LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- The Trine softball team has climbed to the No. 11 national ranking in the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll, released Wednesday.
The Thunder jumped two spots up from their No. 13 ranking in the previous poll. Trine is receiving votes totaling 103 points, a 12-point increase from last week. The Thunder did not play last week. The team is coming off a second-place finish in the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic after playing its way to a 5-1 record and beating three ranked opponents in the tournament. Trine is scheduled to resume play this weekend.
The early-season schedule has proven to be a strong test for the Thunder. Trine owns a 3-3 record against teams currently ranked in the Top 25, with wins over No. 4 Texas Lutheran, No. 5 East Texas Baptist and No. 10 Virginia Wesleyan. The Thunder fell to No. 1 Texas-Tyler in the championship game of the Leadoff Classic and was swept by No. 25 Linfield.
Trine enters this weekend's games batting .353, the 28th-best mark in the nation. The team's lineup features eight regular starters who wield a .300 or better batting average. The Thunder is getting on base at a .419 clip, paced by Rachell Noble's (Indianapolis, Ind. / Decatur Central) .641 OBP, which ranks 14th nationally.
The Thunder also sport a team ERA that ranks 27th-best in the nation. Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) ranks 12th in the nation in allowing just 3.29 hits per seven innings. Robles owns victories over two top-10 opponents and has struck out 48 batters in 44.2 innings of work.
Trine carries a 9-5 record into this Friday's home-opener against Transylvania. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The Thunder will also host NCAA Regional rival DePauw this Saturday at noon.
The rest of Trine's schedule features games against five 2015 NCAA postseason participants and one ranked opponent. CLICK HERE to view the schedule.