March 14, 2013
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -
Senior right-hander Jenny Esparza fired a one-hit shutout, fanned 11 and walked just two as Butler defeated Army, 2-0, Thursday afternoon at the Rebel Spring Games at the Osceola County Softball Complex.
The Black Knights (6-9) opened with a 10-3 win over Youngstown State in the first game to show a 3-3 mark in Florida following their third day of competition. Butler posted its fifth straight win, to include four shutouts, in improving to 7-11.
Esparza allowed just three base runners into scoring position. After striking out the first six batters she faced, two Army players got on base in the bottom of the third inning when leadoff hitter Ali Cleinmark was hit by a pitch followed by a walk to Bernadette Cardon.
With Butler holding a slim 1-0 lead, Esparza got out safely mowing down the side en route to retiring six straight batters before yielding her lone hit of the game to leadoff batter Marina Northup in the bottom of the fifth followed by a walk to Cleinmark. Northup gave way to pinch runner Savanna Aversa, and both moved up a base on designated player Bernadette Cardon's sacrifice bunt. Esparza nipped that rally retiring nine straight batters in improving to 3-2.
Army sophomore Morgan Lashley (5-7) allowed just three hits and struck out three in going the distance. After Butler capitalized on back-to-back walks and an RBI single by Krista Hakola to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning,
Lashley did not allow a hit in keeping Butler off the scoreboard over the next four innings.
After issuing a pair of walks in the fourth inning and stranding a runner at third base, Lashley retired six of the next seven batters she faced before being touched for a pair of hits and a run in the seventh inning. Maria Leichty led off that inning with a double to left field and gave way to pinch runner Sarah Gronowski. Lashley struck out the next batter looking followed by a groundout before yielding an RBI single to Riley Carter.
The Black Knights close out their weeklong stay in Florida with a pair of games Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson at 9 a.m. and Green Bay at 1 p.m.
DIAMOND NOTES: Lehigh, the Patriot League's preseason favorite to repeat, is also competing this week at the Rebel Games where the Mountain Hawks suffered a 2-0 defeat to Butler ... Army's shutout to Butler is just the second time this season it has not scored a run.