Big Rapids, Mich. - A three-run homer from senior Amy Dunleavy in the sixth inning lifted the Ferris State University softball team to a win over the Tiffin Dragons and yet another Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) home split on Saturday (April 19) at the FSU Softball Field.
Dunleavy's three-run bomb over the center field fence in the top of the sixth helped the Bulldogs win game two 3-2 after the Dragons had won the opener by a 7-2 score on a mild and partly sunny afternoon in Big Rapids.
The Bulldog senior drove in all three Ferris State runs in the nightcap on a shot immediately following a pitching change. Meanwhile, Bulldog pitcher Cara DeLange won her second consecutive complete-game contest as she allowed only two runs on six hits in throwing all seven innings.
While the Bulldogs finished the day in strong fashion, it was Tiffin which opened the league series off on the right foot. The Dragons scored four runs in the top of the second inning in the opener to build an early lead and then added single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings to hold off the Bulldogs.
In game one, Tiffin's Taylor Spang tossed a five-hitter and allowed only a pair of FSU runs in the bottom of the third while tossing all seven frames. She had seven strikeouts and a single walk.
Meanwhile, the Dragons produced 11 hits at the place, including three home runs in the first game over a temporary-installed fence in the outfield due to wet grounds on the playing surface. The opener included a pair of controversial shots over the short fence. Cassandra Brown, Madison Yanek and Tamara Link all homered for the Dragons with Brown accounting for three RBI's on a team-high three hits overall.
Dunleavy started the opener in the pitching circle for the Bulldogs and allowed five runs on nine hits. Freshman Megan Hiler came on in relief and allowed only a single run on two hits before Stacy Thompson hurled the seventh with a walk and a strikeout to go with one allowed run.
Offensively, Sarah Johnson produced two RBI's for Ferris State in the game one setback on a pair of hits with senior Alex Wittman also notching two hits and second baseman Michelle Tononi coming up with one. Wittman doubled at the plate for FSU, which was outhit 11-5 overall.
In game two, the Dragons picked up right where they left off by scoring both of their runs in the bottom of the first inning before the Bulldogs settled in defensively. Both Payton Denman and Yanek tallied an RBI with Kristin Prokopakis totaling two hits for the Dragons. Both teams recorded six hits each in the nightcap.
After the Dragons' early lead, neither team was able to produce a run until the Bulldogs gained the lead in the top of the sixth. Johnson singled to start the inning before Tononi followed by reaching on an error. Tiffin then moved starting pitcher Yanek to another spot in the infield with Spang coming on to pitch yet again. However, the first batter she faced, Dunleavy, homered over the center field fence to account for three RBI's.
Dunleavy had a team-high two hits in game two with the Bulldogs also receiving single hits from Johnson, Alyssa Smith, Casey Bias and Megan Galganski. In the circle, DeLange struck out four hitters and walked only two for the Bulldogs.
On the Tiffin side, Yanek had four strikeouts as well and walked two on four hits before Spang pitched the final two innings. She allowed two hits overall, including Dunleavy's homer, along with recording two K's and a single walk.
With the split, the Bulldogs now own a 11-13 overall record and are 6-7 in the GLIAC. Tiffin moved to 21-16 overall and 8-10 in league play.
Ferris State continues its lengthy homestand with games three consecutive days beginning on Monday (April 21) at the FSU Softball Field. The Bulldogs host Lake Superior State in a GLIAC doubleheader on Monday starting at 3 p.m. (ET) before entertaining Wayne State for a twinbill on Tuesday (April 22) and Saginaw Valley State on Wednesday (April 23) for a single rescheduled game.