RedHawks blast Zips as offense regains form
OXFORD, OH -- It was a cold weekend in Oxford, but the Miami RedHawks bats were hot.
Miami softball finished a sweep of Akron Sunday, run-ruling the Zips 11-0 behind a 12-hit attack that included three home runs. Holly Blaska, Riley Coyne (2) and Jenna Golembiewski all hit round-trippers as MU chased Akron starter Alexa Difeo (9-8) with 10 earned runs on 10 hits in 1.2 innings.
Brianna Pratt (20-10) picked up the . . .
. . . win for Miami, scattering four hits in four scoreless innings. It was her second victory of the weekend. She threw a 3-0 shutout Saturday in the front end of a double header. Laurelai DePew (4-3) got the win in game two, scattering 10 Akron hits in a 9-3 RedHawk victory. She then finished up Sunday's win with a scoreless fifth inning.
"She had such a great week of bullpens this week," Miami head coach Kirin Kumar said of DePew, adding the sophomore righty earned game opportunities.
The weekend sweep raised MU's overall mark to 27-16, while its MAC record moved to 14-6. The RedHawks now hit the road for three games at Ball State (Tues.-Thurs.), which has won seven straight. Miami then returns home for a three-game set against Central Michigan beginning Saturday. CMU is riding an eight-game win skein.
Both the Cardinals and Chippewas are still among the MAC's top four. So are Miami and Ohio, with the four programs battling to secure one of four spots in the MAC tournament, which begins May 11.
Looking back at the Akron series, Kumar was pleased with all three facets of the RedHawks game -- pitching, fielding and hitting. The latter, perhaps, made things a little easier on the other two.
"It's huge," Kumar said of MU's early leads in all three games against Akron. With "Bri and Laurelai, when you have a lead, you're a little more relaxed and realize you don't have to be perfect (with every pitch)."
She continued, "The team knows that, too. They play loose and relaxed when you are up right away."
Perhaps the top catalyst for that was leadoff hitter Allie Cummins. The left fielder homered to start both games Saturday and walked to begin a five-run first Sunday.
Cummins (2 hits) and Karli Spaid (3 hits) accounted for five of Miami's seven hits in Saturday's 3-0 win to start the series.
Four RedHawks had multiple hits in the second game, a 9-3 MU win. Spaid, Chloe Parks, Coyne and Adriana Balow all recorded two-hit games. Cummins, Spaid, Coyne and Golemblewski homered.
Miami scored four in the first and one in the second before UA got on the board with a single run in the third. The Zips added two more runs -- one each in the fourth and seventh. However, Miami stretched its advantage with two in third and sixth frames.
Sunday's series finale was a quick knockout with the RedHawks plating five runs in each of the first two innings.
"That right there is Miami softball -- what we've done for the last few years," Kumar said of the offensive explosion. "It doesn't matter who we're facing. We're going to hit. ... We've had spurts of it (this year), she said, adding that she hopes the showing against Akron is a sign of more offensive production and consistency in the future.
Editor-Publisher Mike Smith
Mike grew up in Mid-American Conference football and basketball territory and returned there after military service. He has been covering MAC football and men's basketball for much of the last several decades.