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RedHawks begin season at Campbell University

By Bryan Willis, For The Miami Student

Miami University baseball travels to Buies Creek, N.C. for a three-game series against Campbell University this weekend.

When the two schools met last season, Campbell took a 7-2 victory. Manager Danny Hayden has not forgotten about how dangerous Campbell can be. Campbell's then-senior Heath Bowers struck out eight Miami batters in route to his 23rd career win.

"They were as good of a coached team that I have ever seen," Hayden said. "I would expect them to be very ready for us. They have such an aggressive style of play."

The Camels finished last season with a 32-35 overall record (12-12 Big South Conference), placing them sixth in the BSC.

"It's game one," Hayden said. "All of our guys are very high energy guys. I believe having that in our dugout will allow us to stay confident."

Pitching and assistant coach Matt Davis is excited to get the season going with both the returning players and the new faces.

"Of course you feel good about some of the guys that came back that contributed last year," Davis said. "Jacob Banks, Gus Graham and Brad Schwartz - those guys have proven themselves the past couple of seasons and gained some experiences."

Freshmen Zach Spears and Michael Hendricks might get their first starts this weekend. Davis believes it will be important for the younger guys on the roster to take note and learn from the older veterans.

"It's good for the younger guys to see that they can compete," Davis said. "Obviously just start the season to give us something to lean on and to be positive about."

Miami has struggled on opening day - the RedHawks are on a 0-7 skid in opening day games. Their last opening day victory came in 2009, when they beat Winthrop University 6-5.

Senior infielder Anthony Lopez leads the Camels. In 41 starts last season, Lopez hit a .257 batting average and totaled 25 RBIs, 22 scored runs, two homeruns, four doubles and ten stolen bases.

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Senior Jake Romano leads the 'Hawks. Romano started 49 games in center field in 2015 and was named to the Mid-American Conference All-Defensive team, as he recorded zero errors. He also ranked fourth on the team with a .296 batting average and first with 44 runs, a career high. He collected 13 multi-hit games.

"It's all about energy," Hayden said. "[If] guys come out with a ton of energy and a love and passion for baseball we will be just fine."

First pitch is at 3 p.m. Friday. Saturday's game begins at 3 p.m., and the series finale is 2 p.m. Sunday.