A four-run sixth inning by the Ferris State University softball team was all the Bulldogs needed to break open a four-all tie and hand the Hillsdale Chargers a 9-4 loss in game one of Saturday's (April 30) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader at HC's Williams Field in Hillsdale, Mich.
Ferris State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, thanks to a three-run homer run off the bat of junior first baseman Chelsea Morris (Jenison). Morris, who increased her team-leading home run total to nine roundtrippers this spring, belted a one-out offering by Hillsdale starter Kellie Hirst (3-10) for an early three-run cushion.
The Bulldogs proceeded to up their advantage to 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning as senior catcher Rachel Mueller (Milford/Santa Clarita, Calif. Valencia) lead off with a solo home run, which marked her first of the game and of the 2011 campaign.
Ferris State maintained its four-run lead until the bottom of the fifth when Hillsdale erupted for four runs on as many hits and were aided by two Bulldog errors in the frame. The key Hillsdale run-scoring hit came with two outs when designated player Becca Strother singled to center field to score three runs after a fielding error accounted for the Chargers' initital score of the contest. FSU was able to avoid any futher damage as sophomore pitcher Dana Bowler (Lockport, Ill.) fanned Teresa Patterson with Hillsdale runners on first and second base.
The scored didn't stay tied for long thanks to Rachel Mueller, who lead off for the second time with a solo home run to put Ferris State ahead 5-4. Mueller's game-winning hit, which marked her second homer of this season, was the start of a four-run sixth-inning outburst. Chelsea Morris' would not only tally a two-RBI single in the frame, but also scored the Bulldogs' fourth run within the stanza on a wild pitch.
A solo shot by sophomore second baseman Lainee Clay (Wheelersburg, Ohio) with one out in the seventh inning provided an insurance run for Ferris State, which produced 10 hits while Hillsdale generated eight in the opener. The roundtripper represented the fourth of the game and the second on the season for Clay.
Four Bulldogs registered multiple hits with senior outfielder Colleen Roney's (Wheaton, Ill./Glen Ellyn Glenbard South) three leading the way. Chelsea Morris, Rachel Mueller, and Lainee Clay all collected two hits each while Morris' five RBIs was tops among all players in the contest.
Dana Bowler (13-9) earned the win for Ferris State as she struck out eight and walked two in a complete-game effort.
Ferris State finished the game with nine runners left on base while Hillsdale stranded eight on the basepaths.
The Bulldogs improved their overall record to 19-20 and are now 16-11 in GLIAC's North Division with the win, which represented their third in a row to date.
Notes: Ferris State's 31 home runs this season ties for the second most in the program's history, equalling the 2005 team's output. The 2007 Bulldogs belted a school-record 33 roundtrippers in 48 games . . . Chelsea Morris' nine home runs this spring moved her into a four-way tie for second place on FSU's single-season leaders list. She's one shy of tying Jody Gifford's 10 roundtrippers set in the 1998 campaign.