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Vierstra almost perfect again as RedHawks sweep Bulls

<p>Junior infielder Adriana Barlow blasts a home run during last weekend&#x27;s series vs Buffalo.</p>

Junior infielder Adriana Barlow blasts a home run during last weekend's series vs Buffalo.

The Miami University RedHawks softball team (26-6) swept the Buffalo Bulls (9-24) in a four-game series last weekend. The Redhawks continue their remarkable season with their twentieth straight victory and move to a perfect 14-0 in conference games.

The wins were highlighted by senior Courtney Vierstra’s dominant performances in games one, two and four.

Coming off a perfect game against Akron last week, Vierstra started out on fire, striking out the first nine Bulls hitters. A weak pop up by senior Anna Aguon stopped the streak in the top of the 4th inning. That didn’t slow her down, though.

She picked up 17 total strikeouts in the game, a career high.

On the other side of the ball, junior infielder Allie Cummins lined a single to right field to drive in freshman Karli Spaid in the first inning. In the bottom of the fourth, junior infielder Adriana Barlow picked up two RBIs with a birthday homerun.

That was all the scoring the RedHawks would manage in this game, but it was all Vierstra needed. She entered the top of the seventh needing just three more outs to complete the perfect game, which would be her second no-hitter in a row and fourth of the season.

She delivered the first pitch Aguon who immediately dumped it into left field, spoiling the perfect game.

Vierstra managed to close out the Bulls, and Miami had themselves a 3-0 win.

In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, the RedHawk bats went to work in the bottom of the first inning.

Freshman outfielder Karlee Juarez was hit by a pitch, and Spaid singled to set the stage for sophomore outfielder Kate Kobayashi, who roped a double down the third base line, scoring both runners. Senior infielder Mackenzie Moore then drove Kobayashi home on a bloop to left, pushing the score to 3-0.

In the bottom of the second, sloppy play by Buffalo allowed Miami to pick up another run. Buffalo sophomore first baseman Alexis Lucyshyn made an errant throw, which allowed senior outfielder Morgan Lott to score from second.

Buffalo struck back in the top of the third when senior Alicia Peter hammered a homerun off Vierstra to make the score 4-1.

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It was the only run allowed by Vierstra in 14 innings of work in the series.

Buffalo prevented Miami from scoring in the bottom of the third when junior Alexis Matheney robbed a would-be homerun off the bat of Lott.

The RedHawks scored six runs in the fourth inning thanks to a two-run shot from Spaid and a single by senior outfielder Lily Wilmot. A few unearned runs also crossed home plate thanks to poor defensive play by the Bulls. By the time the inning was over, the score was 10-1.

Vierstra closed out the top of the fifth to secure the mercy rule victory.

The second game of the doubleheader offered a similar result.

Junior Brianna Pratt threw a complete game shutout, striking out eight and allowing just three hits.

In the second inning, Kobayashi led off with a line drive base hit to left. Moore picked up the RBI on a single and was later driven herself in by junior catcher Riley Coyne.

The onslaught continued in the third.

Spaid smashed a towering home run into left field to make the score 3-0. Later in the inning, Kobayashi doubled to left field to drive in Cummins.

Miami entered the fifth inning needing three more runs to earn a second mercy rule victory of the series.

Spaid led off the inning and  battled hard for nine pitches. Then, on the tenth pitch, she hammered a moonshot that cleared the centerfield wall.  

An error allowed Cummins to reach, giving Kobayashi a chance to win the game. She missed the mercy rule walk-off homerun by about ten feet when she ripped a pitch foul.

On the next pitch, she smashed another one and managed to keep it fair for the walk-off.

The RedHawks win, 8-0.

In the final game on Sunday, Buffalo refused to go down so easily.

Miami struck first, scoring three times in the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Barlow and another Kobayashi homer. Barlow added to the lead in the third inning with a solo shot of her own.

In the top of the fourth, Buffalo finally managed to get back on the board thanks to sloppy Miami defensive play. Both Barlow and Spaid committed errors, and Matheney scored when senior Jenna Richmond baited the Miami defense into a rundown.

In the bottom of the inning, Miami struck back with a solo shot to left from Coyne. Spaid also picked up an RBI with a single to score freshman infielder Holly Blaska.

Spaid extended the lead to 9-2 with a towering three-run homerun.

A rough inning from senior Taylor Rathe allowed Buffalo to pick up two more runs in the top of the seventh, but it was too little too late.

Miami completed the sweep with a 9-4 victory.

The RedHawks will play a home doubleheader against the Ball State Cardinals at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 20. The second game will start 30 minutes after the first game’s conclusion.

orzeched@miamioh.edu

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