Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University softball squad officially opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action on Saturday (March 23), but came out on the short end of a pair of decisions against the Ashland Eagles in Ohio.
The host Eagles won the opener 8-0 in five innings before rallying for a 4-3 victory in a 10-inning thriller in the nightcap.
In the opening game of the league twinbill, Ashland put three runs on the board in the first inning and built a 5-0 lead after two. They later added three runs in the fourth and held FSU off in the fifth to earn the win. The Eagles limited FSU to only a single hit in the game.
Ferris State's lone hit in the opener came from sophomore second baseman Kodi Ramirez. AU pitcher Laney Jones had an impressive game as she struck out five and walked only one while giving up the lone hit in a five-inning shutout.
For the Bulldogs, Abby Highway allowed five runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout in one and one-third innings while Kaitlyn Nugent gave up three runs on three hits with a single strikeout in two and two-thirds of an inning. AU pounded out 10 total hits in the game.
The Bulldogs bounced back, though, to produce 12 hits in game two and owned a 12-8 edge in total hits for the game.
The Bulldogs broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with the game's first run before AU answered in the seventh to tie it up and extend the game to extra innings. Both teams scored once in the ninth before FSU grabbed the lead with a run in the 10th. However, the Eagles got a walk-off, two-run homer in the 10th to pull out the victory.
In the nightcap, center fielder Paige Kortz and left fielder Jessica Tucci both tallied three hits while third baseman Lexi Hongisto had two. Kortz along with outfielder Kylie Winkels and Katie Ross all drove in a run. Hongisto tripled while Kortz had two doubles and both Tucci and Ross had one each in the setback.
For the Bulldogs, Connor Proctor tossed the entire game, giving up four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk in nine and one-third innings. AU's Hannah Stroe threw all 10 frames for the Eagles and allowed only three runs on 12 hits with 13 K's and four walks.
Ferris State will be back in action on Sunday (March 24) as FSU visits Saginaw Valley State for a league doubleheader in University Center, Mich. First pitch for game one is set for 12 p.m. (ET) with the finale slated for a 2 p.m. (ET) start.