Bulldogs To Make Program's Third National Championship Tournament Appearance

Click Here For 2008 NCAA Division II Softball Championship Tournament Bracket PDF

Keri Becker
Ferris State head coach Keri Becker will be taking the Bulldogs to nationals for the third time in her 11 seasons at the school.
The Ferris State University softball team hopes the third time is the charm as the Bulldogs will be making the program's third-ever national championship tournament appearance this Wednesday (May 14) afternoon at the 2008 NCAA Division II Softball Championships in Houston, Texas.

The Bulldogs placed third nationally in their NCAA-II Softball Championships debut in 1998 at Pensacola, Fla., and then followed with a sixth-place finish at the 1999 national tournament in Salem, Va.

Ferris State, which claimed its third NCAA-II Great Lakes Region title in school history this weekend (May 7-11) in Edwardsville, Ill., will face the Francis Marion (S.C.) University Patriots this Wednesday in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament. The contest, which represents the first-ever meeting between the two schools, is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m. (CDT) weather permitting and is among four first-round matchups.

Ferris State and Francis Marion are joined in the national tourney by Lock Haven (Pa.), C.W. Post (N.Y.), Emporia (Kan.) State, Barry (Fla.), St. Edward's (Texas), and Humboldt (Calif.) State. Games will be played May 14-17 at Memorial Park. Starting times for the initial three rounds are 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. (CDT) from Wednesday (May 14) through Friday (May 16). The winner of the Ferris State-Francis Marion will take on the winner of the tourney's opening tilt between Barry (Fla.) and St. Edward's (Texas).

The national softball championships are being held as a part of the 2008 NCAA Division II National Championships Festival with champions being crowned in men's and women's golf, softball, women's lacrosse and men's and women's tennis. The championships are being hosted by the The Harris County - Houston Sports Authority and Rice University.

Ferris State, which is currently 34-16 overall this season under 11th-year head coach Keri Becker, were the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) regular-season co-champions with a 16-4 league mark. The Bulldogs have won 10 of their last 12 outings, including four consecutive to date. Junior pitch Holly Bruntjens was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tourney and was joined on the all-tournament team by junior outfielder-pitcher Sarah Mueller.

NCAA Festival The nationally unranked Bulldogs will face a Francis Marion team which won the South Atlantic Regional after defeating North Georgia College and State University, 1-0, this past Saturday (May 10) evening in Pembroke, N.C. The Patriots, coached by Stacey Johnson Vallee, was the regional tourney's fifth seed and this spring marked their first-ever appearance in the NCAA-II South Atlantic Regional. FMU improved to 38-14 overall this campaign with the second and final regional championship game decision. Sophomore pitcher Michaela Wolf, who threw her second straight four-hit shutout in the title contest, was selected as the regional's Most Outstanding Player while senior first-third baseman Monica Wofford and junior designated player Jessie Alesi were all-tournament team members as well.

Francis Marion, which is listed among others receiving votes in the latest (May 7) National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 Poll, is making its NCAA-II national tourney debut as the Patriots' previous national experience were four NAIA World Series appearances in the 1980's.

All of the 2008 NCAA Softball Championship games will feature live in-game scoring and can be viewed online at www.ncaa.com/softball.

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