Softball Heading to Minnesota for NCAA Tournament
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The Horizon League regular season and tournament champion Green Bay softball team (27-12) will head to the University of Minnesota as it opens up NCAA Tournament play this weekend.
The Gophers earned the No. 16 overall seed and will host Green Bay, North Dakota State and Auburn in the regional. Green Bay and Minnesota will square off on Friday evening at 6:30 to start the tourney. The complete interactive bracket is available here.
This will be the second NCAA Tournament appearance for the Phoenix in program history, as it also advanced during the 2005 season. Green Bay is 1-2 in the NCAA postseason, opening the 2005 postseason with a win over Oregon State before dropping consecutive contests to DePaul and Oregon State to bow out of the double-elimination tournament.
This year, the Phoenix finished the Horizon League slate of competition at 11-5 overall, capturing the first conference regular season title in program history and the No. 1 seed in the League tournament. The squad started the tourney with a 5-2 win over Youngstown State, then run-ruled Valparaiso in consecutive games on Friday (9-1) and Saturday (9-0) to go a perfect 3-0 over the four-day event.
During the tournament, the Phoenix hit .451 while opponents hit just .117. Senior Ashley Nannemann (Burlington, Wis.) went a perfect 3-0, tossing three complete games with a 0.41 ERA en route to earning all-tournament, all-tournament pitcher and tournament MVP honors. On the other side, opposing pitching posted a 7.50 ERA against the Phoenix.
Minnesota is 41-9 this season and captured the Big Ten Tournament title with a 3-2 walk-off win over Michigan on Saturday. It was the team’s first Big Ten title since 1999. The Phoenix has won two of the last three meetings against the Gophers, most recently splitting a doubleheader during the 2012 season.
North Dakota State captured its fifth Summit League championship in six seasons with a 12-5 win over Fort Wayne. The Bison are 35-16 this season.
Auburn is 39-16-1 this season and earned an at-large bid after it fell to Alabama in the SEC Tournament.
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