Late Rally Pushes Phoenix Past Powerhouse Notre Dame
By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Heading into the top of the seventh inning on Thursday night, the Green Bay women’s softball team (6-12) found itself staring down the barrel of a 4-1 deficit to perennial power Notre Dame (22-8). But a two-RBI single from junior Stacey Butts (Greenfield, Wis.) was enough to give the visiting team a 5-4 edge, and a clutch performance from freshman Briana Cavin (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) held the Fighting Irish scoreless in the next half-inning to seal the win.
“I am just so proud of our ladies and how they battled back tonight,” head coach Jean Rivett said. “They just finished the deal tonight. We’ve lost some close games so far this year so it was really nice to pull this one out, and a win like this over a really good Notre Dame team is great for the program.”
Notre Dame struck first in the second inning, pulling ahead with a 3-0 lead on the help of an RBI single and a sacrifice fly to right field. The Phoenix wasted little time replying, as senior Jess Hrncar (Bristol, Wis.) tripled to lead off the top of the third. Next up was Stacey Butts, who reached on an error and allowed Hrncar to score in the process.
The Fighting Irish extended its lead to 4-1 in the home half of the sixth, when a one-out triple brought home a runner from second. The Phoenix closed out the inning without allowing another run to head into the final frame down three runs.
Sophomore Hailey Mohrfeld (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) started things off with a single to left field before freshman Kelli Hutchinson (Milwaukee, Wis.) reached on a fielder’s choice. The throw to second was off the mark, leaving both runners safe at first and second. With two on base and nobody out, junior Miranda Reinke (Milwaukee, Wis.) reached on a bunt to load the bases.
Freshman Alysa Johnson (Elmhurst, Ill.) reached on an error by the right fielder, keeping the bags loaded while Mohrfeld scored to bring the Phoenix within two runs. The next batter in sophomore Tia Collins (Orfordville, Wis.) brought home Hutchinson on a single to second, putting Green Bay within one at 4-3.
Hrncar was at the plate next, where she hit into a tough line-drive double play, leaving runners at second and third with two outs. Stacey Butts stepped up to the plate and delivered on a single up the middle, bringing home Reinke and Johnson for the 5-4 lead.
Notre Dame had runners on second and third with two outs, but the Phoenix forced a groundout to seal the incredible comeback win. With the win, Green Bay improves to 6-12 on the season while the Notre Dame stands at 22-8.
Hrncar led the way for Green Bay with a 2-4 effort and a run scored. Stacey Butts went 1-3 with two RBIs, while Collins had a 1-3 performance with a run scored.
Cavin (1-4) received her first collegiate win in the effort while putting in 4 2/3 innings of work. She gave up five hits and one earned run while striking out three and walking two. Laura Winter (12-6) took the loss after pitching all seven innings and striking out six. She gave up all five runs with one of them earned.
Green Bay will remain in the Hoosier State for the weekend, traveling to battle Horizon League preseason favorite Valparaiso on Friday and Saturday in a three-game series. Game one will be at 3 p.m. on Friday, while games two and three will take place at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday.
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