Softball Earns Come-Back Win Versus Timberwolves With A Two-Run Seventh

Rhea Flores improved to 6-0 in the circle and had the game-winning RBI in Tuesday's 7-6 victory.  (Photo by Sandy Gholston)
Rhea Flores improved to 6-0 in the circle and had the game-winning RBI in Tuesday's 7-6 victory. (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

The Ferris State University softball team appeared on its way of being swept by Northwood in Tuesday's (April 27) second game of a road Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader, but the Bulldogs showed resiliency by overcoming a one-run deficit in their last at bat with a pair of runs in tallying a 7-6 decision over the Timberwolves at NU's Fisher Stadium in Midland, Mich.

Senior Rhea Flores (Dearborn Heights/Southgate Anderson) played an integral role in the come-from-behind victory, both in the pitching circle and in the batter's box.  She limited Northwood to just one hit in the final 3.2 innings to improve her record to 6-0 this season.  At the plate, Flores knocked in the game's winning run with a sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom half of the seventh inning.

The nightcap started out with Northwood scoring twice in the top of the first before the Bulldogs were able to get on the board in the bottom of the third inning when senior outfielder Rachel Wade's (Canton) double down the rightfield line scored junior shortstop Lynsay Weaver (Bay City/All Saints).  The FSU infielder had reached base on a throwing error by the Timberwolves' shortstop and advanced to second base on the miscue before scoring the unearned run.

Northwood maintained its lead but would add to it in the top of the fourth in a big way with a four-run output on three hits to claim a 6-1 advantage.  Senior pitcher Kayle Stevenson (Holland/West Ottawa), this week's GLIAC Pitcher of the Week, ran into trouble in the fourth frame as she gave up a two-run homer to Michelle Boscola and a run-scoring two-base hit to Katherine Johnson.  Rhea Flores was then called upon to relieve Stevenson with no outs and gave up a RBI double by Rachel Hammer before retiring the side.  Flores would proceed to not allow another Northwood base hit for the remainder of the game as she took down the Timberwolves in order the last two innings.

Ferris State proceeded to chip away at the sizeable deficit with a single run in the fourth before putting up a three-spot in the fifth to draw within one run (6-5).  In the fourth with two outs, junior catcher Rachel Mueller (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia) drove an offering by NU starting pitcher Megan Eddy into the right centerfield gap for a double to score Rhea Flores, who was on base as a result of a single.  The Bulldogs continued to build momentum in the fifth frame by erupting for three runs on two hits and were aided by a pair of Northwood errors.  Senior second baseman Amanda Harrington (St. Joseph/Stevensville-Lakeshore) singled down the rightfield line for a RBI and would eventually score an unearned run in the stanza via a Timberwolves' throwing error.  Relief pitcher Jessica Wojcik (8-7) entered the contest at that point and succeeded in getting the next two outs before Rhea Flores smacked the ball through the right side of NU infield to score Ferris' fifth run of the game.

Flores' effective pitching kept Northwood at bay to set up the Bulldogs' seventh-inning heroics.  The rally started as freshman pinch hitter Lindsey Pettit (Portland) batted for Harrington and produced a leadoff single.  Freshman outfielder Morgan Kramerich (Crest Hill, Ill./Lockport) drew an one-out walk to put runners at first and second base.  Sophomore third baseman Makenzi Peterson (Big Rapids) singled home Amanda Harrington, who was inserted back into the lineup for Pettit, as the Bulldogs tied the game up at six apiece.  On Peterson's single, she along with Kramerich advanced a base each to put Ferris in ideal scoring position.  Rhea Flores was successful in converting the winning run with the sacrifice fly. 

Ferris State accumulated eight hits in the contest as six Bulldogs notched at least a hit with two apiece being recorded by Peterson and Flores.   

The Bulldogs, who upped their record to 24-16 overall and are 15-9 in the conference, will visit the Grand Valley State Lakers this Saturday (May 1) for a pair of regular-season finale tilts at Allendale, Mich.  Opening pitch for game one of the GLIAC doubleheader is 2 p.m. (EDT) with the second contest to follow around 4 p.m. (EDT).