Pitcher Jennifer Sexton limited the Ferris State University softball team to three hits as North Alabama spoiled the Bulldogs' season opener with a 5-0 victory this Friday (Feb. 19) in the first day of the Alabama-Huntsville Charger Chillout at Wilson Morgan Park in Decatur, Ala.
The outcome was certainly not the kind of opening Ferris State had hoped for as the Bulldogs fall to 0-1 on the season with the non-conference setback to North Alabama (2-4 overall).
Sexton, who evened her record to 2-2 this spring for the Lions, scattered three hits and registered nine strikeouts in a complete-game performance. For Ferris State, senior southpaw Kayle Stevenson (Holland/West Ottawa) received the starting assignment in the pitching circle and would also go the seven-inning distance as she gave up six hits, four earned runs, five walks, and fanned six UNA hitters.
Ferris State's initial hit didn't come until the bottom of the third inning when freshman left fielder Morgan Kramerich (Crest Hill, Ill./Lockport) delivered a two-out bunt single to third base. Neither team was able to score until the top of the sixth inning when North Alabama scored three times on three hits and a Bulldog error to take a 3-0 lead. The Lions would add two more in the next inning on three hits with a two-RBI double off Kathryn Young's bat accounting for both runs.
The Bulldogs' other two base hits would occur on a single to left field by senior center fielder Rachel Wade (Canton) in the bottom of the sixth and a leadoff double in the seventh from junior catcher Rachel Mueller (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia). FSU ended the game by stranding three runners on the basepaths in the bottom half of the seventh frame.
Notes: Ferris State is now 8-6-0 in season openers under head coach Keri Becker . . . FSU's series against North Alabama is now even at 1-1-0 . . . The Bulldogs entered this season listed among other teams receiving votes in the 2010 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 Preseason Poll . . . Kayle Stevenson's loss in the season opener already matches her total setbacks a season ago as she compiled an impressive 12-1 mark in the pitching circle in 19 appearances.