Thunder Win Second Consecutive Regional Championship

Thunder Win Second Consecutive Regional Championship

WHITEWATER, Wis. -- Trine defeated Hope 6-3 to win the NCAA Division III Whitewater Regional and claim its second consecutive Regional championship Saturday afternoon.

A five-run second provided the bulk of the scoring and three pitchers combined on the effort in the circle. Claire Ryan (Union Grove, Wis. / Union Grove), Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) and Nicole Ferraro (North Royalton, Ohio / Holy Name) each picked up RBIs in today's game. Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich. / Farwell) picked up the win in relief. The Thunder claimed its third Regional championship in school history and will advance to the Super Regional round to meet the winner of the LaCrosse Regional.

Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) notched the save in today's game and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Whitewater Regional. Michaela Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine), Carly Bachna (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) and Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) were named to the Whitewater Regional All-Tournament team.

The Flying Dutch struck first in the top of the first when Sierra Mutschler hit the first of her two home runs on the day. The two-run shot gave Hope the early lead.

Trine struck back in the bottom of the second with five runs. Fox, Bachna and Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) drew walks to load the bases with none out. After a pop out, Fox was able to score from third when the third baseman booted a ground ball. Pinch-hitter Ferraro then came through in the clutch with a RBI-single to center to tie the score.

Makenna Hartline then ripped a single through the left side to score one. A second run scored on the play on a misplay in the outfield. A failed pickoff attempt at first base later in the inning allowed Emily White (Fortville, Ind. / Mount Vernon) to score from second to make it 5-2.

Mutschler's second homer of the game came in the top of the fourth and cut the score to 5-3. Saupe then entered to shut down Hope over the next two innings. The sophomore allowed just one hit and struck out one to earn her first career NCAA postseason win. Hannah Kampmann (St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin Derham Hall) worked the first three innings and struck out four in her first NCAA postseason starting assignment.

Ryan answered Mutschler's homer in the bottom of the fourth to give the Thunder an important insurance run. The freshman ripped a two-out double over the left fielder to score Makenna Hartline and make the score 6-3. Ryan had four hits and three RBIs in the Regional.

Ray came on in the bottom of the sixth to shut the door and earn the save. She walked one in her appearance. Ray earned two wins and a save in the Regional. Ray's fifth save of the year tied Ariane Kurtz's school record set in 2002.

Trine will face the winner of the Wisconsin-LaCrosse Regional at a yet-to-be-determined location. The LaCrosse Regional concludes tomorrow. At the time of writing, Wisconsin-Oshkosh had advanced to the Regional championship and would face either Benedictine (Ill.) or Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

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