With the 2013 regular season complete, Miami turns its attention to the Mid-American Conference Tournament this week, batting seven teams for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The RedHawks (25-28, 14-13) earned the No. 5 seed and with open the action against No. 4 Ball State on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. No. 1 Kent State and No. 8 Central Michigan are also in MIami’s double-elimination bracket.
No. 2 Buffalo, No. 3 Northern Illinois, No. 6 Bowling Green and No. 7 Toledo are on the other side.
Freshman Jake Romano leads the offensive attack with a .374 batting average. He has hit safely in 15 straight games, posting a .419 average during that span. Sophomore Matt Honchel raised his average to .342 over the weekend, registering seven hits in 13 at-bats, while junior John Crummy is third at .335. Freshman Chad Sedio is the only other RedHawk over .300, hitting .331.
Senior Alex Johnson leads the club in home runs (four) and runs batted in (42).
Miami’s top two pitchers -- senior right-handers Brooks Fiala and Mac Thoreson -- will start for on the mound Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Fiala has been the No. 1 starter all year, opening 14 times. He is 6-5 with a 3.04 ERA and has a club-high 90 strikeouts, a total that ranks ninth on Miami’s single-season list.
Thoreson tallied 13 starts during the year, all in the middle game of the weekend. He is also 6-5, holding an ERA of 5.38.
As the tournament progresses, Miami will likely turn to a trio of sophomores, each making multiple starts in 2013. Right-hander Nathan Williams (4-4, 4.64) started and finished the year as the Sunday pitcher, with lefty Seth Varner (1-1, 5.83) opening three series finales in April and May. Lefty Brian Thene (2-3, 4.50) was the primary mid-week starter during the year, opening seven contests.