Saginaw Valley State's Nikki Bigelow's home run in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be the difference as the nationally 21st-ranked Ferris State softball team dropped a 1-0 decision to 13th-ranked Saginaw Valley State this Sunday (May 10) afternoon in the championship game of the 2009 NCAA Division II sub-Midwest Regional Tournament at University Center, Mich.
The loss eliminates Ferris State from NCAA postseason action as the Bulldogs conclude the 2009 season at 35-10 overall. Ferris wrapped up another successful campaign as the Bulldogs' season win total this campaign represents a tie for the fourth most victories in the program's history.
The championship game was a pitcher's duel between junior Kayle Stevenson (Holland/West Ottawa) of Ferris State and Saginaw Valley State's Jade Fulton as both hurlers tossed a pair of two hitters. Stevenson, who suffered her first loss of the season in 13 decisions this spring, didn't allow a walk or issue a strikeout while Fulton fanned three and walked two FSU batters. Fulton improved her season mark to 18-5 with the decision.
The contest's initial base hit wasn't recorded until the top of the third inning when sophomore shortstop Lynsay Weaver (Bay City/All Saints) singled through the left side of the SVSU infield. The Cardinals would make their first hit count and in a big way as designated player Nikki Bigelow started off the bottom of the sixth by belting a 1-1 count offering from Stevenson over the left centerfield fence hitting the SVSU scoreboard on the fly.
In the top of the seventh, Ferris State went down in order versus Fulton as senior pinch hitter Shannon Roney (Wheaton, Ill./Glen Ellyn Glenbard South) struck out in the Bulldogs' final plate appearance.
FSU was making its seventh regional appearance in the program's history and its fourth in the last five years.