Softball struggles in Nashville

The Butler softball team’s performance at the plate during last weekend’s Lady Bison Classic was much like the weather—cold.

The Bulldogs (2-5) scored five runs and hit 12-for-70 (.171) as a team during the three-day tournament, hosted by Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

The Bulldogs played three games: two on Friday against host Lipscomb and Appalachian State and one on Sunday against Eastern Illinois.

After a six-hour bus ride that started at 4 a.m., Butler ran right on to the field to play Lipscomb and lost 2-0.

Junior infielder Lauren McNulty had the Bulldogs’ only hit of the game.

“[Lipscomb sophomore pitcher Whitney] Kiihnl had a great game,” McNulty said. “We swung at balls we shouldn’t have and we just didn’t have a good game plan.”

Kiihnl pitched all seven innings, striking out 14 batters en route to her sixth win of the season.

However, the Butler defense held the Bison lineup to just two runs, something that junior catcher Mallory Winters said she was pleased with.

“They got great pitching from Kiihnl, but I thought our defense was outstanding,” Winters said.

The game versus Appalachian State later in the day was a much better showing for the Bulldogs.

Senior Jennifer Chasteen pitched a complete game and allowed six hits in a 5-0 Butler victory.

Senior lead-off hitter and outfielder Erin Jackson scored two runs, and McNulty had three RBIs on two hits.

“I thought we had really good pitching and timely hitting from the entire lineup,” McNulty said. “It was a much better showing than the first game.”

Winters echoed McNulty’s comments.

“I just thought our game plan was a lot better than the first game,” she said. “We just need to keep working on the little things and keep getting better.”

After having the day off on Saturday because of weather, the women were back on the field Sunday for their final game of the weekend against Eastern Illinois.

The Bulldogs have split games with EIU the last two years, but fell this season, 2-1, after a good pitching performance from EIU freshman Stephanie Maday.

“We got in a hole early and couldn’t dig ourselves out of it,” Butler head coach Scott Hall said. “We need to re-tool our thinking a little bit at the plate.”

Maday held the Bulldogs to four hits and pitched all seven innings. Butler freshman pitcher Leah Bry took the loss, giving up four runs in less than two innings of work.

The Bulldogs will look to rebound Sunday, when they start a 10-game schedule at the Rebel Games in Florida during spring break.

“We went undefeated down there last year, and we should go undefeated again,” McNulty said.

Hall said his team will need to be disciplined, yet aggressive at the plate to win more games.

“Last weekend, we swung at pitches we shouldn’t have and let good pitches go right past us,” Hall said. “We need to figure out what we can swing at and start making plays.”