TYLER, TEXAS— Brooke Powers homered and drove in three runs to lead Montclair State to a 3-1 victory over Trine in the Thunder's first game of the 2014 NCAA Division III Softball National Championships at Suddenlink Field.
Powers led off the sixth-inning with a home run and added the game-winning two-run single in the seventh to lead the Red Hawks to the win. Kendra Marshall (Leesburg, Ind./Warsaw) homered to lead the Thunder offensively. All-American pitcher Alex Hill picked up the victory for Montclair State, throwing 100 pitches and holding Thunder to just five hits. Trine will fall to the elimination round, where they will face East Texas Baptist tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. EST (1:30 p.m. local). Montclair State advances to face Tufts, who defeated ETBU in earlier action on Thursday.
Powers led off the top of the sixth with a solo homer to dead center to get the Red Hawks on the board. The Hawks also threatened to extend the lead in the inning, putting a runner on third with none out. After a pair of groundouts, Haleigh Daniels (Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton) made a big-time time play to range up the middle and throw out the runner to keep the score at 1-0.
That lead wouldn't last long, as Marshall answered immediately with a solo bomb to left-center to lead off the bottom of the frame. The homer was the sophomore's third of the season and was the latest of clutch postseason hits that also included a walk-off RBI-single in the Super-Regional.
That set the stage for the game-winning Red Hawks rally in the seventh. A lead-off walk drawn by Melany Zeller set the table, while Katie Muglia reached on a fielder's choice bunt as the throw went to second late. A sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position with one out.
After a Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood) strikeout, Powers beat out an infield single up the middle as both runners scored to provide the final 3-1 margin.
Hill picked up the victory to improve to 31-4 on the season. The senior threw 100 pitches, allowing an earned run on five hits and striking out five.
Trine is no stranger to elimination games this postseason, having previously needing to win three-straight win-or-go-home games to win the Angola Regional.