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FSU Softball At A Glance: The Ferris State University softball team, which has been idle since March 15, will open Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play this weekend with a pair of doubleheader contests against two Pennsylvania schools at the FSU Varsity Softball Field in Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs take on the Gannon University Golden Knights this Saturday (March 29) in a season home-opening twinbill followed by two games this Sunday (March 30) against the Mercyhurst College Lakers. The opening tilt for both doubleheaders is slated to begin at 1 p.m. (EDT).
The 2008 Season: Ferris State is currently 7-8-0 overall and midst a two-game winning streak after registering an 8-0 non-conference victory over New Haven (Conn.) in a Florida Rebel Spring Tournament contest (March 15) in Kissimmee, Fla. The Bulldogs are 7-8 at neutral sites, 0-0 at home, and 0-0 on the road this season.
Gannon 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.
Mercyhurst sported a 10-8 overall mark this spring prior to Wednesday's (March 26) non-league twinbill versus Gannon in Erie, Pa.
Last Week: The Bulldogs were scheduled to participate in the 2008 Wayne State Invitational last Saturday (March 22) in Detroit, Mich., but wintery conditions and low temperatures forced the tournament's cancellation. The tourney will not be rescheduled. This Wednesday's (March 26) home opener versus Aquinas has also been cancelled due to snow and unplayable field conditions. At this time, the non-conference hasn't been rescheduled.
The Coach: Ferris State – Keri Becker (Saginaw Valley State, 1995), 11th season, 320-217-1 (.596) – (18-6-0 vs. Gannon, 17-4-0 vs. Mercyhurst). Becker, the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State Softball history, has guided the Bulldogs to consecutive (1998-99) NCAA Division II National Championship Tournament appearances. The 1998 squad placed third nationally while the 1999 team set a school record for single-season victories (46 total). Becker has twice been recognized as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) Coach of the Year (1997 and 2003).
2008 GLIAC Coaches Preseason Poll: Ferris State was selected to finish tied for third place in the 2008 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Softball Coaches Preseason Poll with 79 points and one first-place vote. The Bulldogs tied Gannon, which had two first-place votes, for third place honors. Wayne State was tabbed as the conference favorite as the Warriors received 94 points along with four first-place votes. Grand Valley State earned second place in the 11-team poll with 89 points and four first-place votes. Mercyhurst garnered an eighth-place 39 points total.
The Series: Ferris State is 21-9-0 versus Gannon and 21-5-0 against Mercyhurst.
36th Season – The 2008 campaign represents the 36th season of varsity competition for the Ferris State Softball program. The Bulldogs are 677-624-3 overall (.520) since the program’s inception in 1973. During that period, FSU has compiled 15 20-plus win seasons, including three consecutive (1997-99) 40 or more victory campaigns.
A Season Ago – Ferris went 0-2 versus Grand Valley State (4/9) as a result of suffering 6-2 and 4-0 conference losses to the Lakers in Big Rapids. FSU was 2-0 against Lake Superior State (4/18) with 4-0 and 12-4 (five inn.) victories over the Lakers at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
GLIAC Openers – The Bulldogs are 2-6 in GLIAC-opening contests dating back to the 2000 season. Ferris has dropped its last 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 four of its last eight home openers since the 2000 campaign. Last season (4/1), the Bulldogs registered a 5-0 conference victory over Lake Superior State. FSU is 9-6-1 in home-opening doubleheaders since 2000.
Swinging A Hot Stick – Junior first baseman Amanda Jager (Kalamazoo/Comstock) has a team-high five multi-hit games in 15 outings this season. She compiled a squad seventh-best six multi-hit game outings a season ago in 41 contests..
Seeing Double – Senior third baseman Katie Kraai (Zeeland) has moved into fifth place among FSU’s all-time doubles leaders with 37 total to date in 164 career games. Kraai, who has 15 second-base hits this spring, is two shy of tying Theresa Luciow (1993-96) and Emily McLean’s (2003-06) third-place 39 career doubles.
West On A Quest – Junior shortstop McKenzie West (Jenison) is five hits shy of posting the 100th of her career. She has totaled 95 base hits in 331 career at bats in a 111-game span.
Streaking Along – Junior catcher Krystle Bailey (Wyoming/Rogers) is midst a team-best five-game hitting streak and is batting .500 with seven hits in 14 at bats during that five-game period (3/13-15).
Preseason Ranking – The Bulldogs were ranked 25th nationally in the 2008 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll. FSU, which finished the 2007 season ranked 22nd in the NFCA’s final poll, received nine points in the 2008 preseason poll which was released Jan. 30.
Eighth Is Great – Junior pitcher Sarah Mueller (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia) fanned five batters in an 8-4 non-league win over St. Xavier, Ill. (3/15) at the Florida Rebel Tournament to move into eighth place on FSU’s all-time leaders chart past Jennifer Colvin (1999-02; 173 career strikeouts). Mueller, a 2007 GLIAC First-Team pick, earned Daktronics All-America Third-Team and second-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Great Lakes Region accolades a season ago.