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'Hawks drop home opener

By Daniel Taylor, The Miami Student

In their first time at the home diamond all season, the Miami University baseball team fell 10-5 to Xavier University Wednesday. The 'Hawks dropped the first game of the mid-week series 10-5 to Xavier Tuesday in Mason, Ohio.

Miami (2-14) struggled through the series, allowing double-digit runs in the third consecutive game.

"We made way too many mistakes," Hayden said after Wednesday's game. "It's been a theme for us lately."

In Tuesday night's defeat, Miami swung the bat exceptionally well and notched 11 hits. The first five MU batters dealt most of the damage to Xavier (6-14). The five went 10-18 with seven walks and four RBIs. All four RBIs came from senior infielder Ryan Elble, who went 3-4 with a walk.

Xavier's bench told the same story. The top of their lineup produced most of the team's offense, hitting 12-19 and driving in eight of the 10 Musketeer runs. Junior infielder Andre Jernigan was 2-4 with four RBIs, and senior outfielder Joe Forney went 3-5 and drove in three runs.

Junior pitcher Chris Ticherich (0-2) took home the loss for the Red and White, while sophomore Greg Jacknewitz (2-3) notched the win for Xavier in 4 innings.

Miami struck first in Wednesday's matchup, taking a 2-0 lead after 2 innings. Five different players drove in one run on the night.

Elble was 1-2 and hit a triple to deep center to drive in senior outfielder Matt Honchel in the eighth inning.

Xavier's offense was supplied from an unsuspected character in the bottom of the lineup. In the fourth inning, sophomore infielder Ethan Schmidt picked up his first career hit on a two-run home run to left-center to tie the game at 3-3. Schmidt added two more singles and a walk for Xavier on the night.

In his first start of 2015 and fourth career start, MU senior Clay Cinnamon pitched 4 innings and surrendered three runs.

"Definitely could've pitched better," Cinnamon said. "Just have to keep working."

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Though Hayden wasn't too impressed with the start, he said the ceiling is high for Cinnamon.

"It's something good for him to build on," Hayden said. "But it certainly wasn't good enough, because he's talented enough to stay in that game longer."

The loss was pinned on lefty sophomore Ryan Marske, who lasted only one inning after walking three batters.

Miami's defense did not help Marske, committing two errors on the day. The first and third basemen both dropped foul balls to prolong the inning.

Marske battled back and finished with three strikeouts, but he surrendered two unearned runs.

"It stinks when things are going bad," Hayden said. "When things go bad they get magnified."

Xavier senior Eric Stiene (1-2) pitched six innings, holding the RedHawks to three runs on four hits. Stiene struck out four and walked a pair of 'Hawks.

The RedHawks open Mid-American Conference play this weekend when they travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan for a three-game series with Western Michigan University.

Western Michigan (6-10) enters the series after a pair of losses to Georgetown University and Seton Hall University in the Snow Bird Classic.

Junior Kurt Hoekstra leads the Broncos with three doubles, four triples, a home run and 17 RBIs and a .439 batting average.

Senior righty Chad Mayle (2-1, 3.86 ERA), sophomore Keegan Akin (1-1, 3.55 ERA) and freshman Tanner Allison (1-4, 4.86 ERA) work WMU's mound.

Hayden hopes the RedHawks can get off to a hot start in MAC play.

"It's huge," Hayden said. "These guys need something to feel good about."

First pitch is set for 4 p.m. Friday at Hyames Field.