Miami University softball had an up and down weekend hosting the Miami Invitational, winning one game but dropping two. The weekend saw the RedHawks (24-16, 11-6 Mid-American Conference) suffer a loss to Louisville in Kentucky on Friday, grab a win against Oakland on Saturday and drop a highly anticipated matchup with No. 1 Oklahoma later that night.
The RedHawks opened their weekend in Louisville against the University of Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals entered the matchup 26-13, boasting a winning record but lacking consistency throughout the season.
A sac-fly brought in a run for the Cardinals in the first inning, and an RBI triple followed by an RBI groundout quickly made it 5-0. The RedHawks managed to get three on base in the first two innings but failed to capitalize. The third inning saw Louisville add a run off an RBI double to make it 6-0 Cardinals.
Miami finally started to get going in the fourth inning, loading the bases off singles from graduate student catcher Riley Coyne and graduate student infielder Adrianna Barlow, as well as graduate student infielder Allie Cummins getting walked. This set the stage for a grand slam off the bat of senior infielder Holly Blaska, which put the RedHawks in striking distance at 6-4.
After a brief lightning delay, the Cardinals took back control. Louisville loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning, and first-year catcher Sarah Gordon blasted a grand slam of her own, making it 10-4 Cardinals. An RBI single made it 11-4 to end the fourth, while the RedHawks left a batter stranded in the top of the fifth.
A wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth would end the RedHawks’ hope of a comeback, with the Cardinals scoring a run and delivering a final score of 12-4 due to the mercy rule.
Miami looked to rebound on Saturday afternoon in Oxford against the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies. The Golden Grizzlies entered the game 12-13 on the season, with their schedule being rocked by cancellations and delays.
This was an ugly game any way you look at it. Both offenses struggled in a matchup, and neither team scored a run for the first five innings. The RedHawks finally broke the scoring drought in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Coyne hit an RBI single to make it 1-0 Miami.
Neither team would score again in this one, with RedHawks pitcher Brianna Pratt shutting Oakland down. Pratt finished with 11 strikeouts as Miami secured a 1-0 victory.
The RedHawks didn’t have much time to celebrate the win as their next game featured the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners (39-1), who have won the last two national championships, are the best team the RedHawks faced this season, and fans came out in record-breaking fashion, with more than a thousand on hand to watch.
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Despite the anticipation, both teams started slowly. The teams combined for just three hits in the first two innings before Oklahoma started to turn things around in the third inning. Three straight hits, including an RBI single and a 2 RBI double, gave the Sooners a 3-0 lead.
The RedHawks responded in the bottom of the third inning, as graduate student outfielder Maddi Banks launched a home run to make it 3-1. Despite the explosive start to the inning, Miami’s offense slowed down and wasn’t able to match Oklahoma’s stellar pitching.
After adding a home run in the fourth and two more runs in the fifth, Oklahoma showed off its offensive firepower in the sixth inning. Two homers, an RBI double, and an RBI single extended the Sooners’ lead to 13-1 in a blink. The RedHawks couldn’t get going in the bottom of the sixth and ultimately fell 13-1.
Miami softball is back in action this weekend with a home series against the University of Akron Zips. The first game of the series is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday, April 21.