by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College softball team lost to sixth-ranked and MIAA champion Trine University, 8-1 and 11-6, on Wednesday at Wolters Stadium.
The Flying Dutch (20-10 overall) are now tied for third place in the MIAA standings with Saint Mary's. Both teams have 7-5 league records with four regular-season games remaining. Fifth-place Olivet College (8-6 MIAA) remains in contention for a MIAA Tournament berth as well.
The top four teams in the regular-season standings advance to the MIAA Tournament on Thursday-Friday, May 2-3 at Trine.
Hope plays a doubleheader at Saint Mary's on Thursday, April 25 at 3 p.m. The Flying Dutch hosts Kalamazoo College on Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. for the regular-season finale.
Also, on Saturday, Saint Mary's travels to Adrian College for a doubleheader, while Olivet visits Calvin College.
Against Trine, two big innings from the Thunder proved to be difference.
In Game 2, Hope briefly held a 6-5 lead in the top of the sixth inning after shortstop Savannah Dixon of Niles, Michigan (Edwardsburg HS) smacked a two-run single to center. Right fielder Jordyn Diaz of Naperville, Illinois (Neuqua Valley) and third baseman Shay Pinhey of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Pioneer) scored on the play.
Trine (28-4, 14-2 MIAA) answered with five runs in its at-bat. Makenna Hartline's two-run homer and Taylor Murdock's solo homer in consecutive at bats fueled the comeback.
Dixon finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a RBI triple.
First baseman Kaelin Callow of Plainfield, Illinois (Plainwell) collected two hits and an RBI.
In Game 1, Trine struck for a five-run top of the sixth to break open the game.
Second baseman Arinn King of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) drove in Hope's run with a third-inning double that knocked in Pinhey.