ALMA, Mich.-- The Trine softball team recovered after dropping its opening round game to stay alive in the MIAA Softball Tournament at Alma College.
The Thunder fell to Hope 3-2 in the tournament-opener, but bounced back to earn a 5-0 victory over Saint Mary's to keep its hopes of a fourth-consecutive tournament title alive. Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) had a huge day offensively for Trine, belting three home runs and driving in five runs. Bre Cooper (Beech Grove, Ind. / Beech Grove) tossed a complete-game shutout to get the victory in game two.
Trine will have to win three games to claim the tournament crown tomorrow, beginning with an elimination game and rematch against Hope at noon. The Thunder have won three games on the final day of the tournament each of the last two years. The Dutch dropped their second game to Alma, 2-1.
Game One: Hope 3, Trine 2
Two Dutch pitchers combined to hold down the Thunder offense in the first round pitcher's duel.
An unearned run scored by Hope's Autumn Anderson was the only run either team scored through the first three innings. Jenna Maury put the Flying Dutch up 2-0 with a solo home run in the top of the fourth.
Fox answered with her first homer of the day, a solo blast to left that cut the score to 2-1 in the bottom of the frame.
Hope pushed across a run on squeeze play in the sixth to create a 3-1 lead.
Trine rallied in the seventh, loading the bases with one out. Kaitlyn Clark (Mount Juliet, Tenn. / Wilson Central) knocked in a run on a fielder's choice to cut the score to 3-2, but Katie Singer was able to hold the Thunder there to earn the save.
Sydney Jones picked up the victory for the Flying Dutch. Jones worked five innings, surrendering an earned run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) was tagged with the loss despite a strong effort in the circle. The senior allowed two earned runs on four hits, walked three and fanned four. Robles needs one more strikeout to become the fourth pitcher in team history to record 400 career strikeouts.
Game Two: Trine 5, Saint Mary's 0
Cooper shut down the Belles' bats and Fox provided the heavy lifting offensively to keep the tournament title hopes of the Thunder alive.
The first of Fox's homers gave Trine an early 2-0 advantage in the top of the first. Her second two-run bomb of the game gave the Thunder a 4-0 lead in the fifth. The three-homer performance on the day moves Fox into a tie for sixth in team history with 26 career homers. The sophomore is the third player in program history to record back-to-back seasons with 10 or more home runs. She has homered four times in the last three games.
Trine tacked on another run in the fifth on a pinch-hit RBI single by Rachel Zink (Gahanna, Ohio / Gahanna Lincoln).
Cooper pitched another brilliant game in the circle to improve to 8-0 on the season. The senior allowed just four hits, walked three and struck out one to lower her ERA to a stingy 1.29. Cooper has yet to lose a decision in her collegiate career.
Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) extended her hitting-streak to nine with a pair of hits in game two for the Thunder.