FIFTH RANKED THUNDER HIT THE STRIPES OFF TIGERS

ANGOLA, Ind. - It was a clean sweep in the home opener for the fifth ranked Trine University softball team as they defeated in-state rival DePauw University 5-2 and 8-0 in five innings as they never trailed in either game. The Thunder improve their record to 15-1 on the season.

In the opener, the Thunder ran into trouble in the second as the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs, but senior Andi Gasco (Levering, Mich./Petoskey) escaped damage getting the final batter to fly out.

Gasco would help herself in the bottom of the inning as she hit a line drive over the center field wall for her eighth home run of the season.

DePauw would tie the game in the top of the third on an RBI single.

In the bottom of the fourth, after a leadoff walk to Gasco, fellow senior Lauren Harris (Uniontown, Ohio/Hoover) took a 1-0 pitch over the right-center wall to break the tie for her second round-tripper of the season.

Trine would add another run in the fifth on a leadoff home run by sophomore Carly Searles (Levering, Mich./Petoskey) after falling behind in the count 1-2.

The Tigers would get a homer of their own in the sixth from Linsey Button.

The Thunder would tack on another run in the bottom of the inning without the aid of a hit. DePauw walked four Trine batters in the inning, including Searles with the bases loaded to score pinch runner freshman Riley Larkin (Plainfield, Ind./Avon).

Gasco earned her seventh win in the circle on the season, allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out seven DePauw batters.

Game two was all Trine from the get go as sophomore Bree Fuller (Hubbardston, Mich./Fulton) struck out the side in the top of the first.

In the bottom of the inning, the Thunder would plate the only runs they would need. After a leadoff single from Searles, she would advance on a ground out. Sophomore Leah Hall (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) would then drive her in on a single up the middle. After Gasco walked, one batter later sophomore Rachel Harris (Uniontown, Ohio/Hoover) would deliver an RBI single down the right field line to score Gasco from second. The Thunder would then load the bases but would be unable to plate another run.

In the third, Gasco launched her second homer of the day on an 0-1 count that nearly cleared the parking lot in right field. Not to be outdone, Lauren Harris went back-to-back with her second of the day almost to nearly the identical spot as Gasco’s prior homer. One out later, senior Sarah Belote (Bronson, Mich./Bronson) hit a triple to the gap in right-center, and after the relay throw to third was wild, Belote scrambled home to score.

After stranding two runners in the fourth, Trine would put the game away in the bottom of the fifth. Rachel Harris refused to let her big sister have all the fun and she deposited an 0-2 pitch over the center field wall for her fourth of the season. Belote would follow with a walk and be pinch ran for by junior Jillian Craig (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard). After Craig stole second, she would come around to score on the single by fellow junior Jamie Lydick (Plainfield, Ind./Plainfield). One out later, Searles would end it as she doubled to the right-center gap to score Lydick and enforce the mercy rule.

Fuller had a stellar performance on the mound for the Thunder as she never allowed more than one DePauw batter to reach base in an inning. Fuller finished the afternoon allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out nine over five innings of work.

In all, five different Trine players collected multiple hits on the day. Searles led the Thunder at the plate going 4-for-6 with three RBI and two runs. Searles also swiped three bases on the day. Her sister, Gasco, went 2-for-5 at the dish with two runs and two RBI. The Harris sisters also both collected two hits on the day with Lauren driving in three runs and scoring twice while Rachel collected two RBI. Hall also collected two hits on the afternoon.

With the two home runs, Gasco broke the Trine University career record for total bases with 291, surpassing Kara Graham (2006-09) who had 287.

Trine will take a day off before returning to action on March 30 as they host Case Western for a 1:00 p.m. non-conference doubleheader.

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