GREENCASTLE, Ind. -- Freshman Lexi Clark (Niles, Mich. / Edwardsburg) came up with the clutch two-out, two-strike single in the bottom of the seventh bringing in two runs to give the Trine University softball team their first win of the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championship. The walk-off hit gave the Thunder the 4-3 victory over Maryville (Tenn.) College.
The Thunder struck first in the contest with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Junior Victoria Porter (Canton, Mich. / Canton) reached base on a fielder's choice and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning junior Claire Ryan (Union Grove, Wis. / Union Grove) blasted a ball back up the middle bring Porter in all the way from second.
Trine held the 1-0 lead until the top of the fourth inning, before giving up a run to the opposition on a wild pitch. Maryville would have brought in another run in the inning if it were not for a strong defensive effort from Ryan. She came from her position at second into foul territory to record the second out and then fired a bullet to home to keep the opposition from tagging up.
Ryan would record another impressive defensive play in the top of the fifth by fielding a groundball with a diving effort before throwing out the runner at first. The play would end up being a crucial one as the Scots took the 2-1 lead later in the inning with a solo home run later in the inning.
The Thunder's next offensive threat came in the bottom of the sixth when they loaded the bases behind two hit by pitches and a single. Freshman Lexi Ayers (Logansport, Ind. / Logansport) pinch hit with two outs and drew the RBI walk to tie the game at two.
Maryville was quick to respond coming up with a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to take back the lead 1t 3-2.
In the bottom of the seventh Trine once again loaded the bases with two outs on the board, this time behind a single and two walks. Clark would come to the plate in the situation and watch two strikes go passed her. The third did not as she came up with the clutch hit up the middle bringing in two runs and giving the Thunder the 4-3 victory in walk-off fashion.
Junior Hannah Kampmann (St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin Derham Hall) started the game in the circle but left the game in the top of the seventh with a no-decision. She finished her game with four strikeouts.
Senior Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich. / Farwell) finished the game for Trine getting the last three outs of the game, allowing no runs on one hit, a walk and a strikeout.
The Thunder improve to 31-6 following the victory. They will take on the winner of today's other contest between Saint Vincent College and host DePauw University.
Be sure to check the regional website for information on future contests.