ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University softball team came away with a pair of wins in their opening homestand against the University of Wisconsin - Platteville.
The first game of the doubleheader was defined by solid pitching on both sides. Junior Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich. / Farwell) pitched an absolute gem for the Thunder, allowing just two runs on three hits while recording five strikeouts. With the win, Saupe improves to 5-0 on the season. For the Pioneers, pitcher Ashton Hoeppner gave the vaunted Thunder offense trouble throughout the game holding Trine to just three runs.
The Thunder scored first in the contest when in the bottom of the third they came away with two runs. The first came on a bases-loaded single to the shortstop by freshman Mercede Daugherty (Watervilet, Mich. / Watervilet). Two batters later a wild pitch brought in senior Emily White (Fortville, Ind. / Mount Vernon) to give the Thunder the 2-0 lead.
Trine would hold on to that lead until the top of the sixth inning when Platteville would drive in two runs of their own to tie the game. The score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when, with the Thunder just an out away from extra innings, sophomore Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) was hit by a pitch and took her free base. Daugherty would come up to bat and fire a blazing double down the rightfield line, just scooting it past the first baseman's outstretched glove. Hartline would race out the long throw home to give the Thunder the 3-2 victory.
The bats got hot for Trine in the second game as they would score at least a run in each inning of the contest on their way to victory. After a one-run first inning, the Thunder blew the game wide open in the bottom of the second plating six to take the 7-0 lead.
Trine looked on the verge of ending the game early as they entered the top of the fifth inning with a 10-2 lead, but the Pioneers found new life scoring five runs to force the game to continue. The Thunder got one back in the in the bottom half and entered the sixth up 11-4.
After holding Platteville scoreless in the top of the sixth, the top of the order came to the plate for Trine. Senior Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) wasted no time taking advantage of an infield playing close for a bunt by dropping a hit just over the shortstop's head. She would score just a few pitches later when Makenna Hartline drove a double to left center. Daugherty would keep the scoring going with a double of her own giving the Thunder the 13-7 lead.
This brought Senior Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison), the team co-leader home runs, to the plate representing the winning run. Fox battled to a full count, before hitting a sharp single to left field scoring the runner on second to give the Thunder the 14-7 lead. Having already pinch ran for Fox earlier in the game, the Thunder looked ready to work their way around the bases the long way for the winning run.
Neither team was prepared for Fox's great decision making on the base path. She scooted her way to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a groundout, before coming home without help from the batter's box by beating out a throw on another wild pitch. The run gave the Thunder the crucial eight-run lead they needed to end the game with the 15-7 win.
Sophomore Hannah Kampmann (St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin Derham Hall) got the start in the contest and pitched well in five innings of work. She was pulled after allowing the five-run fifth to the Pioneers and Saupe pitched spectacularly in relief giving the team a scoreless sixth.
Trine improves to 17-3 following the victories. They will begin MIAA conference play starting in their next contests when they travel to face Alma College on Wednesday, March 28, with first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m.