COLUMBUS, Ga.-- The Trine softball team finished as the runner-up in the Gold Bracket in the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic, which concluded Sunday at South Commons Complex.
The Thunder defeated No. 6 Texas Lutheran in the Gold Bracket semifinals to advance to the championship game. The victory gave Trine three wins over top-10 opponents to reach the title game. The Thunder ended the Bulldogs' 46-game regular-season winning-streak in the process and dealt Texas Lutheran its first loss of the season. Trine was defeated by No. 1 Texas-Tyler 5-0 in the championship game. The Thunder concluded the tournament with a 9-5 overall record.
Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood) and Rachell Noble (Indianapolis, Ind./Decatur Central) each notched four hits on the day to lead the offensive effort. Robles extended her hitting-streak to nine games, while Noble batted .500 (8-of-16) with three walks in the Leadoff Classic.
Game One: Trine 7, Texas Lutheran 2
The Thunder pounded out 15 hits and three pitchers combined on the effort in the circle to earn the victory.
Trine's top of the order, consisting of Robles, Kaitlyn Clark (Mount Juliet, Tenn./Wilson Central) and Kendra Marshall (Leesburg, Ind./Warsaw) was a wrecking crew offensively. The trio combined for eight hits in 12 at-bats, with two RBIs and five runs scored. Marshall provided the first offensive blow of the game with a RBI-double in the top of the first.
An infield single by Alex Yarbrough knotted things up in the second. The two teams would trade one-run thirds, with Lainey McCue (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake) providing the RBI single for the Thunder and Jennifer Gallagher's sac fly answering for the Bulldogs.
A four-run fourth broke things open for Trine. Robles' speed forced an errant throw on an infield single, with a run scoring on the play. Clark, Noble and McCue later added RBI-singles in the inning to give the Thunder a 6-2 lead.
Noble tacked on another RBI-single to score Clark in the seventh. Noble and McCue each finished the game with two RBIs.
Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich./Farwell) picked up the victory with three innings of shutout relief work. The freshman allowed just two hits and struck out three. She improved to 2-1 on the year. Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood) shut the door in the final two innings, allowing one hit and striking out four.
Game Two: Texas-Tyler 5, Trine 0
The Patriots closed out a streak of six-straight shutouts in the Leadoff Classic to defeat the Thunder for the championship.
Texas-Tyler did not allow a run over the course of the tournament. Alaina Kissinger tossed the complete game, allowing five hits and striking out four.
Trine pitching surrendered five hits, but the Patriots were able to string hits together to push across runs. Jade Green's solo homer in the bottom of the second started off the scoring. Vaness Carizales added a two-run shot in the third to make the score 3-0.
Texas-Tyler pushed across its final two runs in the fifth. Raven Rodriguez knocked in a run with a single and the Patriots added another run on a two-out error.
Alison Lang (Rome City, Ind./East Noble) provided the defensive highlight of the game for the Thunder. The senior crashed into the fence to make a catch in center and was able to double the runner off second on appeal.
Robles and Noble each notched two hits in game two.
Trine returns to action Friday, Mar. 25 when the Thunder host Transylvania. First pitch of the home-opener is slated for 3:30 p.m.