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The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 12, 2017 4:50 pm

Trine softball to championship round


The Trine softball team defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater 6-3 Friday to advance to the championship round of the NCAA Division III Whitewater (Wisconsin) Regional.

A five-run third inning powered the Thunder. Kaylee Fox hit a towering three-run blast to cap the inning after the Thunder took advantage of a couple Warhaw errors. Nicole Ferraro also homered for Trine. Danielle Ray earned the win with the complete-game effort. The Thunder advanced to Saturday's championship round with the win and improved to 34-8 overall.

The game was scoreless into the top of the third before Ferraro worked a leadoff walk to jumpstart the rally. Back-to-back sacrifice bunts by Emily White and Makenna Hartline led to two Warhawk errors. Ferraro raced around to score from second on White's sacrifice bunt, as the throw to third was wide and down the line. Hartline's sac bunt scored Lainey McCue from third.

That set the stage for Fox, who sat on an 0-1 offspeed pitch and crushed a three-run homer to left. The homer was Fox's 16th of the season, moving her into a three-way tie for second in a season in program history. Fox previously tied that mark during her freshman season in 2015. The junior now has 47 RBI on the season, tied for seventh in team history.

The Warhawks rallied back in the fourth and fifth innings to cut their deficit to 5-3.

Wisconsin-Whitewater threatened to score more, but Michaela Hartline tracked down a fly ball that looked ticketed for extra-bases with a running catch at the fence in right-center. Hartline nearly doubled the runner off first with the throw. Ray then induced a groundout to end the inning.

Ferraro's homer in the top of the sixth gave Trine more breathing room. The freshman connected on her third homer of the year to dead center to make the score 6-3. Ferraro had a hit, a walk and two runs scored. The Thunder have hit six home runs in the regional, five of which have come from the freshman class.

Carly Bachna made a key defensive play in the sixth. With a runner on first, the shorstop tracked down a soft liner down the left field line with a diving catch behind third base.

Ray earned her second consecutive regionals victory with another complete game effort. The freshman threw 110 pitches, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits, walked two and struck out three. She improved to 18-3 on the season. Her 18 wins are tied for seventh in a season in the team record books.