Softball Holds On To No. 6 National Ranking

Softball Holds On To No. 6 National Ranking

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Trine softball team held on to its No. 6 national ranking in this week's National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 poll.

The Thunder received votes totaling 160 points to match last week's total. The team has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation this year. Last week, Trine swept MIAA foe Albion in a pair of five-inning, run-rule shortened wins. The Thunder own an overall record of 26-2 and have a 7-1 record in conference play. The team has defeated three currently-ranked opponents - Luther (No. 4), Messiah (No. 9) and Cortland (T-No. 18).

Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) is riding one of the best stretches of pitching in school history. The freshman has not allowed a run in her last 35.2 innings pitched. Ray has tossed five shutouts during that stretch. Her five shutouts rank 16th in the nation, while her 1.14 ERA ranks 36th. Ray owns a 12-0 record and has struck out 101 batters in 92 innings pitched.

Five homers in the doubleheader sweep of Albion helped Trine hold on to the national lead in home runs per game at a rate of 1.5 per contest. The team has hit 42 home runs in 28 games, led by Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) with 11 homers. That total is tied for fourth in the nation. Fox needs two home runs to tie Andi Gasco's (2010-13) team career home run record of 42.

Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) ranks 10th in the nation with nine home runs, while fellow freshman Carly Bachna (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) has hit eight homers to rank 21st in the nation. Trine freshmen have provided 24 of the team's home runs this year. The team's .554 slugging percentage ranks fourth in NCAA Division III.

Trine enters the final two weeks of the regular season one game out of first place in the MIAA. The Thunder are part of a three-way tie for second place with Saint Mary's and Alma. All three teams sit one game behind Hope in the race for the conference title. Trine plays all three teams in the final two weeks of the season.

The Thunder will be looking to win at least a share of a sixth-straight MIAA championship. The winner of the regular season title earns the right to host the MIAA Tournament, May 4-5.

Trine hosts Saint Mary's Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at SportONE/Parkview Softball Field.