ANGOLA, Ind. — Lainey McCue‘s walk-off RBI single gave Trine a 7-6 victory over Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the opening game of the NCAA Division III Softball Angola Super Regional.
McCue’s single up the middle scored pinch-runner Rene Finn (Clinton Township, Mich. / Chippewa Valley) from second base with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. The Thunder had to fight back from an early 3-0 deficit after the Titans scored three in the top of the first inning. Trine improved to 36-8 and enters tomorrow’s action needing one win to secure a bid to the NCAA Division III Softball National Championship in Oklahoma City. UW-Oshkosh would need to win twice tomorrow to secure the national bid. UWO is 33-12 on the year.
The Titans struck first with three in opening frame. After loading the bases with one out, an infield RBI-single by Claire Petrus opened the scoring. Amanda McIlhany followed with a RBI-single to make the score 2-0. The final run of the inning scored on a wild pitch.
The Thunder began to chip away at the lead with two runs in the bottom of the third. Trine took advantage of some uncharacteristic defensive miscues by UWO to plate the first run on an error. Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) followed with a RBI-single off the first baseman to cut the score to 3-2.
Four walks resulted in a Wisconsin-Oshkosh run in the top of the fourth. Abby Menting coaxed the bases-loaded free pass with two outs to increase the Titans’ lead to 4-2.
Trine answered with a single run in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff single by McCue started the rally. Emily White (Fortville, Ind. / Mount Vernon) advanced McCue to second with a sacrifice bunt before Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) lined a RBI-single to center to cut the score to 4-3.
The speed of Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) helped the Thunder produce the next scoring to give Trine the lead. As a pinch-runner, Robles beat out a throw to second on a comebacker to the mound to put two on with none out. A sac bunt by Porter moved two into scoring position. Robles’ speed factored in once again as she forced an errant throw to the plate on a ground ball by Nicole Ferraro (North Royalton, Ohio / Holy Name). Robles scored from third, and Carly Bachna (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) was also able to score.
Later in the inning, White singled off the pitcher with two outs to score Ferraro and make the score 6-4.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh rallied to tie the score in the top of the sixth. Menting struck with two outs after a rain delay, launching a two-run homer to center. Menting had two hits, two runs scored and three RBIs for the Titans.
Trine’s winning rally began with a dropped fly ball that put a runner on second with none out in the seventh. After a walk drawn by Ferraro, McCue ripped a single to center to score Finn from second and give the Thunder the win.
McCue had two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Thunder. Porter added two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Hannah Kampmann (St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin Derham Hall) picked up the victory with 3.1 innings of relief. She allowed two earned runs on one hit.
Sara Brunlieb was tagged with the loss for UWO. She fell to 14-6. Three Titan errors led to six unearned runs in the game. Wisconsin-Oshkosh entered the weekend with the fourth-best fielding percentage in the nation.
Tomorrow’s games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. A Thunder win would result in the team’s second trip to the NCAA Division III Softball National Championship. Wisconsin-Oshkosh would need two wins to advance to the national round. The if-necessary game would take place a half hour after the conclusion of game one.
The winner of the Angola Super Regional will face Amherst Thursday, May 25 at 11 a.m. CDT at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. Amherst defeated Ramapo in the Amherst Super Regional.