Rachel Wade
Rachel Wade's two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning helped key Ferris State's win in its conference tourney opener. (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

A three-run six inning proved crucial for the nationally sixth-ranked Ferris State softball team as the Bulldogs held on for a 6-4 victory over Northwood this Friday (May 1) morning in the opening round of the 2009 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Softball Championship Tournament in Midland, Mich.

The third-seed Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a leadoff home run by junior designated player Rhea Flores (Dearborn Heights/Southgate Anderson). Her solo blast over the left field fence marked her team-leading sixth of the season.

Northwood, the tourney's sixth seed, would take the lead in the top of third with a pair of runs on three hits off junior pitcher Kayle Stevenson (Holland/West Ottawa). The Timberwolves tallied their first score on a RBI groundout and scored again on a single through the left side of the Bulldog infield.

However, Ferris State would answer in its bottom half of the third frame to go up 3-2. Sophomore shortstop Lynsay Weaver (Bay City/All Saints) drew a leadoff walk and would advance to all the way to third after sophomore outfielder Rachel Wade (Canton) reached on a fielder's choice. Wade proceeded to move to second on a throwing error as Weaver took third base. Weaver then proceeded to score on a wild pitch by NU pitcher Alicia Brandenburg's to tie the game at 2-2. Junior second baseman Amanda Harrington (St. Joseph/Stevensville-Lakeshore) followed with a run-scoring single thru the infield's right side to give FSU a one-run lead (3-2).

The Bulldogs then put three more runs on the scoreboard in the sixth inning on one hit and a Northwood error. The key hit came off the bat of Rachel Wade, who delivered a two-out single up the middle to score two FSU runners. Ferris' final run was unearned as Lynsay Weaver, who was stationed at third base following Wade's two RBI base hit, scored on a Timberwolves' infield miscue.

Northwood was able to narrow the gap to a pair of runs in its final inning thanks to a two-run home run by Tiffany Melgoza over the right centerfield fence with no outs. But, Stevenson settled down to get the two straight outs before issuing a walk. Stevenson was then able to strike out Andrea Martin for the contest's final out to cap a complete-game performance. Stevenson fanned three batters and walked one while improving her season record to 11-0.

The top five batters of the FSU order accounted for all of the team's six hits as Amanda Harrington went 2-for-4 with a RBI. The Bulldogs were outhit by an 11-6 margin and stranded six runners on base to Northwood's 10 baserunners.

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