Softball Falls to Minnesota in NCAA Opener
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Making its return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over nine years, the Green Bay softball team led early but could not hold off host Minnesota as it dropped a 10-1 decision on Friday evening.
Green Bay (27-13) will now face Auburn in an elimination game tomorrow evening at 4 p.m. The Gophers advanced to face North Dakota State at 1:30 p.m. The Bison topped the Tigers, 5-2, in the first game of the day.
“They [Minnesota] brought all their weapons, their bats, “ head coach Jean Rivett said. “I don’t know if we were nervous or what it was, but we are not going to make excuses. We have to come back ready to play Auburn tomorrow and we will fix the things that we need to fix.”
Capitalizing on a Gophers error in the top of the first, the Phoenix was able to take a 1-0 lead. Junior Hailey Mohrfeld used her speed to lead off the inning with an infield single and moved all the way to third as senior Miranda Reinke (Milwaukee, Wis.) put down a bunt that was misplayed by the Minnesota second baseman. One batter later senior Shannon Butts (Greenfield, Wis.) hit a grounder to short, leaving the only play at first to catch her out while allowing Mohrfeld to score.
Minnesota grabbed the lead in the bottom of the third inning, leading off with back-to-back singles before Sam Macken hit a shot back to senior Ashley Nannemann in the circle that deflected off the pitcher and allowed a run to score. Kaitlyn Richardson then delivered a sacrifice fly to bring in another run and push the Gophers ahead, 2-1.
The home team got one more run on a double to center by Erica Meyer in the bottom of the fourth to add to its lead, 3-1.
A big seven-run fifth inning put the game away for the Gophers. A bases-loaded walk drove in the first run before back-to-back triples by Sydney Fabian and Tyler Walker and a two-run homer by Sam Macken sealed the 10-1 win for the Gophers.
Minnesota outhit Green Bay, 11-1, in the game and got the win despite recording two errors. The Phoenix kept a clean slate in the game and received its lone hit from Mohrfeld.
Nannemann threw four-plus innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with three walks. Freshman Heather Sanderson (Rapid River, Mich.) threw the final 0.2, allowing four runs on three hits with a walk.
Minnesota starter Sara Moulton had a strong showing, throwing a complete gamewith eight strikeouts, allowing just one unearned run on one hit.
“We are best when we play loose,” Mohrfeld said. “As long as we do not put too much pressure on ourselves and just play our game we will be fine. We have lost before, so we need to treat it like any other game and play Green Bay softball.”
“We know our season could be over tomorrow and we have to try and make sure that it is not over. That is what we have to try and do,” Butts said.
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