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Miami settles in for Coach B Classic

By Jordan Rinard
On February 28, 2014

The Miami University softball team is looking to right the ship at the Coach B Classic, after dropping its last three games. The 'Hawks take on Murray State University, Southern Illinois University and the University of Kansas.

Western Illinois was supposed to participate in the tournament, but withdrew from the tournament because of potentially inclement weather. The tournament was supposed to be played in Carbondale, Ill., but was moved to Chattanooga, Tenn. because of the weather.

"This week, we're focusing on us, seeing how we can get better," head coach Clarisa Crowell said. "We're playing some good teams this weekend. Kansas led the country in offense last year and Southern Illinois is a well-coached team despite what they look like on paper. We need to be able to put things together and just keep playing... There's no snow on the softball field, which gives us an opportunity to practice like we play. We've only practiced on the field once this season... These games give us opportunities to learn and, if we keep fighting, good things will come out of it."

Murray State (7-5) had an up-and-down tournament last weekend, losing three of its five games. Junior infielder Alexa Becker has been an important piece to the Racers' offense, as she has a .385 batting average through 12 games, three home runs and nine RBIs. Freshman pitcher Mason Robinson had a strong season pitching so far, going 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA and a .255 batting average against her.

Southern Illinois (5-6) has dropped seven out of its last ten as it struggles to find consistency. Senior infielder Taylor Orsburn has been a bright spot for the Salukis, registering a team-high seven RBIs off six hits. The pitching staff has been inconsistent this season, allowing eight homers and a .309 opponent batting average, while having eight wild pitches and 29 walks. The offense as a whole has struggled to drive in runs, as the team has left 60 runners on base.

Kansas (8-5) has been on a tear after dropping its first two games of the season, earning four of its wins via shutout. Freshman catcher Harli Ridling has been vital to the Jayhawk attack with her .390 batting average, two homers and 11 RBIs. Junior pitcher Alicia Pille has a 1.42 ERA and is coming off a no-hitter against Jackson State University. The defense has been stout, as it has made only six fielding errors all season.

Miami (3-5) looks to its offense to get things back on track after a disappointing outing the previous weekend. Senior second baseman Kristy Arbour leads the team with a .370 batting average and six runs scored, while sophomore infielder Hailey Reed has driven in six runners off of six hits. The Red and White have struggled offensively, with a team .268 batting average and a .332 on base percentage.

Senior pitcher Paige Myers has had a solid season with a 1.15 ERA, despite giving up the most hits on the pitching staff with 19. The staff as a whole has been inconsistent, as it has struck out 38 batters, but also hit six batters and walked 21. The defense has room for improvement as well with 11 errors so far.

"We talk about getting two out of three with hitting, pitching and fielding. If we do that, we'll be successful," senior catcher Kayla Ledbetter said. "We hit well last weekend, but we struggled with making adjustments. We're working on minimizing fielding errors, knowing what the outs and the count are, and improving communication, making sure everyone knows what the outs and the count are... We need to focus on us, not on other teams. We need to find ourselves. Last weekend, we did some things that we don't normally do. If we can clear that up, we'll be fine."

The RedHawks begin play in the tournament Saturday, when they face Murray State at 10 a.m. and Southern Illinois at noon. They conclude action Sunday against Kansas at 10 a.m. and with a rematch against Southern Illinois at 2 p.m.

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