Softball shining in Orlando

The Butler softball team picked up its fifth win in two days by defeating Bucknell and Hartford yesterday at the Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla.

After starting the season 1-5, the Bulldogs (7-4) have won six of their last eight games.

Sophomore pitcher Jenny Esparza picked up the win for the Bulldogs against Bucknell (3-13), striking out 13 in five innings of work.

Her teammates gave her some early run support, scoring four runs in the first two innings.

In the first inning, Butler sophomore second baseman Meaghan Sullivan stole home to give the Bulldogs an early advantage. A few moments later, junior rightfielder Jessica Huey connected had a double to bring in junior first baseman Erin Falkenberry.

The Bulldogs offensive production continued the next inning and Butler led, 4-0, heading into the third.

Bucknell, the defending Patriot League champions, scored in the third inning to cut the deficit to three runs, but it would be the only run

Esparza would allow. Senior Jennifer Chasteen, who pitched a complete game Sunday in a win

against Colgate, closed out the game for the Bulldogs, sealing a 5-1 victory.

Esparza struck out 12 batters in Butler’s other Sunday victory, a 3-2 win against Manhattan. Her season record is currently 2-3.

Later Tuesday, the Bulldogs beat Hartford, 5-4, in eight innings.

Butler built a lead off a Falkenberry two-run shot in the third inning, but the Hawks tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. But in the top of the eighth, redshirt sophomore Kayla Gray drove in what would eventually be the game-winning run.

With senior outfielder Erin Jackson on second, senior third baseman Lauren Ott sacrifice bunted the runner to third. Gray then singled to left field, yielding the final 5-4 score.

Sullivan extended her strong Spring Break showing with three hits against the Hawks.

The Bulldogs have no games today but will play a pair on both Thursday (Akron; St. Peter’s) and Friday (Siena; Rider).

Following the conclusion of the Rebel Games, Butler will travel to Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday for a double-header with the Indiana Hoosiers (12-12).

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