Weekly Notes Games 15-18: Ferris State at Cornerstone; vs. Grand Valley State

March 25, 2009

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    Dates/Start Times: Thursday (March 26) at Grand Rapids, Mich. - 3:30 p.m. (EDT) & 5:30 p.m. (EDT); Sunday (March 29) at Big Rapids, Mich. - 12 p.m. (EDT) & 2 p.m. (EDT)
    Gametracker LogoGametracker Links: at Cornerstone; vs. Grand Valley State-Game 1; vs. Grand Valley State-Game 2
    Radio Broadcast: None.
    March 29 Game Promotion: Free t-shirts and hot dogs.

    FSU Softball FSU Softball At A Glance: The nationally-ranked Ferris State University softball team, which has been idle since March 14, will resume action on the diamond this week with four scheduled contests. The Bulldogs begin the week's action this Thursday (March 26) against the Cornerstone Golden Eagles in a non-conference doubleheader at Grand Rapids, Mich. Game time will commence at 3:30 p.m. (EDT). FSU then opens up the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) portion of its 2009 slate this Sunday (March 29) with a pair of outings versus the Grand Valley State Lakers at the FSU Softball Field in Big Rapids, Mich. First pitch for the twinbill opener is set for 12 p.m. (EDT) with game two to follow about 20 minutes following the conclusion of the opening tilt.

    The 2009 Season: Ferris State is currently 12-2-0 overall with all of its action taking place at the Florida Rebel Spring Tournament (March 7-14) in Kissimmee, Fla. The Bulldogs are 12-2 at neutral sites, 0-0 at home, and 0-0 on the road this season to date.

    Cornerstone was 15-7 overall this season entering Wednesday's (March 26) rescheduled non-conference doubleheader against local rival Mercyhurst at Gannon University Field in Erie, Pa. The Golden Knights are among other teams receiving votes in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 25 poll released March 19.

    Grand Valley State is 18-5 overall this season and is midst a 12-game winning streak. The Lakers will entertain Northwood this Thursday (March 26) in a GLIAC doubleheader at Allendale, Mich., before traveling to Ferris State this Sunday (March 29).

    The Coach: Ferris StateKeri Becker (Saginaw Valley State, 1995), 12th season, 360-229-1 (.611) – (6-0-0 vs. Cornerstone, 11-16-0 vs. Grand Valley State). Becker, the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State Softball history, has guided the Bulldogs to three (1998, 1999, and 2008) NCAA Division II National Softball Championship Tournament appearances. The 1998 squad placed third nationally while the 1999 team set a school record for single-season victories (46 total). The 2008 squad tied for fifth-place honors after capturing the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional title. Becker, who has been recognized as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) Coach of the Year three times (1997, 2003, and 2008) was a member of the 2008 National Fastpitch Coaches Association's (NFCA)/NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Coaching Staff of the Year.

    2009 GLIAC Coaches Preseason Poll: Ferris State has been picked as the favorite to win the 2009 GLIAC Regular-Season Championship as the Bulldogs took six of the 10 first-place votes and finished with 78 total points in the 2009 conference preseason poll. The top billing in the preseason coaches poll is a first for Ferris State since the poll debuted in the 2002 campaign. Prior to this season, FSU's highest placing in the poll was in 2006 when the Bulldogs received a second-place 88 total points and three first-place votes. Each of the GLIAC's 10 head softball coaches ranked each of the conference teams, but weren't allowed to vote for their own squad. The first-place team on each ballot received nine points while the second-place team earned eight points, etc.

    The All-Time Series: Ferris State is 6-0-0 versus Cornerstone and 31-72-0 against Grand Valley State.

    37th Season – The 2009 campaign represents the 37th season of varsity competition for the Ferris State Softball program. The Bulldogs are currently 717-636-3 overall (.529) since the program’s inception in 1973. During that period, FSU has compiled 16 20-plus win seasons, including three consecutive (1997-99) 40 or more victory campaigns.

    A Season Ago vs. Cornerstone/Grand Valley State – Ferris State swept a regular-season doubleheader against Cornerstone last season (4/7) in Big Rapids, winning 5-0 in the opener and prevailing 13-2 in a second game five-inning encounter. The Bulldogs claimed a pair of conference home wins over 15th-ranked Grand Valley State a season ago (4/16), posting 2-1 and 1-0 victories versus the Lakers.

    National Ranking – Ferris State is presently listed sixth nationally in the latest (3/25) 2009 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll. The Bulldogs, who received 283 points in the poll, had been listed seventh in the previous two polls (3/11 & 18).

    GLIAC Openers – The Bulldogs are 3-6 in GLIAC-opening contests dating back to the 2000 season. Ferris snapped a three-game losing streak in such encounters a season ago (3/29) with a 4-2 home triumph over Gannon. Prior to that tilt, the Bulldogs had dropped their previous three conference openers to date, which includes a 5-0 loss at Grand Valley State a season ago (3/28). FSU sports a 6-10 mark in league-opening doubleheaders dating back to 2000.

    Home Openers – Ferris State has won five of its last nine home openers since the 2000 campaign. A season ago (3/29), the Bulldogs claimed a 4-2 decision over Gannon in game one and also produced a 5-0 win in the nightcap. FSU sports a 11-6-1 mark in home-opening doubleheaders since 2000.

    Flamethrower – Senior pitcher Sarah Mueller’s (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia) 10 strikeouts in consecutive appearances versus Upper Iowa (3/12) and Minnesota Duluth (3/13) at the Florida Rebel Spring Tournament matched a career single-game high. Mueller previously fanned 10 batters in four innings against Aquinas in the 2007 season (4/18).

    Swinging A Hot Stick – Junior designated player Rhea Flores (Dearborn Heights/Southgate Anderson) has hit safely in 10 of her 11 outings this season and is midst a current four-game (3/13-14) streak with a base hit apiece in those four contests. Flores, who’s batting a team-high .359 average with a squad second-most 14 hits in 39 at bats this spring, has accumulated three multi-hit game performances this campaign.

    Early Success – The Bulldogs have outscored their opponent a combined 32-10 in the first four innings of a contest, which includes a 14-4 margin in the fourth frame alone. FSU has currently generated 64.0% (32-50) of its scoring output in those initial four innings this season.

    National Preseason Ranking – The Bulldogs were ranked sixth nationally in the 2009 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll. FSU finished the 2008 season ranked tied for fifth place in the NFCA’s final poll with a 164 points total. Ferris State received 311 points in the 2009 preseason poll, which was released Jan. 28.

    2008 Was Great – The Ferris State softball team concluded the 2008 season with a 35-18 overall record, which featured a first-place tying 16-4 GLIAC regular-season mark. The Bulldogs captured the 2008 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tourney title in the program's fifth regional tourney appearance. FSU then went on to place in a tie for fifth at the NCAA-II Softball Championships in its third such appearance on the national stage. Ferris State's 35 victories in the 2008 campaign represented the program's highest single-season wins total since 1999 when the Bulldogs compiled a school-record 46-18 overall record.

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