KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Miami University softball team hits the road for its next six games. It starts Friday with a doubleheader at Western Michigan beginning at 1 p.m. The RedHawks then travel to Northern Illinois for single games on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) and Sunday at 2 p.m. (EDT). Miami takes on Butler in a non-conference doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 3 p.m.
LEDBETTER NAMED MAC EAST PLAYER OF THE WEEK: For the fifth time in her career, senior catcher Kayla Ledbetter was honored as the Mid-American Conference East division Player of the Week on Monday. She finished 10-for-18 (.556) with one home run and six RBIs last week. She had an impressive slugging percentage of .778 for the week and scored three runs. Ledbetter had hits in all five games the RedHawks played. She had a sacrifice fly and a stolen base over the week, and was perfect behind the plate with a 1.000 fielding percentage (32 putouts and three assists).
EDWARDS IS A NATIONAL LEADER: So far this season, junior third baseman Remy Edwards has put down 11 successful sacrifice bunts in 25 games. Her average of 0.44 sacrifices per game leads all players in Division I. Senior second baseman Kristy Arbour is right behind her with 13 sacrifice bunts in 33 games. Her average of 0.39 sacrifices per game ranks third in the country. Arbour also ranks fifth in the country among players who are hardest to strikeout. She strikes out once every 52.5 at bats.
ABOUT WESTERN MICHIGAN: Western Michigan is 11-24 overall and 2-4 in the MAC. Last weekend it dropped two games to Northern Illinois. In its last game on Tuesday, it fell to fifth-ranked Michigan, 8-0, in five innings. The Broncos have been led offensively by sophomore outfielder Melissa Palmer. She is hitting .348 with one home run and 10 RBI. Their top pitcher has been sophomore Allyson Kus. She is 9-13 with a 3.98 ERA in 29 appearances (22 starts).
SERIES WITH WESTERN MICHIGAN: Western Michigan holds a 50-26 all-time record against Miami. The teams split a doubleheader last season in Oxford on April 5. The Broncos took a 15-2 victory in the opener. The RedHawks rebounded to earn a 5-1 win in the nightcap.
ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Northern Illinois is 15-18 overall and 3-3 in the MAC. It is coached by former Miami assistant Christina Sutcliffe. After sweeping Western Michigan last weekend, the Huskies were swept in a midweek doubleheader by Valparaiso on Tuesday. NIU is led offensively by freshman catcher Kayti Grable. She is hitting .381 with six home runs and 21 RBI. Its top pitcher is junior Jessica Sturm. She is 9-9 with a 2.87 ERA in 19 appearances (12 starts).
SERIES WITH NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Northern Illinois holds a 27-19 lead in the all-time series with Miami. The RedHawks won two out of three meetings last season. On April 6, 2013 in Oxford, Miami score four runs in the bottom of the fourth on the way to a 5-2 win. The next day, a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth by Kylie McChesney gave the RedHawks a 5-4 victory. The teams met again in the MAC Tournament on May 8, 2013 in Akron. This time NIU scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to take a 2-1 win.
ABOUT BUTLER: Butler is 16-21 overall and 4-4 in the Big East. Prior to facing Miami, the Bulldogs will have a three-game weekend series at Villanova. They have won three straight games, including sweeping a doubleheader at Morehead State on Wednesday. Butler is led offensively by sophomore shortstop Alex Kotter. She is hitting .295 with three home runs and 20 RBI. Its top pitcher is sophomore Kristin Gutierrez. She is 11-8 with a 3.61 ERA in 22 appearance (20 starts).
SERIES WITH BUTLER: Miami holds a 23-5-1 lead in the all-time series with Butler. The RedHawks swept a doubleheader in Oxford last season on April 2. Miami took a 5-4 win in eight innings in the opener. It then came back with a 6-2 victory in the nightcap. The RedHawks have won 13 straight games against the Bulldogs.
UP NEXT FOR MIAMI: The RedHawks return home for their Mid-American Conference games next week. They host Ohio in a “Battle of the Bricks” doubleheader on Friday, April 18 beginning at 1 p.m. Miami then takes on Akron in single games on Saturday, April 19 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, April 20 at 1 p.m. The RedHawks travel to Morehead State for a non-conference doubleheader on Tuesday, April 22 beginning at 2 p.m.