Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University softball squad officially opened the 2018 season on Sunday (Feb. 25) as the Bulldogs played a pair of highly-contested regional games in an event hosted by the University of Indianapolis in Westfield, Ind.
The Bulldogs got their first two games of the season in on Sunday, but fell short against both Bellarmine (Ky.) and host Indianapolis of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. While FSU was playing its first contest of the year, both of the opposing teams had seen significant action already with Bellarmine playing its 10th contest and Indy taking the field for the 12th time this spring.
In the opener, FSU took Bellarmine to extra innings before the Knights escaped with an 8-7 win in nine innings of action. Ferris State outhit BU 13-7 in the field but had nine errors in the opening game of the year.
Ferris State was led at the plate in the opening game of the day by sophomore first baseman Sarah Meredith and senior catcher Emily Reed as both had three hits each. Left fielder Kayla Chamberlain drove in two runs for the Bulldogs while center field Paige Kortz along with third baseman Sawyer Wightman, second baseman Lexee Summers, Meredith and Reed each had an RBI.
Summers also totaled two hits in the game with FSU drawing doubles from Chamberlain, Meredith and Wightman.
Bellarmine took an early 3-1 lead following the first inning before the Bulldogs knotted the game up in the fourth. BU scored the next three runs to take the advantage again, but Ferris State had a four-run sixth inning to grab a 7-6 edge. However, Bellarmine put a run on the board in the bottom of the seventh and then eventually got the winning run on a walk-off RBI single in the ninth.
The Bulldogs' Hannah Leppek hurled six innings of action and allowed five runs on six hits with a single strikeout. Senior Sam Bates tossed two innings and gave up only two runs on two hits with a walk for the Bulldogs. The Knights utilized three different pitchers in the victory with Madeline Kurtz getting credit for the decision despite giving up nine hits and three runs with 12 K's.
In the nightcap against the host Greyhounds, Indianapolis scored three runs in the third and limited FSU to only four hits in a 3-1 triumph. The Bulldogs allowed six hits, but had only one error in the second game of the day.
The Bulldogs' hits in the second outing came from Summers, Chamberlain, Bates and Reed. The lone RBI came from Summers while FSU also notched three stolen bases from Summers, Emily Smith and Katie Scheuer.
Sophomore pitcher Abby Highway threw all seven innings and had one walk and one strikeout in the setback.
Ferris State will be back in action on Monday (Feb. 26) as the Bulldogs wrap up the opening weekend event with two more contests. FSU will face Indianapolis again in a rematch at 1 p.m. (ET) before wrapping up the regional action versus Southern Indiana starting at 3 p.m. (ET).