Butler baseball split a home doubleheader against second-place Colby on Friday at McDonald Stadium.
Behind a first-inning triple play and a grand slam by Connor Hurst to break a 4-4 tie, Butler took the opening contest of a doubleheader by a 13-5 score. The Grizzlies’ win snapped Colby’s seven-game winning streak. However, the Trojans came back with a 4-2 Game 2 victory to earn the split.
The Grizzlies (17-22 overall, 9-17 conference) will host Colby for the final two games of the four-game series on Saturday. With the split, Colby (24-15, 16-6) remains 1 1/2 games back of Jayhawk Conference leader Hutchinson, while Butler sits in seventh place. First pitch from McDonald Stadium is at 1:00 p.m.
Game 1 – Butler 13, Colby 5
Colby struck first for a pair of runs in the opening frame behind consecutive RBI doubles from Christian Roduner and Garrett Kirkwood.
Butler escaped further damage in the inning by turning a 5-4-3-2 triple play. With runners at the corners, Colby’s Andy Leader grounded sharply to Butler third baseman Blake Blessie, who threw to second for the first out. As Butler turned the double play, Kirkwood broke late for home plate which allowed first baseman Jackson Soule to fire home to catcher Caleb Cox. Kirkwood missed the plate as Cox applied the tag for the third out.
Connor Hurst blasted a solo home run in the second inning to pull the Grizzlies within a run.
Kirkwood put Colby up 4-1 with a two-run homer to center in the third, but Butler answered with a three-run third to tie the game up.
Mason Goade led off the third with a solo home run to left, then Garrett Chalker reached first on an error and stole second base. Javis Larson followed with an RBI single to right to bring in Chalker, then stole third. Two batters later, Tanner White singled in Larson to even the contest.
In the fifth, Butler loaded the bases with one out on a throwing error, hit by pitch and a walk. Hurst then clubbed his second home run of the game with a grand slam blast to right.
Colby grabbed a run back in the sixth on a sacrifice fly, but the Grizzlies would add five more runs in the sixth to essentially put the game out of reach.
Hurst was the top Grizzly offensively by going 3-for-4 with six RBI and two runs scored, while Soule was 1-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Chalker, Larson, Cox and Tanner White each scored twice.
Cody Bush (4-3) was credited with the win, throwing his fourth complete game of the season. The southpaw threw seven innings, giving up five earned runs on 10 hits while striking out four and walking one.
Game 2 – Colby 4, Butler 2
Butler’s offense was stymied by Colby pitcher Nick Vickers, who took a no-hitter into the bottom of the eighth inning. Vickers struck out a season-high 13 batters and walked five.
Colby took a 2-0 lead on a two-run home run by Christian Roduner in the third inning off Butler starter Sloan Baker, who made his first start of the season.
The Trojans added two more runs in the eighth on a two-run single by Ryley Humrighouse.
Vickers was finally pulled from the game after Javis Larson singled for Butler’s first hit of the game. The Grizzlies would put two runners in scoring position with one out against reliever Carlos Amador, but Tanner White and Jackson Soule both struck out swinging.
Butler finally broke the shutout in the ninth when pinch hitter Alex Brough hammered a two-run homer to left field with one out, but Amador would retire the final two batters to end the game.
Baker kept the Grizzlies in the contest, throwing six innings and giving up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts. Murphy tossed three innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits and striking out three.
Butler finished with just three hits in the contest. The Grizzlies put two runners on base with one one in four of the first eight innings, but failed to push across a run until Brough’s homer.