Wilmington's Amanda Crockett leadoff home run in the bottom of the fifth inning proved to be the difference as the Ferris State University softball team suffered a 2-1 loss in its 2011 season opener this Saturday (March 5) morning at the Florida Rebel Spring Games Tournament held in the Osceola Sports Complex at Kissimmee, Fla.
Ferris State, which falls to 0-1 this spring, finished the contest with four hits while Wilmington (1-0) recorded six hits in what represented the first-ever matchups between the two schools.
The season-opening tilt was scoreless through the first two innings before Ferris State went up 1-0 in the top of third frame. Sophomore center fielder Morgan Kramerich (Crest Hill, Ill./Lockport) drew a one-out walk and would eventually reach third base following a base theft of second. The Bulldogs would put runners at the corners with two outs as a result of senior catcher Rachel Mueller (Milford/Santa Clarita Valencia) earning a base on balls. FSU tallied its lone run when Amanda Crockett's throwing error allowed Kramerich to score from third on Mueller's successful stolen base attempt.
Wilmington would even the score up at 1-1 in the bottom half of the third as shortstop Christin Headley's one-out solo shot off freshman pitcher Amy Dunleavy (Canton) cleared the right centerfield fence.
Ferris State had an opportunity to tally the go-ahead run in the fifth inning as Morgan Kramerich reached second base on a leadoff base hit down the left field line. However, Kramerich would eventually be called out on a steal attempt of third base to end any hopes of netting a run. The game-winning hit would occur in the bottom of the fifth when the Wildcats' Amanda Crockett took an offering by Amy Dunleavy and smacked a home run beyond the right centerfield fence to the go-head run.
The Bulldogs would get one more scoring chance in the top of the sixth. Junior first baseman Chelsea Morris (Jenison) advanced all the way to third base with one out after starting the inning with a single to center field. Morris moved over to second base on a passed ball and a 'Cats wild pitch allowed her to third. Unfortunately, junior second baseman Makenzi Peterson (Big Rapids) would line into a double play to conclude the inning.
In the seventh, Wilmington was able to retire the Bulldogs in order as pitcher Heather Karasek (1-0) picked up the win with five strikeouts and four walks in seven innings of work.
Morgan Kramerich along with senior right fielder Colleen Roney (Wheaton, Ill./Glen Ellyn Glenbard South), Chelsea Morris, and Lindsey Pettit (Portland) all collected a base hit for Ferris State, which stranded six runner on the basepaths.
Amy Dunleavy (0-1) took the loss in her collegiate debut by giving up two earned runs and five hits in the first four innings before yielding to sophomore Dana Bowler (Lockport, Ill.), who scattered one hit and struck out one batter in two innings of relief.
Notes: Ferris State is now 8-7 in season-opening contests under head coach Keri Becker dating back to 1997 . . . Dana Bowler is one strikeout shy of moving into a 16th-place tie with Roxanne Abramouski (1978-80; 120 career strikeouts) among FSU's all-time pitching strikeout leaders . . . FSU's game against Wilmington (Del.) represented the 2011 season opener for both teams and the first-ever meeting between the two schools.