Big Rapids, Mich. - After more than two weeks off, the Ferris State University softball team finally returned to action on Monday (March 31) as the Bulldogs opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play on the road against Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio.
However, the host Cavaliers pulled out a 2-1 win in the opener in a game that went to the eighth inning and then completed the sweep over FSU with a 6-4 victory in the nightcap.
In the opener, Walsh took a 1-0 lead with a single run in the bottom of the fourth frame to break the scoreless deadlock. The Bulldogs answered in the top of the seventh with a run of their own to force the extra frame, but WU pushed a run across in the bottom of the inning to pull out the win.
Walsh outhit FSU 7-5 in game one and was aided by three Bulldog errors in the field. Two of the errors came in the bottom of the eighth at the WU Softball Complex where weather was in the 50's with sunny skies.
The Bulldogs were led at the plate by Taylor Verbic, who doubled and also scored FSU's lone run of the opening game. Freshman Casey Bias accounted for FSU's only RBI. She had two hits as did sophomore outfielder Alyssa Smith.
Senior Amy Dunleavy hurled the first six innings in the circle for the Bulldogs and allowed only a single run on six hits. She also struck out two batters before giving way to Stacy Thompson, who suffered the setback despite tossing only one and one-third innings with a single hit and run allowed.
In game two, the Cavaliers scored a single run in both the first and second innings to build a 2-0 lead before FSU cut the margin back to one with a single score in the fourth. However, Walsh answered in the top of the fifth with three more run to take a 5-1 advantage, but FSU battled back with two runs in the bottom of the frame and another in the sixth to trim the margin to 5-4 heading into the seventh.
In the seventh inning, Walsh scored once more to take a two-run lead and held off FSU in the bottom to account for the final score. Despite the loss, the Bulldogs outhit Walsh 7-4 in game two and had only a single error in the field.
Dunleavy doubled and drove in two runs for Ferris State in the nightcap while FSU also received single RBI's from Sarah Johnson and Bias. Smith, Johnson, Dunleavy along with Michelle Tononi and Rachael Gabrielson all had a hit for FSU in the game with Bias leading the way with two in the game. However, FSU left eight runners on base in the finale.
Freshman Megan Hiler pitched four and one-third innings for the Bulldogs while allowing five runs on three hits. She struck out three and walked three in the contest. Cara DeLange tossed two and one-third innings of work with a hit and run allowed in addition to two walks and two K's. Thompson pitched one-third inning.
With the two setbacks, Ferris state fell to 5-8 overall this campaign. The two games marked FSU's first action since playing their final two contests at the Florida Rebel Spring Games on March 14. Walsh improved to 13-10 this season and 3-3 in the GLIAC with the two victories.
Ferris State will play another league doubleheader on Tuesday (April 1) versus Lake Erie. The two-game set will also take place at the Walsh Softball Complex in North Canton starting at 10 a.m. (ET).
Following Tuesday's action, Ferris State is scheduled to return home and will play its initial two home games of the year on Saturday (April 5) versus rival Grand Valley State at the FSU Softball Field if weather and field conditions permit. Opening pitch for game one is scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids.