Tuesday, March 25 • 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26 • 4:00 p.m.
Bush Stadium at Averitt Express Baseball Complex • Cookeville, Tenn.
AROUND THE HORN
• Miami has won 10 of its last 15 games.
• Scott Slappey has hit safely in 15 of his 16 starts, recording multiple hits on seven occasions. He is riding a 10-game hitting streak.
• Miami has scored seven or more runs in six of its last seven games.
• Four Miami starters are batting .343 or higher through 20 games.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Charles Zubrod (Sr. RHP), 0-0, 9.26 ERA 11.2 IP, 10 H 15 R, 12 ER, 11 BB, 4 K
Austin Tolle (Jr. RHP), 2-0, 4.91 ERA, 18.1 IP, 21 H, 13 R, 10 ER, 7 BB, 15 K
Alex Brown (Sr. LHP), 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Jacob Honea (Jr. RHP), 1-1, 5.84 ERA, 12.1 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 11 K
Miami begins a seven-game road trip when it travels to Tennessee Tech for a brief two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday.
ABOUT TENNESSEE TECH: The Golden Eagles are off to a stellar 19-5 start, with a 6-3 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference. TTU is averaging over nine runs per game, belting 29 homers and hitting .325 as a team through 24 games. Daniel Miles tops the team with .444 with six homers and 24 RBI. Brandon Thomason leads the Golden Eagles with seven homers and 29 RBI. The TTU staff has a 3.45 ERA and feature four relievers with an ERA below 3.00. Kyle Keats leads the team with a 0.57 ERA and closer Seth Lucio has four saves and a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched.
SERIES HISTORY: Miami and Tennessee Tech have met 12 times in the school’s histories, with TTU owning a 6-5-1 lead in the series. The last meeting in the series came during the 1957 season, a 6-4 Miami win.
LAST TIME OUT: Miami went 3-1 over its brief four-game home stand last week. MU topped Northern Kentucky, 7-6, on Dan Walsh’s walk-off single in the ninth last Tuesday and took two of three in its MAC opening series against Western Michigan. Walsh went 4-for-5 with two RBI to help the Red and White open MAC play with an 11-3 win over the Broncos. Nathan Williams allowed only two runs on five hits in Miami’s first complete game of the year, but Western Michigan won a 2-1 pitching duel on Saturday. The RedHawks ended the weekend by taking the rubber game on yet another walk-off single, this coming from Max Andresen, 7-6 on Sunday.
LOOKING UP: After a slow start, the RedHawks are playing much better ball the last few weeks. Miami has won 10 of its last 15 games since starting the year 0-5. In that span, the Red and White are batting .307 (.271 in the first five games) and averaging 7.2 runs per game (4.4 in first five). Six regulars are batting .308 or better during that stretch, led by Gary Russo’s .389 average.
MAX POWERS: Junior catcher/outfielder Max Andresen has started the year on an absolute tear, posting six multi-hit games in 14 starts. Among regulars, his .356 average tops the Red and White while his 15 RBI ranks second on the team. Andresen has eight extra-base hits, already surpassing his 2013 total, while his RBI tally is only three off his 2013 finish.
HITTING DISPLAY: Miami had high expectations for sophomore Gary Russo’s bat and he has thus far delivered. After finishing with one hit on opening weekend, Russo pulled off a 14-game hitting streak, posting a .415/.508/.792 batting line with four home runs and 16 RBI in that stretch. Russo is second on the RedHawks with a .439 on-base percentage while batting .343 and slugging .657. His 13 extra-base hits (including four home runs) and 16 RBI lead the team.
SLAP ON: Junior utility player Scott Slappey has been a sparkplug wherever his name ends up in the lineup. The junior is batting .354 and has hit safely in 15 of his 16 starts. He is also showing a great deal more power than he has in the past, belting two home runs after totaling only one over his first two campaigns. Slappey has earned starts at four different positions (first base, second base, left and right field) and has posted seven multi-hit games.
GETTING IT STARTED: Sophomore outfielder Jake Romano is doing everything you expect a leadoff hitter to do so far. Romano is batting .289 with a .396 on-base percentage through 20 games leads the team with 10 stolen bases. He is also showing quite a bit more extra-base power this year, notching 10 extra-base hits (seven doubles and three triples) in the first 20 games after finishing with only six extra-base hits (3 2B, 3 3B) in 34 games as a freshman.
FAST FRIDAYS: Senior lefty Seth Varner has provided the pitching staff a nice lift over his first six starts. Varner has allowed three earned runs or less five times while logging at least five innings in each appearance. After holding Arkansas State to three runs (two earned) in six innings on opening day, the senior struck out a career-best 11 Belmont batters while handing a 4-3 lead over to the bullpen after five innings of work last on Feb. 21. He notched the best start of his career last Friday but tossing eight shutout innings while only allowing one hit to pick up his first win of the season at Davidson. On March 7, He then grinding through 6.2 innings allowing four runs (three earned) to defeat No. 10 Louisville on March 7. After posting a 5.13 ERA a year ago, Varner leads the rotation with a 3.49 mark this year. He has fanned 42 batters and walked only 12 while allowing just 35 hits in his first 38.2 innings of work.
WALSH LIFTS OFF: Senior infielder Dan Walsh has helped balance out the Red and White lineup with his solid play thus far. Walsh is, batting .351 with a team-best .440 on-base percentage. The senior has shown tremendous plate discipline, drawing 13 walks while striking out only four times in 74 at-bats. He has hit safely in 15 of the 19 games he’s played and his eight multi-hit outings ties Jake Romano for the team lead.