LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- The Trine softball team made its 2016 debut in the NFCA Division III Top 25, earning the No. 13 ranking in the latest poll released today.
The Thunder received votes totaling 91 points to appear in the Top 25 for the first time this season. Trine is coming off a week in which the Thunder finished 5-1 to finish as the runner-up in the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic. Trine went 3-1 against ranked competition during the tournament, including wins over three opponents that were ranked in the top 10 in the nation. The Thunder concluded the week 9-5 overall, with a 3-3 record against teams currently ranked in the top 25.
Trine's lineup once again boasts balance from top to bottom, with eight regular starters batting .300 or better. Rachell Noble (Indianapolis, Ind./Decatur Central) has led the way with a .481 batting average and a patient approach that has produced a .641 on-base percentage. Noble's on-base percentage ranked 31st in the nation through games played Sunday.
Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood) has stepped into the leadoff spot to provide a .412 batting average, .444 on-base percentage and eight stolen bases. Robles was named to the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic All-Tournament team for her performance last weekend.
Third baseman Kendra Marshall (Leesburg, Ind./Warsaw) leads the Thunder with a .500 slugging percentage, paced by a team-best four doubles. Marshall has knocked in seven runs. Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio/Edison) and Kaitlyn Clark (Mount Juliet, Tenn./Wilson Central) have each contributed home runs in the early going, with Fox leading the team with 11 RBIs.
Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood) has ranked among the nation's best pitchers in the early going. The senior's 48 strikeouts rank 19th in the nation. She is allowing a scant 3.29 hits per seven innings, a mark that ranks 22nd nationally. Robles was named to the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team after tossing two complete game victories against top-10 opponents.
Trine returns to action in its home-opener Friday, Mar. 25 against Transylvania. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The rest of the Thunder schedule features games against five teams that appeared in the NCAA postseason last spring.