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RedHawks prepare for Spring Fling tournament

By Jordan Rinard
On February 21, 2014

After picking up a couple of wins in its last tournament, the Miami University softball team (2-2) returns to action in the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Spring Fling 2014. The tournament features Canisius College, Belmont University, Western Kentucky University and Bradley University in the.

"It was good to have a week off to rest some of our injured players," second-year head coach Clarisa Crowell said. "We also have an opportunity to go outside which is good. For tournament weekends, we look for tendencies in offense and defense for the teams. We also look at the different pitchers that we could face."

Canisius (2-2) is coming into the weekend losers of two of its last three games. Freshman catcher/infielder Lindsey Silfer and sophomore infielder Meghan Cuda have been big for the Golden Griffin offense, as the former picked up five hits in 12 at-bats while the latter had two home runs and seven RBIs over the weekend. Senior pitcher Jen Consaul had a strong with a complete game, two-hitter in a 4-2 victory over Bowling Green State University.

Belmont (3-5) snapped a three-game losing streak Sunday when it downed Samford University 18-8 in six innings. Junior infielder Kirbie Ferrell has been on a tear with a .429 batting average and five RBIs while freshman catcher/infielder Jessica Wilson has two homers and nine RBIs. The pitching staff for the Bruins has been solid, as it has recorded three complete games.

Western Kentucky (5-4-1) is looking to right the ship as it comes into the weekend off losses to the University of California-Los Angeles and Robert Morris University. Senior infielder Olivia Watkins is a vital part of the Hilltopper attack with a .545 batting average. The pitching staff as a whole has been consistent with an ERA of 2.86.

Bradley (2-8) is coming into the Spring Fling having dropped three of its last four games. The Braves offense has struggled mightily this season with a team .221 batting average and 65 strikeouts. The pitching staff has not fared much better, as it has surrendered 57 runs on 82 hits with 41 errors.

"Belmont has gotten a lot of runs and they play hard and they're scrappy," Crowell said. "Against Western Kentucky, we need to put the ball into play and manufacture runs, which is hard to do against their pitching. Bradley is coached by my old pitching coach at Virginia Tech, so we know that they are going to be well coached and they will play hard. This weekend, we need our pitchers to step up and throw well and our hitters need to step up. We focus on winning two out of the three phases of hitting, pitching and fielding. We need to be mentally ready to go and get better and minimize our mistakes."

Miami ended its last tournament on the right foot as it defeated Tennessee State University 8-0 in six innings and had several strong performances throughout the weekend. Senior pitcher Paige Myers was lights out on the mound that weekend with two wins in two starts, a 0.89 ERA, 13 strikeouts, and surrendered only one run.

"This week, we've been working on staying clean in fielding, communicating, and being confident," senior second baseman Kristy Arbour said. "We've also been working on being more aggressive with our hitting. Last week, we were trying to get a feel of each other and trying to get more comfortable with each other. We need to learn how to play together and trust our skills because we're good, but we make some mental mistakes. We're playing good teams this weekend and we'll need to bring our 'A' game."  

The RedHawks will take on Canisius at 12:30 p.m., followed by Belmont at 3 p.m. on Friday. They'll face off against Western Kentucky at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and will wrap up play against Bradley at 1:30 Sunday. All of the games will be played in Bowling Green, Ky.

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