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FSU Softball At A Glance: The Ferris State University softball team will be making its sixth NCAA Division II Regional appearance this week (May 7-11) as the Bulldogs compete in the 2008 NCAA-II Softball Great Lakes Regional Tournament at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Ill. Ferris State is seeded sixth in the eight-team tourney field and will face third-seed Saginaw Valley State this Thursday (May 7) in its regional opener at 9:30 a.m. (CDT). The double-elimination tourney is being conducted at SIUE's Cougar Field.
2008 NCAA-II Great Lakes Region Tournament Field:
#1 seed Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (45-9 overall)
#2 seed Lewis (37-16 overall)
#3 seed Saginaw Valley State (34-15 overall)
#4 seed Wayne State (33-16 overall)
#5 seed Indianapolis (37-26 overall)
#6 seed Ferris State (30-16 overall)
#7 seed West Virginia Wesleyan (50-18 overall)
#8 seed West Virginia State (41-14 overall)
The 2008 Season: Ferris State is currently 30-16 overall and were the 2008 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Regular-Season Co-Champions with first-place tying and school record-tying 16-4 conference mark.
Last Week: Ferris State registered a third-place 3-2 record at the double-elimination 2008 GLIAC Softball Championship Tournament in Midland, Mich. The Bulldogs recorded a 3-1 decision over Mercyhurst in its tourney opener last Friday (May 2) before falling to Saginaw Valley State, 10-4, on Saturday (May 3). Ferris avoided elimination by notching a 3-1 victory against Gannon and a 7-4 triumph versus Ashland last Saturday (May 3) before bowing out of the tournament with a 3-2 loss to nationally-ranked Wayne State (May 3).
The Coach: Ferris State – Keri Becker (Saginaw Valley State, 1995), 11th season, 343-225-1 (.604) – (19-13 vs. Saginaw Valley State, 22-25-0 vs. Wayne State, 5-1 vs. Indianapolis, 4-8 vs. Lewis, 1-7 vs. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, 1-2 vs. West Virginia Wesleyan, 0-0 vs. West Virginia State). 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 been recognized three times as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (GLIAC) Coach of the Year (1997, 2003, and 2008).
In The NCAA Regionals: Ferris State will be making its sixth NCAA Division II Regional appearance in the program’s history and its third in the last four seasons this Wednesday (May 7) as a result of receiving an at-large bid. The Bulldogs’ most recent regional appearance was in 2007 at the Great Lakes Regional (May 10-13) in Romeoville, Ill. Ferris compiled a 2-2 tourney mark as the Bulldogs started off with a 6-1 triumph over Gannon (May 10) and a 12-4 six-inning victory against Missouri-Rolla (May 11). FSU then was dealt a pair of 6-4 losses by 2007 national champion Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (May 12) and Grand Valley State (May 13) in the double-elimination tourney.
Against Regional Opponents: The Bulldogs have compiled the following all-time records versus the 2008 NCAA-II Great Lakes Region field.
Saginaw Valley State – 35-45; Wayne State – 39-84; Indianapolis – 6-1; Lewis – 4-11-0; Southern Illinois-Edwardsville – 4-11; West Virginia Wesleyan – 1-2; West Virginia State – 0-0.
36th Season – The 2008 campaign represents the 36th season of varsity competition for the Ferris State Softball program. The Bulldogs are 700-632-3 overall (.525) 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.
Seven Bulldogs Named All-GLIAC – Ferris State placed seven players on the 2008 All-GLIAC teams, which were announced last Friday (May 4) at the GLIAC Tournament in Midland, Mich. Junior utility player Sarah Mueller was a repeat first-team selection while junior first baseman Amanda Jager also received first-team kudos after garnering second-team honors a season ago. Senior third baseman Katie Kraai along with sophomore second baseman Amanda Harrington and junior pitcher Holly Bruntjens all collected second-team accolades. Attaining honorable mention laurels were junior catcher Krystle Bailey and freshman outfielder Lynsay Weaver. Bruntjens earned honorable mention plaudits last season while Bailey was a second-team pick.
Doubling Their Pleasure – Ferris State’s 85 doubles this season in 46 games presently represents the third-highest single-season total in the program’s history and this season’s team is one second-base hit away from matching the 2007 squad’s all-time second-place 86 doubles. FSU’s school record is 92 doubles set by the 1998 team.
Post-Season Producer – Katie Kraai, a two-time (2005 & 2007) NCAA-II Great Lakes Region All-Tournament Team selection, is currently hitting for a .524 average (11-21)?in seven career NCAA Tourney appearances. She also has compiled two doubles, two home runs, nine RBI, and a .905 slugging percentage to date.
Jager Hitting Her Stride – Amanda Jager has been a productive performer for the Bulldogs this spring by leading the team in batting average (.382), home runs (seven), RBIs (30), slugging percentage (.659), and on-base percentage (.503). She also has posted a team-best tying 47 base hits this campaign. Her .382 batting average (47-123) not only marks a career season high, but is 81 points higher than her previous season best of .301 (25-83) set as a freshman in the 2006 season.
The 40-Hits Club – The Bulldogs currently have four players with at least 40-plus base hits this season in Katie Kraai (47), Amanda Jager (47), Amanda Harrington (45), and Sarah Mueller (45). The four have combined to produce 51.4% (184-358) of the team’s hits output this spring.
30-Win Plateau – For the second consecutive season and the eighth time in the program’s history, Ferris State softball has reached the 30-win plateau in a single season. The Bulldogs compiled a 31-17 overall ledger a season ago. All but one (1995 – 30-17 overall) of the 30-victory or more campaigns has occurred under coach Keri Becker.
Digging The Long Ball – Ferris State’s 25 home runs this season currently represents the third-highest total in school history and the 2008 Bulldogs are eight away from tying the school record of 33 roundtrippers set by the 2007 squad. Ten diffferent hitters have cleared the fence this spring with Amanda Jager’s career season-best seven homers paving the way. Jager’s seven home runs this season ties her with Emily McLean (2006) for sixth place on FSU’s all-time charts and she’s one shy of moving into a fifth-place tie with Jody Gifford (1997).
Record Holder – Katie Kraai, the lone senior on this season’s team, holds the distinction of being Ferris State’s all-time leader in doubles with a 47-career total. The 2008 All-GLIAC Second-Team pick set the new standard with a two-base hit versus Wayne State (4/25) and was honored as the GLIAC’s Player of the Week (4/28). Her 15 doubles in 46 outings this spring marks a personal career single-season high.
Moving Up The Chart – Sarah Mueller, a two-time (2007-08) All-GLIAC First-Team honoree, has registered a squad-high and career season-best 14 wins (14-6) this season in 20 appearances. The 2007 Daktronics All-America Third-Team and Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Great Lakes Region Second-Team selection, is presently tied for eighth among Ferris’ career single-season wins leaders with Nadine Crowl (1997), Brandy Coe (2000), and Holly Bruntjens (2007).
Dispelling The Sophomore “Jinx” – Amanda Harrington is enjoying her most productive season at FSU this spring with career highs in batting average (.349), hits (45), doubles (12), and slugging percentage (.519). Her .349 average is second highest on the team and is 73 points higher than last season (.276).
Fast Start Is The Key – Ferris State has generated 55.4% (139-251) of its run production this season in the first three innings, which a 42-14 advantage in the second frame.
Did You Know? – FSU belted eight home runs in the 2007 NCAA Regionals and totaled 35 hits in 114 at bats (.307 batting average).
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.