Bats stay hot as RedHawks down Chips 7-2.
By MIKE SMITH
OXFORD, OH -- As fans left the Miami Softball Complex Sunday, an announcer reminded all that the RedHawks had just played their last regular season home game of 2023. While such an event might be cause for some extra sentimentality and/or motivation for many teams, Miami head coach Kirin Kumar soon after observed it was “just another day at the office” for her squad.
Given the way MU has played for most of the last month, “another day at the office” could be bad news for opponents. And so it was for Central Michigan.
As it had in Saturday’s second game (an 8-0 MU win), Miami pounded out 10 hits again Sunday. Three of the knocks were homers.
Allie Cummins and Jenna Golembiewski combined . . .
. . . for five hits and five runs to lead the way. Each included a homer and double in her production.
Brianna Pratt (25-10) went the distance for Miami, allowing six hits. Two were solo homers. Grace Lehto took the loss.
The victory completed a series sweep for MU, which ended the Chippewas 11-game win streak Saturday. Miami is now 19-7 in MAC play (32-17 overall) and enters the final week of regular season play tied with Ohio (19-7). The Bobcats face Buffalo (6-17 MAC) for three starting Friday in Athens. Miami travels to Kent State (12-12 MAC) for three beginning Friday.
RECAP -- SUNDAY, APRIL 30
MIAMI 7, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 2
-- CMU struck early, with Michaleigh Vallimont homering to left.
-- Cummins led off the Miami first with a home run to right, tying the game at 1-1.
-- Adrianna Barlow singled to right with two outs in the second and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Maddi Banks singled to right, scoring Barlow.
-- Blaska opened the third with a walk. After two outs, she stole second. Golembiewski homered to left on a 1-1 pitch, giving Miami a 4-1 lead.
-- The RedHawks added two more in the fifth. Cummins singled and Blaska followed with a double to right. Central Michigan nearly got out of the inning, coaxing two outs and taking Golembiewski to a 3-2 count before she lined a double to left center. Miami led 6-1.
-- The Chippewas added one more run to their total. After a strikeout, Kelsey Alexander flew out to deep right. That stayed in the park, but Alyssa Hallo’s shot to left field did not. Coberly drew a walk, but Britt ended the rally by inducing a ground out to second.
-- MU responded quickly as Kobayashi led off the RedHawk sixth with a homer to left.
-- Pratt pitched all 19 innings of the CMU series. She allowed four earned runs and 15 hits while striking out 11 and walking four. "I wasn't super-fresh after pitching yesterday ... but I knew I have a good defense behind me. I do my best out there, and they pick me up, she said afterward.
-- Pratt also noted the benefits of being backed up by MU hitters. Miami’s offense churned out 19 runs and 26 hits, including seven homers in the series. The RedHawks lead all MAC teams in home runs with 52 in conference play. The next closest is Ball State with 30.
-- Miami (1) and Central Michigan (2) top the MAC in ERA. The RedHawks are at 2.33, while CMU owns a 2.94 mark.
-- CMU tops the conference in fielding and has just 15 errors in MAC play. Miami is second, with 21. The RedHawks are second in double plays (10), trailing only Ball State (12). "The defense gives our offense a chance to win, and our offense always has a chance," Kumar said.
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.