Freshman Trio Sparks Green Bay's Rubber-Match Win
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Led by a trio of freshman, the Green Bay softball team shutout second-place UIC (27-14, 13-4 HL) on Wednesday afternoon at Phoenix Field, 3-0.
Bailey Smaney continued her dominant run in the circle, pitching a complete-game three-hit shutout to earn her eighth win of the season, tops on the Phoenix staff. The Green Bay native is now 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA (21 innings pitched, 4 earned runs) over her last three starts.
While much of Wednesday's focus was on the mound, fellow freshman Brennan Engel and Acacia Tupa provided the Phoenix offense, as well. With two-on and two-out in the bottom of the first, Engel hooked a fly ball down the left field line that appeared to be headed foul. However, the wind pushed the ball back in play before dropping fair, allowing both Abby Brinkmeier and Tupa to score. It marked Engel's sixth and seventh RBIs in the past two days, giving her a team-high 24 this season.
Despite surrendering back-to-back hits to begin the second, Smaney recorded three straight outs on a comebacker, shallow fly to center and a line-out to third to strand runners on second and third. The former Bayport High School standout went on to retire 12 of the next 13 batters she faced.
In the fifth, the aforementioned Tupa blasted a solo shot to right center off UIC starter Bridget Boyle to extend the Phoenix lead to 3-0, and that's all it would need, as two innings later Smaney induced a 6-4-3 double play and then struck out Kaleigh Nagle swinging to end the game.
With the win, Green Bay tallied its sixth victory in seven games. The Phoenix (15-24, 6-5 HL) will continue its home stand this weekend as it hosts Youngstown State (21-16, 8-5 HL) in a battle for third place in the Horizon League on Friday and Saturday.
Game 1 on Friday will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel beginning at 3 p.m., and feature commentary from Matt Menzl and Jake Timm.
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