Ferris State University softball's Lainee Clay (Wheelersburg, Ohio) picked a great time to record her first collegiate home run with a three-run roundtripper to lead the Bulldogs past Saginaw Valley State, 9-7, in the second game of a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader at SVSU's Cardinal Field in University Center, Mich.
Clay, who compiled two hits in three at bats with four RBIs and two runs scored, accounted for all of Ferris State's runs in the three-run fifth with a two-out homer as the Bulldogs increased their lead to 9-3. Junior outfielder Stephanie Dusendang's (Comstock Park/Rockford) double started off the inning and after two outs, sophomore designated player Lindsey Pettit (Portland) was hit by SVSU relief pitcher Jade Fulton prior to Clay's game-winning extra-base hit.
Saginaw Valley State accounted for the game's final four runs, including three in the top of the seventh, to draw within 9-7 but Ferris State's Dana Bowler (Lockport, Ill.) was able to get the final out with two runners on despite suffering some damage in the final frame. Bowler improved to 9-5 this spring with the decision as she allowed eight hits and four runs while fanning three and issuing two walks in 4.1 innings.
The Cardinals appeared on their way of gaining a split in the twinbill by tallying once in the second and twice in the third to claim a 3-0 lead prior to the bottom of the fourth inning. That's when Ferris State went to work as the Bulldogs erupted for six runs with four hits and were aided by two SVSU errors. Lainee Clay doubled in the inning's first run and after Jade Fulton came in relief of starter Alexa Gehris (8-3), sophomore outfielder Morgan Kramerich (Crest Hill, Ill./Lockport) singled and went to second on a throwing error which allowed two Bulldogs to cross home plate. Junior third baseman Makenzi Peterson (Big Rapids) then stepped up with two outs and drove a Fulton pitch beyond the left centerfield fence for a two-run homer giving Ferris State a 6-3 advantage.
Ferris State continued adding to its lead in the next inning as Lainee Clay went yard for the first time in her collegiate career as the Bulldogs picked up three more runs.
The Bulldogs and Cardinals combined for 26 hits in the contest as Morgan Kramerich generated three of the FSU's 10 base hits. Lainee Clay and Makenzi Peterson also chipped in with two hits apiece. Ferris State would leave four runners on the basepaths while Saginaw Valley State stranded 11 runners.
Ferris State, which has won five straight to date, evened its season record to 13-13 and improved to 10-4 in the GLIAC's North Division. Meanwhile, Saginaw Valley State dropped to 23-10 overall and 10-4 in conference divisional play with the loss.
The two teams will square off again this Sunday (April 10) in a GLIAC doubleheader at University Center, Mich. The opening pitch for game one is at noon (EDT) with the second game to follow around 2 p.m. (EDT).
Notes: Ferris State has registered five home runs in eight April appearances after smacking seven roundtrippers in 18 March contests . . . . Dana Bowler has been credited with the win in each of the Bulldogs' last four outings to date . . . Lainee Clay's four RBIs in the tilt represents a career game-high, bettering her three RBIs in a game-two win over Lake Superior State (April 8) . . . Makenzi Peterson continued her torrid hitting pace by recording a hit for the ninth game in a row and has a presently racked up 16 hits during her nine-game hit streak . . . Lindsey Pettit has now hit safely in her last five outings while collecting a combined seven hits in that span.