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Giese to close ‘special chapter’ at UW-Green Bay

In her first at bat on April 14 as part of a doubleheader at Cleveland State, Tiffany Giese set the all-time hits record, breaking the mark Katie Cooney set. Submitted photo

By Jordon Lawrenz

Contributing Writer

GREEN BAY – Tiffany Giese, a fifth-year graduate student out of Huntley, Ill., is smashing records for the University of Wisconsin (UW) -Green Bay softball program.

In her first at bat on April 14 as part of a doubleheader at Cleveland State, Giese set the all-time hits record, breaking the mark Katie Cooney set (169) from her time at UW-Green Bay, 2007-11. 

When asked about her mindset going into the Cleveland State series, Giese said it was business as usual, “I just knew I needed to get my job done as a leadoff hitter and get on base. That is always my goal, get on base anyway I can, and help the team win.”

Not only has Giese set the all-time hits record, but she has stolen the most bases, and it’s not even close.

Giese has stolen a total of 61 bases throughout her five-year career, with 47 of those coming in her past two seasons.

Jenna Woepse (2005-08) is the next closest at the stolen base leaderboard, coming in at 31. 

“Coach Kubuske ultimately makes the decision for me to steal. I think something that also helps is knowing the opposing catcher and their middle infield players,” Giese said. 

“A lot of practice goes into timing up the pitchers’ release point, breaking down the mechanics of my running form, and perfecting my sliding technique so I am making sure I am getting to that base as quickly as possible.”

On a Phoenix team that has 10 new players — eight of which being freshman — Giese has been a mainstay at the top of Green Bay’s lineup.

She started all 50 of UW-Green Bay’s games last season, having her most successful season by far.

Ultimately, the decision to come back for one more year was easy. 

“Being able to still play softball and achieve a master’s degree was a no brainer to come back for a fifth year. I didn’t play much my freshman year and losing most of the 2020 season due to COVID that was tough. So having the opportunity to come back and play one last season was without a doubt an easy yes,” she said.

It’s no secret that Giese’s junior year in 2021 was her breakout.

After getting 31 hits in 124 at bats throughout her first two seasons, Giese broke through with 44 hits in 132 at bats in her junior season alone.

With a .333 average, up from .250 in her freshman and sophomore seasons, Giese also recorded her first five extra-base hits.

Those doubles and triples led to 13 RBIs, over double what she had (5) in her first two years.

“Freshman year was hard; it was a big adjustment for me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. I felt like sophomore year was going really good until COVID hit and shut our season down,” Giese mentioned. “During spring and summer of 2020, I really grew overall as a person, and I felt more comfortable and confident within myself. COVID really taught me to never take anything for granted. So that was always in the back of my head as I trained and worked on improving my game.”

After last weekend’s series against Purdue Fort Wayne, Green Bay sits at 19-28 overall, 10-9 in the Horizon League.

That puts them tied for sixth with Youngstown State in the standings.

With just one series left against Detroit Mercy, May 5-6, the Phoenix must make the most of those three games at King Park.

Only the top six teams in the Horizon League make the tournament, which takes place beginning on May 10. 

In the 2022 season, Green Bay reached the conference tournament.

They defeated Robert Morris 3-2, but their season came to an end after a 2-0 loss to Oakland and then a 7-1 loss against Robert Morris.

Giese recalled these games as her favorite times at the program. 

“Last year we made it to the conference tournament for the first time in my career. That was super special, and I was grateful to be able to experience that in my time here,” she said.

Knowing that there are only three games left, Giese would love to play in the Horizon League championship once more, but this time has bigger aspirations.

“Definitely making it to the conference tournament and winning it all. It has been since 2014 that Green Bay softball has won the tournament and I know it would feel amazing to be able to accomplish that with my teammates and coaches,” Giese added.

At a young age, Giese began playing softball as a way to spend more time with her best friend Hayley.

Now, she is just a few games away from her career coming to an end.

Giese welcomes the change and is ready to begin her next chapter. 

“My undergrad degree is elementary education, so I am looking forward on becoming a teacher. I am moving out to Colorado this June, so I am super excited for that next journey,” she stated.

No matter how the Phoenix finish their 2023 campaign, Giese has had a phenomenal five-year career filling up the record books.

With three games remaining, Giese leads the Phoenix with a .340 average including a team-high 147 at bats, 50 hits, 30 runs, 26 walks, 22 stolen bases and a .443 on base percentage.

In conference play, Giese sits atop the Horizon League with her .460 average, 29 hits, 14 walks and a .558 on base percentage.

Tiffany Giese’s name can be seen in numerous places throughout UWGB’s record book.

For individual career records, she is currently tied for first place with Hailey Mohrfield with 105 runs scored.

Her .326 batting average also ties Mohrfield for second all time, and her stolen base total might be unbreakable.

Giese has 61 stolen bases, 30 more than Jenna Woepse (2005-08) who sits in second place with 31. 

Not only is Giese setting career records, but her name can be found in six different categories for individual season records: fifth in at bats (2022 – 161), second in runs (2022 – 36), second in hits (2022 – 59), ninth batting average (2022 – .366), T-ninth in on-base percentage (.433 – 2022), and is first (2022 – 25) and T-fourth (2021 – 9) in stolen bases.

After her 2023 campaign, Giese will undoubtedly see her name featured in these lists again. 

“I am just so grateful for the opportunities that UW-Green Bay has given me. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have for everyone that has helped me get to where I am. It has been a special chapter here in Green Bay and one that I will certainly not forget,” Giese said.

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