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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University softball team officially earned a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament berth as the Bulldogs closed the regular-season with a league home split against Purdue Northwest on Sunday (April 29) at the FSU Softball Field.
With the split, the Bulldogs will now advance to the conference tournament set for Friday thru Sunday, May 4-6, in Sandusky, Ohio. The official matchups and pairings will be announced by the league office soon.
In the opener, the Bulldogs rallied by scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 9-8 win. The victory, combined with a Wayne State loss at Saginaw Valley State, clinched a tourney berth for the Bulldogs. The Pride, though, came back to earn the split with a 3-0 decision in the nightcap, snapping FSU's three-game win streak.
Ferris State jumped out to an early lead in the opener with two runs in the first and built a 3-1 lead going into the fourth before Purdue Northwest responded. The Pride surged ahead 8-3 with two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and four in the top of the sixth. FSU got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth and then produced four runs, including the game-winner, after holding PNW off the board in the Pride's final at-bat.
In the seventh, the Bulldogs got a two-run homer from third baseman Lexi Hongisto to pull back within a run. After leftfielder Emily Smith singled to get on base, she moved to second on a walk from shortstop Logan Fleming and scored the tyiing run on an RBI single from catcher Emily Reed. Fleming scored the winning run on first baseman Sarah Meredith's RBI sacrifice fly to close the game win walk-off fashion.
Along with Hongisto's homer, the Bulldogs got a triple and a double from Fleming, who produced two RBI's. Reed and Meredith also joined Fleming and Hongisto by driving in two runs with centerfielder Paige Kortz notching a single RBI. Reed finished with a game-high four hits while designated player Lexee Summers and Fleming both had three. Smith, Kortz and second baseman Kodi Ramirez each had a pair of hits as the Bulldogs totaled 19 to 12 for the Pride.
Sophomore Abby Highway earned the victory in the circle by allowing only four earned runs on 12 hits with four strikeouts and a walk in seven complete innings. A trio of Purdue Northwest pitchers combined to give up nine runs on 19 hits with two K's and two walks.
In game two, Purdue Northwest broke a scoreless tie with a run in the fourth and then added one more in both the fifth and seventh innings while totaling eight hits. Pitcher Samantha Burgard earned the shutout victory as she allowed only six Bulldog hits and struck out nine in the seven innings of work.
FSU senior Sam Bates allowed only a pair of earned runs on eight hits in the seven-inning setback while walking two and striking out one.
Offensively, the Bulldogs got a double from Kortz. She had two hits as did Ramirez while Meredith and rightfielder Katie Scheuer each had one.
Ferris State closed the regular-season with a 17-29 overall record and went 11-19 in GLIAC action, including a 7-5 home mark this season. The Bulldogs finished the regular-season by winning nine of their final 14 games to reach the conference tournament.
Stay tuned for official matchups and information regarding the 2018 GLIAC Tournament.