ALMA, MICH. – The nationally ranked Trine University softball team started off conference play picking up a win over host Alma College, but will need to finish off an extra innings comeback tomorrow to come away with a sweep, with the second game being halted due to darkness.
The Thunder ran away with the first game, scoring runs in each of the first four innings on their way to a run-rule win after five. The scoring started in the top of the first for Trine when freshman Mercede Daugherty (Watervilet, Mich. / Watervilet) came away with a two-run homer in her first at bat of MIAA conference play.
After adding a lone run in the second the Thunder entered the third up 3-0. Sophomore Claire Ryan (Union Grove, Wis. / Union Grove) would double the lead with one swing of the at bat, tallying three RBIs with her second homer of the season.
Trine finished off the scoring in the fourth adding four runs with RBIs being credited to four different players in the inning. The 10-0 lead would be enough for the win following a scoreless fifth inning. Ryan led the way offensively for the Thunder tallying four RBIs in the game. Daugherty finished second by plating three runners with two extra base hits in the game.
In the circle, junior Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich. / Farwell) was once again spectacular. She allowed just two hits in the game and recorded the five-inning shutout victory for her sixth win of the season.
The second game appeared to be destined to be a pitching duel with only one run being scored in the first three innings. Alma came away with that run in their first at bat when they took advantage of a throwing error for the 1-0 lead.
The Thunder changed the shape of the game when they exploded offensively in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) started the scoring with a leadoff homer and Trine kept their foot on the gas going through the order in the inning. When the third out finally came the Thunder were in the lead 6-1.
Unfortunately, Thunder pitching began to give up runs of their own and the Scots pulled themselves back into the game. It took four runs in the top of the seventh, but Alma tied the game at seven and retired the side in the bottom half of the inning to force extra innings.
The opposition kept up their offensive barrage scoring four runs in the top of the eighth to take a commanding 11-7 lead.
Just three outs away from defeat, with darkness closing in around them, the Thunder came up to bat. The leadoff batter failed to reach for the Trine, but the next four succeeded, scoring two runs along the way to bring the score to 11-9.
At that point the game was halted due to darkness. The game will resume tomorrow, March 29 at 6 p.m.
With the single win of the day the Thunder improve to 1-0 in the MIAA and 18-3 overall. Their next scheduled games come on Friday, March 30, when they will take on Olivet College in their conference home opener with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.