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Titans, Thunder To Clash In NCAA Super Regional

Titans, Thunder To Clash In NCAA Super Regional

UW-Oshkosh continues its run at the 2017 NCAA Division III Softball Championship in the super regional round against nationally ranked Trine University (Ind.) this weekend (May 19-20) in Angola, Ind.

The super regional format, which debuted in Division III in 2014, is a best-of-three game series. The Titans and the Thunder begin the Angola Regional with a single game at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Friday (May 19) at Trine University's SportONE/Parkview Softball Field.

The Angola Super Regional series concludes on Saturday (May 20) with a contest at 1 p.m. (EDT) and a potential second championship game at 3:30 p.m. The eight super regional winners earn the right to play at the Division III World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., on May 25-30.

UW-Oshkosh (33-11) and Trine University (35-8), which will be meeting for the first time, both earned trips to the super regionals by winning all three of their games at the La Crosse and Whitewater regionals, respectively, last weekend (May 11-14).

The Titans, who received one of 20 at-large berths to the Division III tournament, placed third in the WIAC standings and fourth in the conference tournament.

The Thunder, ranked 22nd by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, joined UW-Oshkosh in receiving an at-large berth to the NCAA field. Trine University finished fourth in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) standings before falling, 10-2, to regular season champion Alma College (Mich.) in the league tournament title game.

The Titans won their second regional title and first since 1988 with victories of 2-0 over Benedictine University (Ill.), and 4-2 and 8-3 against host UW-La Crosse. UW-Oshkosh, making its seventh NCAA postseason appearance, has a 13-13 record in the national tournament.

The Thunder, who claimed their second straight regional championship, opened regional play with wins of 12-1 over Greenville College (Ill.) and 6-3 over host UW-Whitewater before ousting MIAA rival Hope College (Mich.), 6-3, in the final game. Trine University, making its 10th consecutive Division III championship trip, sports a 24-19 record in the national postseason.

UW-Oshkosh finished sixth at the 1988 World Series while Trine University placed a program-best sixth at the 2014 national championship. Last year, the Thunder went 0-2 as hosts of a super regional, falling to University of St. Thomas (Minn.) by scores of 9-5 and 2-1.

The Titans enter the super regional round ranked fourth in the country with a .975 fielding percentage while Trine University leads the nation with 1.37 home runs per game and lists seventh with a .526 slugging percentage.

UW-Oshkosh, which scores 5.4 runs per contest, has a .311 batting average and a 2.16 earned run average. The Titans, who have notched 10 shutouts on the season, own a 29-2 record when holding teams to fewer than four runs this year.

Trine University is hitting .314 and scoring 6.9 runs per game and sports a 2.68 earned run average. The Thunder, who have scored at least 10 runs in 11 contests this season, are 11-7 on the year when scoring fewer than six runs.

The Titans are led by a trio of All-WIAC first team selections in sophomore catcher Abby Menting, junior third baseman Erika Berry and senior pitcher Sara Brunlieb. Menting was named to the All-Great Lakes Region First Team by the NFCA and Berry garnered Second Team recognition.

Menting and Berry share the team lead with five home runs while Menting also paces UW-Oshkosh with a .369 batting average, 24 walks, a .607 slugging percentage and a .473 on-base percentage. Berry, who was selected to the All-La Crosse Regional Team, has a team-leading 47 hits, 79 total bases and six stolen bases.

Brunlieb, who garnered Most Outstanding Player honors at the La Crosse Regional, has compiled a 14-5 record with a 2.17 earned run average and 107 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched.

Joining Berry and Brunlieb on the All-La Crosse Regional Team were Titan freshman outfielder Natalie Dillon, freshman shortstop Natalie Dudek and sophomore first baseman Kaitlyn Krol.

Dillon is hitting .348 this year while Dudek is batting .317 and Krol .331 with a team-leading 31 runs batted in. UW-Oshkosh freshman utility Claire Petrus is hitting .357 with a team-best 15 doubles, and sophomore outfielder Emma Fionda leads the squad with 36 runs scored while hitting .304.

Rounding out the Titan pitching staff are sophomore Bailey Smaney, junior Clare Robbe and Petrus. Smaney has a 7-1 record with a 2.16 earned run average, Robbe is 6-4 with a 2.75 ERA and Petrus is 6-1 with four saves and a 1.41 ERA.

Trine University's prolific offense is spearheaded by freshman shortstop Carly Bachna, junior first baseman Kaylee Fox, senior catcher Catherine Porter and freshmen outfielders Michaela Hartline and Makenna Hartline.

Bachna is hitting a team-leading .388 with 12 home runs and 42 runs batted in while Fox has a .357 batting average and a squad-best 16 homers and 47 RBIs.

Porter hits .320 with five home runs and 30 runs batted in. Michaela Hartline is batting .323 with six homers and Makenna Hartline has a .308 batting average, 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and a team-high 44 runs scored.

In the pitcher's circle, Thunder freshman Danielle Ray has accounted for more than half of the team's 277.1 innings pitched. Ray sports an 18-3 record with a 1.87 earned run average and 146 strikeouts in 145.2 innings of work.

Completing the Trine University pitching staff are freshman Hannah Kampmann and sophomore Kate Saupe. Kampmann has a 13-4 record with a 2.69 earned run average and Saupe is 4-1 with a 5.33 ERA.

Trine University had five players named to the NFCA's All-Central Region Team. Fox received First Team accolades while Bachna, Makenna Hartline and Ray were selected to the Second Team, and Porter was tabbed to the Third Team.

UW-Oshkosh and Trine University shared four common opponents this season – Hope College, The College of Wooster (Ohio), UW-River Falls and UW-Whitewater. The Titans had a 4-3 record by a combined score of 30-29 against the quartet while the Thunder produced a 4-2 mark with a combined score of 39-25.

Trine University defeated Hope College (5-3 score), The College of Wooster (11-1), UW-River Falls (12-1) and UW-Whitewater (6-3). The Thunder also lost a doubleheader to Hope College by scores of 3-0 and 14-5.

UW-Oshkosh downed Hope College (6-5), The College of Wooster (6-2) and swept a doubleheader over UW-River Falls by scores of 4-2 and 6-1. The Titans lost to The College of Wooster, 4-3, and suffered a doubleheader sweep to UW-Whitewater, 9-4 and 6-1.

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