Ferris State Softball Opens NCAA National Tourney Play On Friday

Midwest Regional Tournament Central
Tournament Bracket (PDF)

Big Rapids, Mich. - Two of West Michigan's biggest rivals will collide in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Softball Tournament on Friday (May 10) as Ferris State visits nationally ninth-ranked Grand Valley State for the opening round of the national tournament in Allendale.

The region's seventh-seeded Bulldogs and number two-seeded Lakers will square off in the second regional contest on Friday at 2:30 p.m. (ET) at the GVSU Softball Field.  The Midwest Region's third seed, Missouri-St. Louis, faces sixth-seeded Southern Indiana in the opening game at 12 p.m. (ET).

GVSU will offer a live audio broadcast for both of Friday's games along with a live video webcast of all tournament games on Saturday and Sunday in addition to live internet statistics.  Complete links and tournament information are available on the regional tournament website at this link: 2013 Midwest Region Tournament Central

The Midwest Regional #2 tournament hosted by GVSU will be a double-elimination format with each team guaranteed to play on both Friday and Saturday.  The first-round winners meet on Saturday morning (May 11) at 11 a.m. (ET) with the losers squaring off against each other in an elimination contest at 1:30 p.m. (ET). The title round is set for Sunday (May 12) starting at noon.

The Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament seven previous times with FSU's last appearance in 2009 representing its fourth trip over a five-year span.  Ferris State reached the title game of the sub-Midwest Regional Touranment in '09. Previously, Ferris State won back-to-back Great Lakes Regional Tourney titles in 1998 and 1999 before winning the regional again in 2008.  Overall, the Bulldogs have made previous NCAA appearances in 1982, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

FSU owns a 29-14 overall record to date this year and placed second behind GVSU in GLIAC regular-season action with a 20-6 overall record under first-year head coach Marie Foster.  Ferris State has presently won nine of its last 11 contests overall after closing conference regular-season play on an eight-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Lakers are currently 39-6 overall this campaign and posted a first-place 24-2 league record.  Earlier this year, Grand Valley State swept the Bulldogs in two close regular-season meetings by scores of 4-2 and 1-0 in Allendale on April 7.  GVSU was ranked ninth in last week's Division II national poll and earned GLIAC Tournament runner-up honors this past weekend in Findlay, Ohio.

Missouri-St. Louis and Southern Indiana are both out of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. UMSL holds a 39-11 overall record while USI is 29-20 on the year. In their only meeting this season, UMSL defeated Southern Indiana, 3-1 and 16-1, on Mar. 16 in Evansville, Ind. Ferris State did not play Missouri-St. Louis this year, but did face Southern Indiana early in the campaign at the Florida Rebel Spring Games and came out on the short end of a 4-0 decision (March 13) in Kissimmee, Fla.

In addition to the regional event hosted by Grand Valley State, the region's top overall seed, nationally top-ranked Indianapolis, will also host a four-team regional over the weekend. The Greyhounds face Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament champion and eighth-seeded Wayne State in round one with fourth-seeded Lewis (Ill.) and fifth-seeded Ashland also in the Indianapolis sub-region.

The winners of this weekend's two four-team regional tournaments will advance to the NCAA Midwest Super Regionals set for May 17-18 at the site of the highest remaining seed for a best-of-three showdown. The winner of the super regional then moves on to the NCAA Elite Eight set for May 23-27 at the Moyer Complex in Salem, Va.

KEY BULLDOG NOTES:

The 2013 campaign represents the 10th consecutive season in which the Bulldogs have won at least 24 games and posted a winning record.  FSU is a single win away from notching its 30th victory this campaign, which would represent the program's 11th season with 30 or more wins in a year.

FSU and GVSU have met twice previously in NCAA Tournament action with the Bulldogs recording an 11-2 triumph over the Lakers in a six-inning game at the 1999 NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tourney in Allendale.  The Lakers came back to record a 6-4 win over the Bulldogs in the 2007 Great Lakes Regional at Romeoville, Ill.

Ferris State senior pitcher Dana Bowler is two wins shy of tying for the most career pitching victories in Bulldog history.  She has 62 career wins to date and is two away from Nadine Crowl's school all-time mark of 64 wins in a season.  Bowler already ranks as the school's leader with more than 600 career strikeouts.

Additionally, Bowler needs only two wins to match Crowl's school single-season record of 23 wins established in 1998.  She broke the school single-season record in strikeouts this year and enters the regional tournament with 206 K's on the season.

Senior ace pitcher Dana Bowler (Lockport, Ill.) was a first-team all-conference player and also tabbed as the GLIAC's Pitcher of the Year for her accomplishments this season.  In addition, junior utility player Amy Dunleavy (Canton) and senior catcher Liz Hamming (Hudsonville) were recognized as second-team all-league selections while senior second baseman Lainee Clay (Wheelersburg, Ohio) was an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention pick along with sophomore shortstop Michelle Tononi (Clinton Township).

Bowler was chosen as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II National Pitcher of the Week after picking up the win in seven of FSU's eight victories to wrap up the conference regular-season.

Ferris State senior outfielder Morgan Kramerich has started all 187 games of her collegiate career to date for the Bulldogs.

FSU's talented senior class includes Bowler, Hamming, Clay, Kramerich along with first baseman Lindsey Pettit, pitcher Emily Carlson and infielder Allison Webber.

The Bulldogs' Amy Dunleavy was named to the 2013 Capital One Division II Academic All-District IV First Team for her accomplishments both on the diamond and in the classroom. A year ago, Dunleavy was honored as a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Midwest Region Second Team selection for the 2012 campaign.

First-year head coach Marie Foster played collegiately at Division I Western Michigan and previously was the head coach for four years at Dakota Wesleyan University where she built a competitve program with teams that set numerous school records.  Before becoming a head coach, she worked as an assistant coach at several levels of competition.

Freshman Alyssa Smith holds a team-leading .342 batting average heading into the regional tournament with a squad-best 40 hits and 23 runs scored in 117 at-bats this campaign.

Dunleavy has compiled a team-high 38 RBI's to go with 39 hits and 30 runs scored while hitting .317 this season.  She has also posted the team's second-most pitching wins with an 8-4 mark to date this season inside the circle.

Bowler ranks second in the nation for the Bulldogs this season with 13 shutout wins.  She's also 15th in earned run average (1.21) along with 20th in hits allowed (4.63), 23rd in strikeouts (207) and 29th in victories (21).

Below are the game times for the GVSU regional:

Friday, May 10
Game 1 - #3 Missouri-St. Louis (39-11) vs. #6 Southern Indiana (29-20), 12:00 p.m.
Game 2 - #2 Grand Valley State (39-6) vs. #7 Ferris State (29-14), 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 11
Game 3 - Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 11:00 a.m.
Game 4 - Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 1:30 p.m.
Game 5 - Loser of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 12
Game 6 (Championship game) - Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5, 12:00 p.m.
Game 7 (Championship game, if necessary) - Same teams as above, 2:30 p.m.

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