Makenzi Peterson
Freshman third baseman Makenzi Peterson prepares to apply the tag in Ferris State's sub-Midwest Regional Tourney opener versus Northern Kentucky. (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

The nationally-ranked Ferris State softball team suffered a 3-0 loss to Northern Kentucky this Friday (May 8) morning in the opening game of the 2009 NCAA Division II Sub-Midwest Regional Tournament at the Saginaw Valley State University Complex in University Center, Mich.

Northern Kentucky relied on the outstanding pitching of April Ehlers, who limited the Bulldogs to only two base hits while striking out nine in recording the complete-game win. While Ehlers did her part for the NKU, the Norse hitters registered seven hits as team.

Ferris State, which is presently ranked 21st nationally in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 25 Poll, struggled offensively primarily due to Ehlers' ability to keep the Bulldog batters off balance due to a variety of pitches.

The second-seeded Bulldogs picked up their first hit of the game in the bottom of the third inning off a leadoff single up the middle by senior outfielder Sarah Mueller (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia). The plate appearance by Mueller represented her first since back in mid-March due to an injury. Ferris' other hit occurred in the seventh when junior designated player Rhea Flores (Dearborn Heights/Southgate Anderson) laced a single up the middle of the NKU infield.

The game was scoreless through the first three innings before the Norse scored twice in the top of the fourth. A two-run home run by Cara Parker, her seventh of the season, with two outs off Ferris senior pitcher Holly Bruntjens (Gladstone) gave the third-seed Norse a 2-0 lead. Northern Kentucky went on to add one more to its run total in the top of the sixth as Parker doubled off the center field fence with one out to score an unearned run for the Norse.

Rhea Flores
Rhea Flores accounted for one of the Bulldogs' two base hits with a seventh-inning single. (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

Bruntjens concluded the day with seven hits allowed and fanned four in a complete-game performance. With the loss, Bruntjens' record fell to 13-8 this season while Ferris State is now 33-9 overall for the 2009 campaign.

FSU is now 15-8 all-time in NCAA regional competition as the Bulldogs are presently making their seventh appearance in the program's history.

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