LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Trine softball team has climbed to No. 4 in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 poll, released this morning.
A 6-0 performance since the last poll, including wins over ranked opponents Messiah and Luther, propelled the Thunder to a jump from last week's No. 10 ranking. Trine received votes totaling 176 points in the poll. Last week, the Thunder defeated then-No. 4 Luther (now No. 9) and then-No. 6 Messiah (now T-11th) as part of an undefeated week. Trine owns a 16-0 overall record, the team's longest unbeaten streak to start a season in program history.
Trine is one of two undefeated teams in the nation, and the only unbeaten ranked in the poll (Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ranked No. 24 but hasn't played). The only other unbeaten to have played is East Mennonite (12-0 and unranked).
In addition to two wins over currently-ranked opponents, Trine owns victories over Transylvania, Illinois Wesleyan and DePauw, all of which are receiving top 25 votes. The team also defeated Cortland, which was ranked No. 19 at the time of the matchup.
The Thunder have been one of the nation's most prolific slugging teams so far this season, ranking second in Division III in home runs per game and 20th in slugging percentage. Trine has belted 22 home runs in 16 games, a rate of 1.38 per game. The Thunder are slugging .517 as a team, with five players slugging .500 or better.
Leading the power surge have been Kaylee Fox (Vemilion, Ohio / Edison) and Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) with seven home runs apiece. Fox is one homer from moving into a tie for second in career homers in team history. Fox homered six times in the Rebel Spring Games. Hartline has hit seven homers and knocked in a team-high 22 runs in her debut campaign. Fox and Hartline are tied for fourth in the nation in home runs, while Hartline ranks 28th in RBIs.
Freshman Carly Bachna (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) has contributed five home runs to rank 14th in the nation. Bachna is batting a team-best .393.
Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) is coming off a strong week in the circle that resulted in MIAA Pitcher of the Week honors. The freshman went 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA and three saves last week. Included among her performances were complete game victories over nationally-ranked foes Luther and Messiah.
Trine will host Anderson (Ind.) in the home opener this Saturday, Mar. 25. First pitch at SportONE/Parkview Softball Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.