OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University softball team looks to secure a top-four seed in next week’s Mid-American Conference Tournament as it plays its final four games of the regular season this weekend in Oxford. The RedHawks host current MAC East Division leader Kent State for a doubleheader beginning on Friday at 1 p.m. They will then take on Buffalo in single games on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will be broadcast live on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.
SHANNON TILLETT’S DAY: Sunday’s game will be the annual Senior Day ceremony. The RedHawks are a very young squad, but they do have one senior in first baseman Shannon Tillett (San Diego, Calif.). Tillett appeared in 59 career games, making 53 starts from 2010-11 before an injury ended her playing career. She was a career .214 hitter, with three home runs and 17 RBI. Tillett will be honored in a pregame ceremony before Miami takes on the Bulls.
CURRENT TOURNAMENT STANDINGS: The top eight teams (regardless of division) make the upcoming double elimination MAC Tournament next week (May 8-11) in Akron, Ohio. There is an added benefit to finishing as high as possible in the standings, as the top two seeds get a double-bye head start, while the third and fourth seeds get a single bye. Going into the final weekend, here are how the MAC teams stand if the tournament were to start today:
1. Ball State 15-2
2. Kent State 13-5
3. Central Michigan 12-6
4. Miami 11-7
5. Northern Illinois 10-8
6. Bowling Green 8-10
7. Ohio 7-11
8. Toledo 7-11
9. Akron 7-11
10. Western Michigan 5-11
11. Buffalo 5-11
12. Eastern Michigan 5-12
ARBOUR DOESN’T STRIKE OUT: In 98 at bats this season, junior second baseman Kristy Arbour has only struck out twice. Her strikeout rate of once every 49 at bats ranks third in all of NCAA Division I.
ABOUT KENT STATE: The Golden Flashes are 24-18-1 overall, and lead the MAC East Division at 13-5. They swept a doubleheader against Buffalo last Saturday, before splitting a non-conference doubleheader against Cleveland State on Tuesday. Kent State is led offensively by sophomore outfielder Kim Kirkpatrick. She is hitting .333 with three home runs and 17 RBI. The Golden Flashes have been successful this season primarily due to their strong pitching. Their staff is led by sophomore Emma Johnson, who is 18-9 with a 1.67 ERA in 31 appearances (20 starts).
SERIES WITH KENT STATE: Miami holds a 48-47 lead in the all-time series with Kent State. The RedHawks have won four straight games against the Golden Flashes, including sweeping a two-game series in Kent last season. On April 28, 2012, Miami would earn a 4-1 victory, thanks to a three-run home run from Kayla Ledbetter. The next day, the ‘Hawks scored two runs in the top of the seventh to take a 3-2 win.
ABOUT BUFFALO: The Bulls are 15-29 overall and 5-11 in the MAC. After being swept by Kent State last weekend, they split a doubleheader with St. Bonaventure on Tuesday. Buffalo is led offensively by junior infielder Sammi Gallardo. She is hitting .255 with eight home runs and 19 RBI. Its top pitcher is junior Tori Speckman. She is 9-9 with a 2.31 ERA in 33 appearances (16 starts).
SERIES WITH BUFFALO: Miami holds a 17-12 lead in the all-time series with Buffalo. The RedHawks have won three straight against the Bulls, including sweeping a doubleheader in Buffalo last season. On April 27, 2012, Miami took a 3-0 victory in the opener behind a no-hitter from Jessica Simpson. The ‘Hawks then overcame a 3-0 deficit with a six-run sixth inning to take a 9-3 win in the nightcap.
UP NEXT FOR MIAMI: The Mid-American Conference Tournament is up next for the RedHawks. It is double-elimination and takes place, Wednesday through Saturday. Miami’s first game will depend on its seed. If the ‘Hawks can earn one of the top two seeds, they will receive a double-bye and not begin play until Thursday.