs. Junior right-fielder Jessica Huey also had a strong showing at the plate, going 2-for-4, turning in a run and two RBIs.
Sophomore Jenny Esparza allowed one run on one hit in a complete game performance for the Bulldogs.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, Butler tallied a pair of runs in each of the first three innings and survived a comeback bid from Detroit to top the Titans, 8-6.
Falkenberry opened the scoring for the Bulldogs with a two-run home run in the first inning. In the second inning, junior catcher Alyssa Coleman led off with a solo home run. Redshirt sophomore Kayla Gray scored the other run in that frame, coming home on a fielder’s choice hit by senior center fielder Erin Jackson.
Senior third baseman Lauren Ott singled home a pair of Butler players in the third inning to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 advantage.
The Titans didn’t go away, scoring single runs in the fourth and sixth innings and posting four runs in the fifth inning.
However, Butler scored a run in both the fourth and sixth innings to stave off the Detroit rally.
Falkenberry topped the scoring sheet again for the Bulldogs, going 3-for-4 with two home runs, three runs and three RBIs. For the Titans, freshman right-fielder Alyssa Gietl had a grand slam to drive home four of Detroit’s six runs.
In the series opener, Butler used the pitching tandem of senior Jennifer Chasteen and freshman Leah Bry to shut out the Titans, 9-0.
Chasteen started the game and got all of the support she needed, courtesy of a four-run second inning.
“I was just trying to throw hard and keep them off balance,” Chasteen said.
Chasteen allowed two hits over five scoreless frames while striking out five. Bry pitched the final inning of the game and allowed one hit with a strikeout.
“Jen was on,” Bry said. “She was doing well and they weren’t hitting anything.”
Falkenberry and junior left-fielder Lauren McNulty both had a pair of RBIs in the victory. Huey also had a good day at the plate, going 2-for-3, with two runs and an RBI.
“We work hard at hitting,” Hall said. “It would be scary to get our 3-4-5 hitters going together.”
On March 30, the Bulldogs lost 10-7 and 3-1 in a doubleheader against IPFW.
The Bulldogs will face four teams in 10 games throughout the upcoming week, starting with games at Dayton today and Notre Dame tomorrow. Butler will then head home to face off against conference foes Cleveland State and Valparaiso.