Softball: Esparza records 3 victories in 4 games

The Butler softball team was one inning away from sweeping its three-game homestand against Loyola of Chicago last weekend.

Photo by Rachel Anderson

The Bulldogs (9-21, 3-3) were unable to accomplish the feat, though, and finished the weekend with two victories.

In the first game against the Ramblers (10-14, 3-3), junior pitcher Jenny Esparza made her first start at home and led Butler to a 2-0 win.

Esparza, who was later named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Week, fired a three-hit shutout, finishing with seven strikeouts and one walk.

Butler recorded only four hits in the contest, but they proved to be enough. Junior first baseman Meaghan Sullivan had two hits, and RBI were recorded by senior centerfielder Lauren McNulty and shortstop Kayla Gray.

In the second game of the series, Loyola staged a fifth-inning comeback to defeat Butler 5-4.

McNulty hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage.

Butler increased its lead in the bottom of the third inning with a run-scoring double by Sullivan, who later scored on a sacrifice bunt by McNulty.

Errors cost the Bulldogs though.

Two defensive miscues in the top of the fifth inning led to a two-out grand slam by Loyola sophomore first baseman Lauren Zaworski.

Butler sophomore pitcher Leah Bry took the loss for the Bulldogs despite not allowing an earned run in five innings of work.

In the rubber game of the series, Butler defeated Loyola 4-0.

The Bulldogs took advantage of a fielding error and two walks to get on the board in the bottom of the first inning.

They extended their lead with an RBI double by Gray in the bottom of the fourth inning and a two-run double by senior right fielder Jessica Huey in the fifth inning.

Esparza started the game for Butler and recorded another victory. She finished with five strikeouts and allowed two hits in four innings of work.

Senior pitcher Breanna Fisher came on in relief of Esparza and scored a save.

The conference games against Loyola followed an 8-1 victory over Michigan State last Thursday.

Esparza pitched four innings and earned what would be the first of three consecutive victories.

Butler is taking on Indiana State in a doubleheader today and will host Illinois-Chicago for three games this weekend.


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