Ferris State Upsets No. 24 Lewis In Extra Inning Thriller

Morgan Kramerich's two-RBI triple in the eighth inning represented the game-winning hit.  (Photo by Eric Carlson)
Morgan Kramerich's two-RBI triple in the eighth inning represented the game-winning hit. (Photo by Eric Carlson)

The all-time series between the Ferris State University softball team and Lewis has featured highly-competitive, tight-scoring contests and this Monday's (March 7) matchup was no exception as the Bulldogs score three runs in the eighth inning and then held on to upset the nationally 24th-ranked Flyers, 7-6, at the Florida Rebel Spring Games Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.

Ferris State, which improves to 3-3 overall this season as a result of the win, battled back and forth with Lewis in a game which featured four lead changes and three ties.

Lewis would send the game into extra innings on account of tallying the tying run in the bottom half of the seventh inning off FSU starting pitcher Dana Bowler (Lockport, Ill.), who would eventually earn the win in improving her season record to 2-0.

The eighth inning featured a combined five runs and four hits by both teams, but Ferris State was able to put three runs on the board for what would prove the difference.  With two outs and a runner on second base due to the international tie-breaker rule, the Bulldogs stepped up at the plate in a big way.  Junior left fielder Stephanie Dusendang (Comstock Park/Rockford), who turned in three-of-four hitting performance, singled down the left field line to score senior catcher Rachel Mueller (Milford/Santa Clarita Valencia) from second base with the go-head run.  The next batter, sophomore center fielder Morgan Kramerich (Crest Hill, Ill./Lockport) took a pitch from Lewis' Diana Pickrum and smacked the ball down the right field line for a two-RBI triple as the Bulldogs lead 7-4 going into the bottom of the eighth.

Lewis would narrow the gap to one run by scoring twice in the eighth on a pair of hits and a Bulldog error.  A RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Sarah Hurley accounted for the first score and a Ferris State infield error was able to keep the inning alive for the Flyers, who would outhit the Bulldogs 11-9 in the game.  With two outs, Traci Freitag delivered an infield single to score Lewis' second run of the inning and get to within a run at 7-6.  The Flyers set up a game-tying run opportunity as leadoff batter Jayme Hefler, who had reached base on the FSU error, stole second and would advance to third on the throw during Freitag's infield base hit.  But, Dana Bowler was able to entice Michelle Vucsko into a game-ending ground out to secure the dramatic win.

The Bulldogs produced single runs in the first two innings and lead 2-1 until the bottom of the fourth when Lewis pushed a single run across home plate to even up the contest.  Ferris' initial run of the came was unearned due to a Lewis infield error and Stephanie Dusendang belted a RBI double in the second for the second run.

In the top of the fifth, Ferris State snapped the 2-2 tie by scoring twice on three base hits.  Junior third baseman Makenzi Peterson (Big Rapids) accounted for the first score with a two-out RBI double to left center field and then junior first baseman Chelsea Morris (Jenison) followed by singling down the left field line to score Peterson.  The Flyers would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning before tying the game in the seventh with another run.

Stephanie Dusendang and Morgan Kramerich paced the Ferris State hitting attack with three hits each.  Kramerich along with Makenzi Peterson and Stephanie Dusendang also recorded two RBIs apiece as the Bulldogs notched three extra base hits and left eight runner on base. 

Garnering the win for FSU was Dana Bowler, who fanned five and scattered 11 hits in eight innings within the pitching circle.

The Bulldogs are idle this Tuesday (March 8) before returning to action on Wednesday (March 9) afternoon with encounters against Northern Kentucky and Bellarmine (Ky.).  Ferris State will face Northern Kentucky at 3 p.m. (EST) proceeded by a 5 p.m. (EST) matchup versus Bellarmine in Florida Rebel Spring Games Tournament competition at Kissimmee, Fla. 

Notes: Stephanie Dusendang's six hits in six games this season is one shy of equalling her career single-season high of seven set in 19 contests for the 2009 campaign . . . Dana Bowler's 133 career strikeouts is two shy of tying Jenna Thiede (2004-07; 135 strikeouts) for 15th place on FSU's all-time strikeout leaders . . . Morgan Kramerich, who has three multiple-hit games and a current six-game hitting streak, is batting a team-best .417 average (10-24) to date this season.