Allendale, Mich. – Host Grand Valley State came up with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning after Ferris State University had tied the contest and held the Bulldogs to a single run in the seventh in handing FSU a 8-3 setback in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament on Friday (May 10) at the GVSU Softball Field in Allendale.
The game was delayed nearly two hours after a rain delay stopped the first game of the day between Missouri-St. Louis and Southern Indiana in the four-team regional event. With the setback, the region's seventh-seeded Bulldogs will now face sixth-seeded Southern Indiana on Saturday (May 11) at 1:30 p.m. (ET) in an elimination game.
The Lakers tallied three runs on four hits in the third inning following two scoreless innings of action in the third meeting between the two West Michigan rivals this campaign to take the early lead.
However, Ferris State answered back in the top half of the sixth by scoring three runs on three hits. FSU was also aided by two Laker errors in the frame. Junior Amy Dunleavy scored the tying run by sliding into home plate under the catcher's tag.
But, with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, GVSU's Brittany Taylor hit a two-run homer over the center field fence to push the Lakers back in front. The Lakers eventually scored five runs on five hits in the inning to take a commanding five-run lead into the seventh.
In the final inning, the Bulldogs put a runner on base as freshman Rachael Gabrielson reached on a single and moved to second base. With one out, Morgan Kramerich singled to score Gabrielson and trim the margin to four runs. However, the Lakers were able to close the door and end the game.
The Lakers totaled 12 hits in the game to eight for the Bulldogs, but also had the only two errors of the contest in improving to 40-6 overall this season. They will advance to face Missouri-St. Louis in the winner's bracket on Saturday at 11 a.m. (ET).
Hannah Santora picked up the pitching win for Grand Valley State as she tossed all seven innings and had five strikeouts with a single walk.
Meanwhile, Ferris State senior pitcher Dana Bowler suffered the loss as she threw five and two-thirds innings with six strikeouts and a walk while allowing eight runs on eight hits. Senior Emily Carlson came on in relief and pitched FSU's final out with a single walk.
Offensively, GVSU had five players with two hits each in Nellie Kosola, Briauna Taylor, Brittany Taylor, Emily Jones and Katie Martin. Martin drove in three runs with both Jones and Brittany Taylor accounting for two RBI's each. In addition to Taylor's homer, both Martin and Kayleigh Bertram each had a double.
On the Ferris State side, senior Morgan Kramerich and leftfielder Alex Wittman both had two hits each. Senior Lainee Clay along with Dunleavy, Michelle Tononi and Gabrielson each netted a single hit as Ferris State failed to record an extra-base hit in the game. Kramerich, Dunleavy, Gabrielson and Taylor Verbic each scored for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament seven previous times with FSU's last appearance in 2009 representing its fourth trip over a five-year span. Ferris State reached the title game of the sub-Midwest Regional Touranment in '09. Previously, Ferris State won back-to-back Great Lakes Regional Tourney titles in 1998 and 1999 before winning the regional again in 2008. Overall, the Bulldogs have made previous NCAA appearances in 1982, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
FSU owns a 29-15 overall record to date this year following the setback.
With a win over Southern Indiana on Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs would play again at 4 p.m. (ET) versus the winner of the GVSU-Missouri St. Louis contest.