Super Regional Preview: Thunder Seeking Second National Championship Bid

Super Regional Preview: Thunder Seeking Second National Championship Bid

ANGOLA, Ind. -- The Trine softball team will be playing for a trip to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship when the Thunder host Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the Angola Super Regional this weekend.

The two teams open a best-of-three series Friday, May 19 at SportONE/Parkview Softball Field on the campus of Trine University. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Game two is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., with the if-necessary game three to follow. The winner of the series moves on to the National Championship in Oklahoma City. The victor would meet the winner of the Amherst Super Regional matchup between Amherst and Ramapo.

Trine (35-8) won its second consecutive Regional title after sweeping through the Whitewater Regional. The Thunder defeated Greenville, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Hope. Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional after earning two victories and a save in the circle. Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison), Michaela Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) and Carly Bachna (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) earned All-Tournament honors.

Wisconsin-Oshkosh (33-11) swept through the LaCrosse Regional to advance to the Super Regional. The Titans defeated the No. 1 seed Wisconsin-LaCrosse twice, including a win in the championship round, and earned a victory over Benedictine (Ill.). Pitcher Sara Brunlieb was named the Most Outstanding Player after compiling a 0.41 ERA in 17 innings pitched. The Regional title was UWO's second in program history and first since the Super Regional format debuted in 2014.

The Thunder will be seeking its second trip to the National Championship. The team won its first Super Regional title to advance to the national round in 2014. Trine is making its third Super Regional appearance in team history. The Titans are making their Super Regional debut and have made one National Championship appearance in program history, which came in 1988.

Five Thunder players were named to the NFCA All-Central Region team Monday. Fox was named to the first team, while Ray, Bachna and Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) earned second team honors. Senior catcher Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) rounded out the team's selections.

The Titans had two players earn NFCA All-Great Lakes Region honors. Sophomore catcher Abby Menting was named to the first team. Junior third baseman Erika Berry was named to the second team. Menting was one of 25 candidates selected for the NFCA Division III National Player of the Year award.

A high-powered offense has been Trine's calling card all season as the Thunder have led the nation in home runs per game in every national statistics ranking since March 23. The team has hit 59 home runs in 43 games, six of which came in the Regional round. Fox's 16 home runs rank second in the nation, one behind the national leader. The Thunder slug .526 as a team, the seventh-best mark in the nation, and rank 17th in scoring at 6.86 runs per game.

Wisconsin-Oshkosh is one of the nation's elite defensive teams, ranking fourth in the country with a .975 fielding percentage. Titan pitchers have posted a 2.16 ERA and 10 shutouts this season. UWO ranks 23rd in the nation in doubles per game and averages 5.39 runs per contest.

The two teams shared five common opponents this season. UWO earned two victories over Wisconsin-River Falls and a single win each over Carroll (Wis.), Hope and Wooster. The Titans also lost a game to Wooster and were swept in a doubleheader against Wisconsin-Whitewater. Trine held a combined 6-2 record against those opponents.

The winner of this weekend's Super Regional will play the opening game of the NCAA Division III Softball National Championship Thursday, May 25 at 11 a.m. (CDT) at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

For more information on this weekend's Angola Super Regional, visit THIS PAGE.

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