OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University softball team has won five of its last six games, and it looks to keep the momentum going as it welcomes a pair of Mid-American Conference teams to Oxford this weekend. On Friday, the RedHawks host Western Michigan for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Miami then takes on former assistant coach ’s Northern Illinois squad for single games on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All four games will be broadcast live on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.
GOOD MAC START: Miami enters this weekend’s games with a 3-1 conference record. That is an improvement over the past two seasons, when the RedHawks started 2-2 after four games. The last time Miami began MAC play with a 3-1 record was in 2010. It finished that season with a 14-8 conference record.
LEDBETTER PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR THE SECOND TIME: The Mid-American Conference announced its weekly softball awards on Monday. Junior catcher Kayla Ledbetter (Gahanna, Ohio) was named MAC East Division Player of the Week. It is the second time this season she has earned the honor and fourth time in her career.
Ledbetter had a fantastic week, going 10-for-15 with eight RBI and six runs scored in four games to open MAC play. Among her hits were two doubles, a triple and two home runs, giving her a slugging percentage of 1.333 for the week. She also drew a walk and was hit by a pitch for an on-base percentage of .706. Ledbetter was perfect during the doubleheader sweep of Toledo on Friday, finishing 7-for-7 with six RBI and six runs scored. She hit a home run in each game, driving in two runs in the opener and four in the nightcap. Against Bowling Green on Saturday she had another three hits, driving in a run in each game.
MATTERA SUCCEEDING IN RELIEF: Sophomore pitcher Megan Mattera (Lake Zurich, Ill.) leads Miami in both appearances (25) and innings pitched (95.0). However, she has started only seven times, fewer than fellow pitchers Paige Myers (12 starts) and Jenna Modic (nine starts). That is because she has found her niche as a relief pitcher, coming into the middle of contests to finish tight games. The RedHawks have won five of their last six games, and during that streak Mattera has earned the victory in four of them and a save in the other despite starting none of them. Overall, Mattera is 5-6 with a 3.24 ERA.
ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN: The Broncos enter their series with the RedHawks with a 10-17 overall record and a 1-1 mark in the MAC. Western Michigan split a two-game series with Northern Illinois last weekend, dropping a 12-5 decision on Friday before coming back to win a 7-6 game on Saturday. WMU has a team batting average of .245 and a team ERA of 4.95. The Broncos top hitter is freshman shortstop Sabrina Gamboa. She is batting .282 with four home runs and 23 RBI. Their top pitcher is sophomore Becca Shemberger. She is 5-8 with a 4.12 ERA in 18 appearances (11 starts).
SERIES WITH WESTERN MICHIGAN: Western Michigan holds a 49-25 lead in the all-time series with Miami. The Broncos took two-of-three meetings with the RedHawks last season. They won both regular seasons games in Kalamazoo, 3-2 on March 31 and 5-1 on April 1. Miami got its revenge on May 12 in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament when it defeated WMU, 3-1, and eliminated the Broncos from the event.
ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS: The Huskies have a familiar face in the coach’s box as has taken over the head duties at NIU after spending the past seven seasons as an assistant with Miami. This season she has led Northern Illinois to an 11-19 record overall and a 1-1 mark in the MAC. After splitting with Western Michigan this past weekend, the Huskies fell to Illinois State, 7-3, on Wednesday. They are led offensively by junior outfielder Nicole Gremillion. She is hitting .337 with 15 RBI this season. Northern Illinois’ top pitcher is sophomore Jessica Sturm. She is 7-7 with a 2.88 ERA in 22 appearances (nine starts).
SERIES WITH NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Northern Illinois leads the all-time series with Miami, 26-17. The RedHawks swept a doubleheader from the Huskies last season on March 30 in DeKalb. Miami took the opener, 8-5, before earning a 7-6, eight-inning victory in the nightcap.
UP NEXT FOR MIAMI: Miami will host Morehead State for a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 9 beginning at 3 p.m. The RedHawks then hit the road next weekend for more MAC play. Miami take on Ohio for a doubleheader on Friday, April 12 beginning at 1 p.m. The ‘Hawks then will travel to Akron for single games on Saturday April 13 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, April 14 at 1 p.m.