Miami University softball began a new season on Friday, Feb. 10, in Charlotte, North Carolina, splitting the four games they were able to play. After close losses to South Carolina and Charlotte on Friday, the RedHawks rebounded with a close win over East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and a blowout win over Campbell on Saturday. A fifth game scheduled for Sunday against Campbell was canceled due to weather.
With expectations of making it three NCAA Tournament appearances in a row heading into the season, the RedHawks’ season commenced with a Friday doubleheader. First up was South Carolina, a program that struggled in a loaded Southeastern Conference last season.
After a scoreless first inning, Miami entered the scoring column on a homer to right-center by graduate student catcher Riley Coyne in the top of the second. The runs stalled for both teams until the fourth inning, when Gamecocks sophomore outfielder Marissa Gonzalez hit an RBI double, giving South Carolina two runs and the lead.
The RedHawks tied the game in the top of the fifth inning with a homer off the bat of sophomore outfielder Jenna Golembiewski. Then, an RBI single courtesy of senior infielder Holly Blaska gave Miami the lead once again. South Carolina would take over in the bottom of the fifth inning however, scoring three runs including a steal of home and an RBI double that brought in two batters.
A homer in the top of the sixth inning by junior outfielder Kate Kobayashi made it a one-run game, but the RedHawks ultimately came up short against the Gamecocks.
Miami had no time to dwell on the loss, however, as their game against the tournament host started soon after. The 49ers started hot. Junior RedHawk pitcher Taylor Turner hit a batter in the first, and then Charlotte’s graduate infielder Kassidy Krupit hit a two-run homer to give the 49ers a 2-0 lead.
The RedHawks put runners on base in the top of the second and third innings, but could not capitalize until the fourth inning, when graduate student infielder Allie Cummins launched a two-run homer to tie the game. The very next pitch, graduate student Adrianna Barlow homered, giving Miami a 3-2 lead.
The bats cooled down after the fourth, however, as Miami managed only one hit for the rest of the game. A two-run homer in the fifth inning and an RBI single in the sixth were enough to give Charlotte a 5-3 win as the RedHawks fell to 0-2.
Saturday provided a new opportunity for Miami, and the RedHawks jumped on it. Their first opponent was East Tennessee, who had dropped their first contest of the tournament 8-4 to Campbell.
Miami jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st thanks to an RBI double by Cummins. ETSU responded in the 2nd, bringing two runners in on an error to take a 2-1 lead.
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A stalemate followed the 2nd inning, with both teams getting runners on base but failing to capitalize. Miami would finally break their drought in the bottom of the 7th, tying the game on an RBI double by Kobayashi. Coyne followed up with a walk-off RBI single, delivering RedHawks a 3-2 win — their first of the season.
Miami carried its momentum into the second game of the day, a matchup with the Lady Camels of Campbell. The RedHawks once again took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, with junior infielder Karli Spaid scoring on an error during a Kobayashi stolen base. An Adrianna Barlow homer in the second inning gave Miami a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Camels responded in the third with an RBI single and an unearned run, tying the game at 2-2. Miami flipped the game around in the fourth, however, with a two-run homer by Spaid and another homer by Cummins, good for a 5-2 run.
Miami’s offense continued to shine in the fifth, taking a 6-2 lead on an Holly Blaska RBI double and a 7-2 lead on an RBI single by freshman pinch hitter Reagan Bartholomew. The RedHawks added to their lead in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk. Two runners scored on a Lady Camels error, making the score 10-2.
Campbell managed only one more hit in the game, and the RedHawks came away with a 10-2 win, moving to 2-2 on the season. Weather canceled the Sunday slate of games in Charlotte.
The RedHawks continue their season at the Murray State Tournament in Murray, KY, on the weekend of Feb. 24.