By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
The No. 3 seed Miami University softball team fell 5-4 to No. 5 seed Western Michigan University in the MAC tournament losers' bracket Friday.
The RedHawks arrived at the third day of the MAC tournament after downing No. 6 seed Northern Illinois University 6-4 Wednesday and falling 8-5 to No. 2 seed Ball State University Thursday.
"Against Western Michigan, we have to put everything together: hitting, pitching, and defense," head coach Clarisa Crowell said Thursday, looking ahead to the WMU matchup. "They're playing well right now, but we just need to do what we do. Our offense has been hitting well, kids are swinging well, but we just need to get better in the circle. When we put it all together, we're very capable of winning and are hard to beat, and we'll need to since Western is such a scrappy and well-coached team."
Miami took a 2-0 lead over Western Michigan after three innings with RBIs from freshman catcher Rylee Whispel and senior first baseman Shanyn McIntyre, but the Broncos tied it up in the fourth with a two-run homer.
The 'Hawks added another in the fifth with a Shuey RBI, but WMU took the lead with a three-run sixth inning. Shuey added another RBI in the seventh, but the team did no more damage, leaving runners at second and third.
Both Shuey and McIntyre went 3-4, while sophomore second baseman Eryn McCarver went 2-3 with two runs scored. Junior right-hander Amber Logemann struggled in her third start in three days, allowing five runs on seven hits.
Miami got on the board against Northern Illinois in the second inning as senior shortstop Kylie McChesney had a RBI single to left, while junior designated player Tanya Busby drove in a runner in the following inning.
The team exploded for four runs in the fourth as senior outfielder Tiyona Marshall hit an RBI triple, sophomore pinch runner Jenna Jones scored an unearned run and McIntyre notched a two-RBI triple.
The Huskies made the game interesting in the fifth with four runs of their own, including a three-run homer. However, junior pitcher Amber Logemann held them scoreless the rest of the way, picking up the complete game victory. Logemann allowed four hits and struck out eight.
McIntyre went 1-1 with two walks and two RBIs, while Marshall was 2-4 with a RBI and two runs scored.
"This week's been a challenge, no doubt," McIntyre said. "We're playing well and we're fighting. We have the team to do it, but we just need to show up. We're hitting well; we've been waiting to break out and get hits at the right time, take good swings, and have good at-bats, but our pitching and our defense help us out. It's never easy to play in an elimination game. We have to play like it's our last game, and our seniors and the rest of the team aren't going to go easy."
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In the next game, Ball State struck in the first inning with back-to-back dingers, taking a 3-0 lead. The 'Hawks responded in the third with a McChesney score on a throwing error. The Cardinals knocked in five runs in the bottom of the inning to force a Miami pitching change.
An RBI from freshman second baseman Kaitlyn Gliha in the fourth and a two-run home run by junior outfielder Taylor Shuey in the fifth cut BSU's lead to 8-2.
Shuey added another RBI in the seventh with two outs, but a popup ended the RedHawk rally.
Shuey was 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
The offense didn't reach more than two hits in any inning in the game and stranded seven. Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Fredericks allowed one run on three hits in 4 innings of relief.
"We played well [against Northern Illinois]. Our pitching just had one bad inning but Amber came back and finished strong," Crowell said. "It was good for us to give up those runs because it forced us to fight for seven innings, which is what we have to do in the tournament. We came up short against Ball State, but we kept fighting after getting down early and we showed a lot of character."
The Miami softball season ends with the conclusion of the MAC tournament.