LIBERAL, Kan. - Butler baseball lost a pair of games by an identical 7-6 score at Seward County in Jayhawk Conference action on Saturday.
In the opener, the Grizzlies (14-21 overall, 6-15 conference) overcame a 6-3 deficit to tie the game after 6 1/2 innings, but the Saints loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh, which set up a walk-off sacrifice fly to win 7-6.
In Game 2, Butler led 6-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, but a Cody Coontz double to center allowed two runs to score for a Seward win.
Butler will play two more games on Sunday at Seward County (15-22, 8-10), then return home for a single nine-inning game against Pratt on Tuesday to complete the four-game series against the Beavers.
Game 1 - Seward County 7, Butler 6
Butler took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Blake Blessie tripled to center, then scored on a wild throw by Seward third baseman Errett Edwards in an attempt to throw out Garrett Chalker on a groundout.
Seward struck back in the bottom of the inning as Tim Fitzgerald scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Two batters later, Addison Kaasch singled to right to score Owen Martin and Brendan Madsen to give the Saints a 3-1 lead.
Seward's Law Greiner responded with a three-run home run to right field to put the hosts up 6-3.
In the sixth, Butler's Jackson Soule hit a line drive two-run homer to right field, which cut Seward's lead to one run. Blessie opened the next inning with a double, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chalker. With Javis Larson batting, Blessie came home from third on a passed ball to tie the game at 6-6.
Seward quickly loaded the bases with two walks and a hit by pitch, which led to Jacob Nielsen's sacrifice fly to right off Grizzly reliever Travis Hennessy to score Madsen and win the game.
Blessie led Butler at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Soule and Hearon had two RBIs each.
Butler starter Cody Bush went 5 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on four hits, walked five and struck out three. Dakota Rodd (0-1) was credited with the loss, allowing one earned run in 2/3 innings.
Game 2 - Seward County 7, Butler 6
Seward re-captured the lead in the second with a Tim Fitzgerald two-out triple to right to drive in Cody Stineman, but the Grizzlies answered again in the third inning as Javis Larson scored from third base on an infield error.
In the bottom of the third, Seward loaded the bases with no outs. Butler turned a 6-4-3 double play, which allowed Errett Edwards to score from third. Brian Tims then singled to left to score Addison Kaasch to put Seward up 4-2.
With two outs and runners at second and third in the fourth, Butler's Caleb Cox singled to center to tie the game back at 4-all.
Seward grabbed a run back in the bottom of the seventh on Cody Stineman's RBI double to right to score Tims.
With Butler leading 6-5 in the ninth, Seward had a leadoff walk to Jared Biddy, then Tims reached on a throwing error by reliever Dallas Armstrong. Both runners would score when Coontz doubled to center to end the game.
Brough and Blessie each had two hits to lead Butler offensively.
Armstrong (0-1) took the loss, throwing one inning and giving up two unearned runs on two hits with one walk and a strikeout. Starter Drake Norton lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and three walks. Reliever Blake Mullendore had four strikeouts while giving up one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings of work.