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By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
GreenBayPhoenix.com

CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) –
The Green Bay softball team once again found itself on the wrong end of a heartbreaking loss, this time in the form of a 3-0 walk-off loss at Loyola. Locked in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh, the Ramblers used a two-out shot to center to pick up the win and sweep the series 3-0. The loss drops Green Bay to 12-25 overall and 5-12 in the Horizon League, while Loyola improved to 26-16 overall and 14-4 in league play.

The Phoenix had a productive first inning but was unable to plate a runner. Senior Dani Peerenboom singled up the middle with one out and was followed by freshman Marissa Michalkiewicz (Appleton, Wis.) who reached on a bunt to third. Junior Miranda Reinke (Milwaukee, Wis.) moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, but a fly out to third ended the half-inning.

After both teams exchanged three-up, three-down half innings, Loyola was able to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the second. A pop up to second base sent the game to the third, keeping the game scoreless.

A pitcher’s battle ensued until the top of the final inning when Michalkiewicz picked up Green Bay’s first hit since the top of the first. She singled on a shot to third base, but was out on the next play when Reinke reached on a fielder’s choice. Freshman Alyssa Johnson (Elmhurst, Ill.) reached on a fielder’s choice of her own, leaving a runner on first with two outs. An ensuing groundout sent the still-scoreless game to the home half of the seventh.

Green Bay sent the first batter back to the dugout after a foul-out to first, but the next batter was able to reach on an error. The Phoenix then picked up the second out of the inning on the next play after a fly out to left field. With two down and a runner on first, Loyola’s Lauren Moore walked to put runners on first and second. Lauren Zaworski followed her and sent a a shot over the wall in center, sealing the walk-off win for the Ramblers.

Freshman phenom Michalkiewicz led the way with a 2-for-3 day at the plate, while Peerenboom had Green Bay’s third hit of the day on a 1-for-3 effort. Senior Allison Goecks (Beloit, Wis.) took the loss (6-10) in 6 and 2/3 innings with six hits, three runs and three walks.

The Phoenix will take a break from Horizon League action this week for a doubleheader at Minnesota (30-15, 15-5 Big Ten) on Wednesday. Green Bay will then play its home opener in the final regular-season series of the season on Saturday and Sunday against Detroit. Barring any changes to the weather, the three games of the series will serve as the team’s home opener, parent’s day, senior day and regular-season home finale.

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