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Flawless home series takes the reigning RedHawks to the top of the conference

<p>Junior shortstop Adriana Barlow scoops up a ground ball at Miami Softball Stadium</p>

Junior shortstop Adriana Barlow scoops up a ground ball at Miami Softball Stadium

On the weekend leading into Miami University’s spring break, the RedHawks softball team beat Kent State University 3-0 in its conference-opening series.

Miami took a five-inning 10-2 victory on Saturday, Mar. 19 before winning 1-0 and 2-0 on Sunday, Mar. 20 to kickstart their Mid-American Conference journey.

Saturday

Initially, two games were scheduled for the first day of the contest. However, rain caused the earlier game to be delayed by one hour to 2 p.m., while the later game was moved to Sunday for a double-header.

Taking to the field in a tight dry window, the RedHawks hit the ground running.

After junior infielder Allie Cummins struck out early in the bottom of the first inning, sophomore infielder Karli Spaid blasted a centerfield home run to give Miami the lead.

Sophomore outfielder Kate Kobayashi then earned a walk to first base and promptly stole second. Upon a right-field RBI single by senior outfielder Lily Wilmot, Kobayashi completed her run and helped Miami to a two-run lead in the first inning.

Cummins came to bat again in the second inning, and this time, she sent the ball over the centerfield fence and helped both herself and first-year infielder Chloe Parks, who had already been at second base, to a run each to lift Miami to a 4-0 advantage.

In the top of the third inning, Kent State managed two runs when the bases were fully loaded.

In the bottom of the third inning, junior infielder Adriana Barlow launched a left-field homer to earn herself and the plated sophomore infielder Holly Blaska a run each, replenishing the four-run lead for Miami over Kent State.

There were no hits for either side in the fourth inning and while the Golden Flashes stayed scoreless in the top of the fifth, the RedHawks finished the outing strong.

First-year infielder Maggie Murphy made her MAC impact with a three-run homer that also saw Wilmot and first-year outfielder Noelle Reid cross the home plate. With the score then 9-2, Parks stepped up to the plate and crushed yet another centerfield homer to close out the game 10-2 in the span of five innings.

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This win was first a collective effort from Miami as they totaled eight hits, compared to one for Kent State, and 10 runs, compared to two from the visitors.

Sunday

As the two teams returned on Sunday, the match-up became a pitchers’ duel with neither team breaking the five-hit mark in either game.

In the first game of the doubleheader, no runs were scored until the fourth inning. Kobayashi was first to bat in the frame and she struck the ball over the right-field fence to break the deadlock and give Miami a minimal 1-0 lead and win.

The second game was also grounded in a stalemate, one that outlasted the regular seven-inning length.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Cummins nailed a two-run homer to give Miami a 2-0 walk-off win.

Junior pitcher Brianna Pratt came out of the first game with a career high of 12 strikeouts, giving up only three hits. In the second game, senior pitcher Courtney Vierstra forced 13 strikeouts from Kent State and allowed two hits, making just a handful of hits for the Golden Flashes in the doubleheader.

Miami became the only team in the MAC to have collected all three wins in the first series, all while extending the win streak over Kent State to nine. Kent last defeated Miami in April 2019. As the RedHawks established themselves at the top of the standings, they also went 10-10 overall this season.  Kent State went 6-12 overall and 0-3 in the MAC.

The RedHawks will continue their season with a visit to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for a non-conference match-up starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 23.

@Sennitzer

nguye251@miamioh.edu

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