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Red and White ready for home opener

By Jordan Rinard
On March 7, 2014

The Miami University softball team is hoping to get off the schneid this weekend as it takes on Austin Peay State University in a doubleheader on Saturday. The RedHawks (4-8) have dropped six of their last seven games.

Austin Peay (6-11) was defeated in seven of its last nine games before knocking off Trevecca Nazarene University 1-0 and 3-2 in a doubleheader. The Governors are also 0-3 away from home this season. The Governors have struggled at the plate this season, registering a batting average of .202 and 42 runs scored while opponents are hitting .340 and driving in 102 runs. The defense has not fared much better, as it has committed 28 fielding errors so far.

Senior first-baseman/pitcher Lauren de Castro has been a significant contributor to the Govs, both in the batter's box and on the mound. She currently has a .476 batting average with 20 hits and six RBIs, while making eight starts at pitcher with a 4-4 record and a team-high 26 strikeouts. Another offensive weapon is sophomore catcher/utility player Mel Pavel, who has a .326 batting average and team-high 12 runners driven in.

"They're a better team than their record shows," head coach Clarisa Crowell said. "We played them last year in some close games. They're a good team that can come out and play hard and be scrappy. We're similar teams with how we play."

After starting its season off with three tournaments away from home, Miami returns to Oxford Saturday where it went 2-2 in non-conference home games a season ago.

The offense certainly has room for improvement, as it has a .265 batting average despite striking out 17 less times than its opponents. The same could be said about the pitching and fielding as 103 hits have been given up and 18 fielding errors have been made so far this season.

But it is not all doom and gloom for the Red and White. Senior second baseman Kristy Arbour has had a strong offensive season, hitting .359 and picking up 14 hits. Junior outfielder Brianna Lipscomb has done some good work in the batter's box, with team-highs in home runs and RBIs. Senior pitcher Paige Myers has been solid on the mound with a 3-2 record and a team-high 24 strikeouts.

"This week, we set some individual goals for ourselves so that we can get better," Arbour said. "Offensively, we need to consistently do our fundamentals and clean up some mistakes. We need to hit the ball hard to score some runs. These are games that we should win. We should just stay within ourselves. It's going to be colder than what we've been playing in but we can win if we play to our potential."

Crowell also discussed what needed to be done to pull off a successful home opener.

"We're excited to be playing at home," Crowell said. "We need to focus on us. If we can clean some things up, the sky's the limit for us. We keep telling the girls that it's a long season and this is preparing us for the MAC season. Our record is not an indicator of how we've been playing. We've shown a lot of fight and energy and they had a good attitude in practice. We keep focusing on getting one percent better every day."

The RedHawks are scheduled to take the field against Austin Peay 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday.


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