Photo by Ian Marker
By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
After taking five of their first six games in Mid-American Conference play, the Miami University softball team stumbled last weekend when it split with Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo. The RedHawks seek to right the ship in their home series with Northern Illinois University and Western Michigan University this weekend.
MU (23-16, 7-3 MAC) is second in the MAC East, while the Huskies (20-16, 6-2 MAC) and the Broncos (13-18, 5-3 MAC) are second and third in the MAC West, respectively.
"It's an important weekend for us against two good teams," head coach Clarisa Crowell said. "We have to bring our A game in every aspect. Our pitching and defense go hand-in-hand, and we're going to have to score some runs this weekend."
Senior outfielder Tiyona Marshall leads Miami's offense, ranking second in the MAC in hitting with a .457 average. Marshall also ranks first with 53 hits, second with 32 runs scored and fourth with 12 stolen bases. She hit .500/.556/.500 over four games last weekend.
Junior outfielder Taylor Shuey and sophomore second baseman Eryn McCarver have also proved themselves as valuable weapons for Miami. Both hit over .300, and Shuey is tied for fourth in the conference with 28 RBIs.
The team is sixth in the MAC with a .282 batting average and is second in runs scored (165).
On the mound, junior pitcher Amber Logemann leads the league with 17 wins. The righty's 1.88 ERA ranks second 125 strikeouts rank third. She is also 7-1 with a 1.29 ERA in MAC games.
However, the rest of the pitching staff is inconsistent. The bullpen owns a collective 3.62 ERA and leads the conference in innings pitched (232.1).
Defensively, the Red and White are sixth in the MAC with a .958 fielding percentage. Miami is one of six teams in the conference who have committed 40-plus fielding errors (42).
"We're prepping for two different styles of offense and plan on containing them," senior shortstop Kylie McChesney said. "We're expecting four wins this weekend and to do that, we need to come out strong. We need to play our best. Offensively, we need to keep the ball down and make them work for the outs."
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The RedHawks host the Huskies 1 p.m. Friday in a doubleheader. Miami squares off against the Broncos at 2 p.m. Saturday and again at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Northern Illinois snapped a three-game losing streak on Tuesday after sweeping Valparaiso University 12-4 and 4-2. Sophomore catcher/infielder Kayti Grable has been an offensive force for the Huskies, hitting .459/.784/.530 for the season. The team totals 50 stolen bases, while keeping opponents to 20.
Western Michigan has won eight of its last nine games. The Broncos hit .309 as a team, which is first in the MAC. The pitching staff has an ERA of 4.62, and teams have hit .297 against it.
"We'll have to contain the offenses, two very different offenses," Crowell said. "NIU is very aggressive on the bases while Western tries to beat you with hitting. Our pitchers have a good game plan for this weekend, and we're excited to be back home."