The Ferris State University softball team utilized the long ball with five extra-base hits in its Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener this Friday (March 25) afternoon to knock off the Lake Erie Storm, 7-2, in game one of a doubleheader at the Kiwanis Recreation Park in Painesville, Ohio.
Ferris State tallied 11 hits to Lake Erie's eight in the league opener as the Bulldogs improved to 4-9 overall on the season and 1-0 in the GLIAC's North Division. With the loss, Lake Erie dropped its overall record to 5-8 and 0-1 in the GLIAC's South Division.
The Bulldogs broke a scoreless game in the top of the second inning as junior first baseman Chelsea Morris (Jenison) drove a pitch by Lake Erie hurler Sara Shields down the left field line which cleared the fence for her first roundtripper of this season. FSU took its 1-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning where the Storm evened the game up at 1-1 by generating a run on two hits and were aided by a pair of Bulldog errors, including an infield throwing miscue which scored the run.
A four-run fourth inning by Ferris State proved to be the difference maker as the Bulldogs claimed a 5-1 advantage through the initial four frames. In the fourth, Chelsea Morris lead off with a single and then was replaced at first base by freshman pinch-runner Brittney Buti (Niles). Sophomore second baseman Lainee Clay (Wheelersburg, Ohio) drew a one-out walk after a sacrifice bunt had moved Buti to second. With two outs, senior catcher Rachel Mueller (Milford/Santa Clarita, Calif. Valencia) hit a single to left field which scored Buti and advanced to the second base on the throw while Clay ended up at third. Senior shortstop Lynsay Weaver (Bay City/All Saints) proceeded to clear the bases with a three-run homer to left field, her second of the year.
Ferris State continued to swing the bat with efficiency as the Bulldogs added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning as a result of two hits. FSU wasted little time getting to reliever Sam Ronde as senior right fielder Colleen Roney (Wheaton, Ill./Glen Ellyn Glenbard South) ripped a triple down the right field line and scored when junior third baseman Makenzi Peterson (Big Rapids) smacked a two-base hit into the right centerfield gap to make it 6-1. An infield RBI groundout by junior left fielder Stephanie Dusendang (Comstock Park/Rockford) with one out accounted for Ferris' final run of the game.
Lake Erie would score its second and final unearned run off FSU sophomore starting pitcher Dana Bowler (Lockport, Ill.) in the bottom of the fifth inning on an infield throwing error with two outs. Bowler succeeded in evening her record to 3-3 in the circle this spring as she struck out six and walked none in a seven-inning complete game performance. Sara Shields (1-4) started for Lake Erie and took the loss after giving up five runs (all earned) to go with five strikeouts in four innings. Sam Ronde threw the final three frames in a relief and fanned two while allowing six hits and a pair of earned runs.
Chelsea Morris paved the way offensively for Ferris State with three hits in four at bats while Lynsay Weaver, Makenzi Peterson, and Rachel Mueller all chalked up two hits apiece. Weaver's three RBIs lead all players as the Bulldogs left six runners on base to Lake Erie's seven total.
The matchup marked the first-ever meeting between the two teams as Lake Erie joined the GLIAC with the start of this 2010-11 athletics season.
Notes: Chelsea Morris' home run represents the first of her collegiate career . . . Dana Bowler's 157 career strikeouts ranks 13th best all time after surpassing Linda Emmons' (1981-84; 156 career strikeouts) on the school's career leaders list . . . Lynsay Weaver, who has two homers in 13 games this spring and 10 in 151 career outings, has moved into ninth place among the Bulldogs' all-time home run leaders . . . Ferris State improved to 5-7 in league openers dating back to the 2000 campaign and has now won three of its last four GLIAC opening tilts.