Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University softball team officially opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action on Saturday (March 23), but came out on the short end in a doubleheader versus Ashland at Brookside Park in Ashland, Ohio.
The host Eagles took game one by a close 6-5 score after scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out the victory. In game two, Ashland exploded for five runs in both the second and third innings en route to registering a 11-1 decision in five innings of action.
In the opening game of the conference twinbill, Ferris State broke a 1-1 tie by scoring four runs in the top half of the fourth inning. Ashland made it a three-run game with a single run added in the fifth and held FSU scorless over the final three innings before putting up the four runs in the bottom of the final inning.
Senior Dana Bowler suffered the game one setback for the Bulldogs in the circle despite striking out six batters and walking only four. She allowed eight hits and six runs over six and two-thirds innings of action.
Offensively, senior outfielder Morgan Kramerich scored two Bulldog runs while seniors Lindsey Pettit and Lainee Clay both had two RBI's each. Clay had two hits and walked twice while junior Amy Dunleavy drew four walks to help the Bulldog cause. Michelle Tononi doubled for FSU's only extra base hit as FSU stranded 11 runners on base over the contest.
In the final inning, the Eagles received a two-run homer and the eventual comeback win after a two RBI double to conclude the contest as FSU allowed four runs on three hits with an error in the final frame.
Ashland picked up right where it left off in game two as the Eagles scored five runs in both the second and third innings of action to build a decisive lead before eventually winning the contest in five innings by the run rule.
The Bulldog combination of Dunleavy, Bowler and senior Emily Carlson combined to give up nine hits with three strikeouts and three walks in the nightcap.
FSU's lone run in game two on seven hits was a solo homer from senior Liz Hamming in the bottom of the second inning. Alyssa Smith had two hits to lead the Bulldogs at the plate while Clay, Hamming, Tononi and Taylor Verbic all had a single hit each.
With the two setbacks, the Bulldogs dropped to 7-7 overall this season. Ashland improved to 8-9 overall with the sweep in the league-opening action for both teams.
With her nine strikeouts in Saturday's two games, Bowler also became FSU's all-time career pitching leader with 485 K's to date, which tops previous school record holder Nadine Crowl's total of 481 strikeouts from 1997-00.
Ferris State will wrap up its weekend trip by facing Malone on Sunday (March 24). The series in Canton was moved to Ashland on Friday, but has since been moved back to Malone's home field with the first pitch slated for 2 p.m. (ET) in Canton, Ohio. Game two will follow at approximately 4 p.m. (ET).