OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University softball team hosts some important games in the Mid-American Conference race this weekend. It starts Friday with the “Battle of the Bricks” as the RedHawks take on rival Ohio in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Miami then welcomes Akron to town for single games on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The RedHawks travel to Morehead State for a non-conference doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m.

MAC UPDATE: The RedHawks have reached the halfway point of their MAC schedule with a 5-5 record (Miami will only play a maximum of 20 conference games this season as their series with Buffalo was canceled due to the weather). The crazy winter has wreaked havoc on the MAC schedule this season, but has created a tight race to finish in the top eight and qualify for the MAC Tournament. Ohio currently leads the way at 8-2, while Ball State and Buffalo also only has two losses at 4-2 each. Three loss teams include Akron (5-3), Kent State (3-3) and Central Michigan (5-3). Northern Illinois joins Miami as a five-loss team at 5-5 that would currently round out the tournament field. On the outside looking in at the moment are Western Michigan (4-6), Toledo (5-7), Bowling Green (4-6) and Eastern Michigan (0-8).

SIMPSON RETURNS: When the RedHawks take on Akron over the weekend it will mark the return of Jessica Simpson, who is in her first season as an assistant coach for the Zips. Simpson (2008-12) is all-time winningest pitcher at Miami with a 102-58 record and a 1.64 ERA in 187 appearances (142 starts). The two-time MAC Pitcher of the Year finished her career in 2012 holding nearly every pitching record in the Miami record books. She also owns Mid-American Conference career records for wins (102) and shutouts (45).

OPPONENT PREVIEWS

ABOUT OHIO: Ohio is 23-17 overall and leads the MAC with an 8-2 record. The Bobcats are coming off a perfect 4-0 weekend, where they swept a doubleheader against Toledo on Friday, and then took two games against Bowling Green over the weekend. As a team, Ohio hits .280 and is led offensively by junior catcher Adrienne Gebele. She is batting .336 with six home runs and 21 RBI on the season. Its top pitcher is sophomore Savannah Jo Dorsey. She is 17-12 overall with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances (15 starts).

SERIES WITH OHIO: Ohio holds a 52-44-1 record in the all-time series with Miami. The RedHawks went 2-1 against the Bobcats last season. The Red and White swept a doubleheader with OU in Athens on April 12. Jenna Modic pitched a complete game shutout to lead Miami to a 1-0 win in the opener. Modic then drove in four runs to help the ‘Hawks take an 11-5 victory in the nightcap. The teams met again in the MAC Tournament in Akron on May 9. This time Ohio earned the 3-2 victory, when Modic was robbed of a game-winning home run by Bobcat centerfielder Alyssa Wolfe in the bottom of the seventh.

ABOUT AKRON: Akron is 19-10 overall and 4-2 in the MAC. The Zips are coming off a 3-1 weekend. They split two games against Bowling Green last Friday before sweeping a weekend series against Toledo. Prior to facing the RedHawks, they will take on Ball State in a doubleheader on Friday. Akron is led offensively by sophomore outfielder Shawna Mailloux. She is hitting .371 with three home runs and 17 RBI. Its top pitcher is sophomore Erin Seiler. She is 12-4 with a 2.10 ERA in 20 appearances (18 starts). As a team, the Zips have stolen 70 bases, which ranks third in the country.

SERIES WITH AKRON: Akron holds a 41-30 lead in the all-time series with Miami. The teams split a series in Akron last season. On April 13, the Zips defeated the RedHawks, 8-1. The next day, Miami scored three runs in the top of the seventh to defeat Akron, 7-6.

ABOUT MOREHEAD STATE: Morehead State is 8-29-1 overall and 3-12 in the OVC. In their last action, the Eagles split a non-conference doubleheader at Dayton on Wednesday. Prior to taking on the RedHawks, Morehead State will have doubleheaders against Austin Peay on Friday and Murray State on Saturday. The Eagles are led offensively by junior infielder Katie Raile. She is hitting .304 with four home runs and 21 RBI. Their top pitcher is freshman Megan Tymorek. She is 4-12 with a 5.94 ERA in 25 appearances (16 starts).

SERIES WITH MOREHEAD STATE: Miami holds a 13-2 all-time lead in the series with Morehead State. The Eagles captured their first ever wins against the RedHawks with a doubleheader sweep on April 9 last season in Oxford. MSU earned a 7-4 victory in the opener, and took a 10-6 win in the nightcap.

UP NEXT FOR MIAMI: The RedHawks travel to Ball State next weekend for single games against the Cardinals on Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 at 1 p.m. Miami then heads to Butler on Tuesday, April 29 for a makeup doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.