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Red and White hit road for Fighting Camel Classic

By Daniel Taylor, For The Miami Student

Miami University baseball is looking to get the season back on track this weekend in the Fighting Camel Classic.

The team has been battling the loss of Seth Varner, who now pitches in the Cincinnati Reds system. Senior Ryan Powers said eventually one pitcher needs to step up into the role Varner had last season.

"He was the Friday starter," Powers said. "It's going to have to start with somebody stepping up to take that starting role."

That starter may be Powers.

The 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher threw six, no-hit innings last Friday in a 9-0 victory over the University of South Carolina Upstate.

"I knew that I had to get myself back on track," Powers said. "It's really stressful trying to get that first win."

The missing piece so far has been the offense, which was expected to be the strong point.

The team has only has nine runs in its four losses.

Head coach Danny Hayden did not want to put the offensive woes solely on the beginning of the season.

"I hate to say it's that we need more reps," Hayden said. "It's early in the season for everybody."

Hayden is confident that the bats will come around; they just need to get started.

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"This team is going to hit," Hayden said. "I am not worried about our offense."

The RedHawks (1-4) play three games in the tournament in North Carolina and hope to get their weekend series schedule off to a fast start.

The first game, Friday, is against Campbell University.

The Fighting Camels (5-2) are the tournament host and have had a quick start to the 2015 campaign.

They opened the season winning two of three against Northern Kentucky University. They take two games from Rider University and split with Virginia Tech in the Campbell invitational.

The Fight Camels have scored 42 runs in their seven contests so far and have an offense that is batting near .300.

The pitching staff has split the work, with all five wins credited to a different pitcher.

Senior pitcher Heath Bowers, the staff leader, has thrown 15 strikeouts in 12 innings of work. Bowers also has a 1.50 ERA.

Senior catcher Seth Larue is hitting .458 and has knocked one home run so far.

The Saturday matchup is against Furman University.

The Paladins (3-4) are coming into the tournament off a 12-3 loss to Presbyterian College.

Furman freshman infielder Blake Chisolm leads the squad offensively.

Chisolm is off to a quick start to his college career, hitting .440 and driving in three runs.

Senior Matt Solter has been the most reliable starter.

In three appearances, two starts, he has gone 13.1 innings and allowed three earned runs. His ERA is just 2.03.

The weekend concludes Sunday against the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

The Hawks (1-5) have came out of the gates slow, getting blown out in all five of their losses.

Maryland-Eastern Shore dropped its first three tilts: 6-0, 11-0 and 19-0, all to Alabama.

After the four-game Virginia Military Institute tournament was canceled, the team dropped two of three to U.S. Naval Academy. The Hawks lost 5-0 and 11-5, while picking up their only win of the young season, 3-0.

The Hawks are batting only .140 as a team and do not have a single slugger above .300.

The leader on offense has been sophomore catcher Justin Dattillo, who has a .294 batting average.

Sophomore Jesse Stinnett was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference pitcher of the week after throwing seven shutout innings against Navy. Stinnett improved his ERA to 1.50 after that performance.

The offense will try to turn it on 4:30 p.m. Friday, when the Fighting Camels host the RedHawks. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m Saturday and Sunday.