MAC Tournament (May 21-25)
Miami (29-25, 18-9 MAC, No. 3 Seed) vs. Buffalo (24-24, 13-13 MAC, No. 6 Seed)
Wednesday, May 21 • 9:30 a.m.
Miami (29-25, 18-9 MAC, No. 3 Seed) vs. Central Michigan (35-21, 19-8 MAC, No. 2 Seed) or Akron (25-28, 12-15 MAC, No. 7 Seed)
Thursday, May 22 vs. Central Michigan or Akron • 1:00/4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 23-Sunday, May 25 • TBA
All Pro Freight Stadium • Avon Lake, Ohio
AROUND THE HORN
• Miami enters the MAC Tournament having won 14 of its last 16 conference games to claim its first MAC East title since 2005.
• All nine Miami regular starters finished the regular season batting .284 or higher.
• In 27 MAC games, the RedHawks’ starting pitchers have pitched at least six innings 24 times and posted 21 quality starts.
• John Crummy is hitting .600 with eight extra base hits (4 2B, 4 HR) and 11 RBI in his last five games (.275, 7 XBH and 17 RBI in first 44 games).
• Matt Honchel is on an 11-game hitting streak and has reached base in 15-straight contests.
• The RedHawks have hit 11 home runs in their last six games after belting 15 in their first 48 contests.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Seth Varner (Sr. LHP), 7-2, 2.59 ERA, 98.1 IP, 83 H, 34 R, 28 ER, 23 BB, 111 K
Kevin Hughes (Sr. RHP), 4-5, 2.70 ERA, 73.1 IP, 68 H, 32 R, 22 ER, 20 BB, 47 K
Nathan Williams (Jr. RHP), 5-6, 5.68 ERA, 82.1 IP, 90 H, 59 R, 52 ER, 32 BB, 53 K
Ryan Powers (Jr. RHP), 8-3, 4.37 ERA, 78.1 IP, 77 H, 42 R, 38 ER, 33 BB, 56 K
Miami enters the MAC Tournament as the third seed looking for its first tournament title since 2005. The road to a title begins against Buffalo on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. The Red and White will then play either Central Michigan or Akron on Thursday. The double elimination tournament runs until Sunday.
ABOUT BUFFALO (24-24, 13-13 MAC)
• After beginning MAC play with an 11-6 mark, the Bulls dropped seven of their last nine conference contests.
• In MAC play, UB’s 14 home runs and 38 steals were the third most in the conference.
• Tyler Mautner (.352), Matt Pollock (.329) and Mike Burke (.309) all finished the season batting over .300.
• On May 9, Kevin Hughes tossed 7.1 innings and allowed five runs against Miami.
LAST TIME OUT: The RedHawks continued their winning ways with an emphatic sweep at rival Ohio to win their first MAC East title since 2005. The Red and White belted six homers in the series with John Crummy and Gary Russo blasting three apiece. That sweep gives Miami seven-straight wins entering the MAC Tournament.
MIAMI VS. THE FIELD: The RedHawks faced six of the other seven qualifiers in the Mid-American Conference Tournament earlier this season, missing only regular season MAC Champion Ball State from their schedule. Miami went a collective 10-8 against the current tournament field in 2014, with the scores listed below (home games in CAPS).
Central Michigan (0-3)
3/29 at Central Michigan L, 4-8
3/30 at Central Michigan L, 1-4
3/30 at Central Michigan L, 1-2
Kent State (1-2)
4/11 at Kent State L, 2-4
4/12 at Kent State L, 4-13
4/13 at Kent State W, 6-4
Bowling Green (2-1)
5/2 BOWLING GREEN W, 5-4 (10)
5/3 BOWLING GREEN W, 3-1
5/4 BOWLING GREEN L, 0-5
5/9 at Buffalo W, 9-8 (11)
5/10 at Buffalo W, 9-7
5/11 at Buffalo W, 5-4
4/4 AKRON L, 5-7
4/5 AKRON W, 6-0
4/6 AKRON W, 5-3
Western Michigan (2-1)
3/21 Western Michigan W, 11-3
3/22 Western Michigan L, 1-2
3/23 Western Michigan W, 7-6 (10)
OFFENSE IS BACK
• Miami’s offense closed the season with a fury in the final six games of the year, tallying 53 runs in that stretch (all wins) after scoring just 30 runs in the previous 10 contests.
• The RedHawks enter the MAC with a balanced lineup with all nine regulars batting .284 or higher, including four batters hitting at least .307.
• This stretch bumped Miami’s seasonal average to .285, the third best in the MAC.
• Thanks to 11 home
QUITE THE ROLL
• Facing a sweep at the hands of perennial MAC power Kent State on April 13, Miami salvaged a win by grinding out a 6-4 victory.
• That win started an impressive string where the RedHawks won 14 of their last 16 MAC contests to go from 4-7 to winning the MAC East at 18-9.
• Eleven of the RedHawks’ 14 wins in that stretch have come by one or two runs.
• Miami is a perfect 10-0 on the road during this streak.
NOT SO CRUMMY
• Senior first-baseman John Crummy is hitting his stride at just the right time for the RedHawks, batting .600 in his last five games to raise his season average to .314.
• During this stretch, Crummy has hit all four of his home runs this season and posted four doubles for eight extra base hits, outdoing his total of seven from his first 44 games played.
• In 27 MAC games, Miami’s starting pitchers have a 2.96 ERA.
• RedHawks’ starters have tossed 188.1 innings, averaging nearly seven innings per start in league play.
• MU’s starters have logged at least six innings in 24 of 27 MAC games.
GRAB A PEN
• Despite the emergence of the weekend rotation, the MU bullpen has been a bit of a concern. Relievers have compiled a 6.03 ERA with a 6.71 mark in MAC play.
• Five players have combined for MU’s 12 saves, led by Charles Zubrod’s four.
• Senior lefty Seth Varner has been a cut above the RedHawks’ starters since day one, notching a team-best 2.59 ERA in 14 starts (sixth in the MAC).
• In MAC play, Varner is second among all MAC starters with a 2.06 ERA.
• Varner has pitched at least five innings in all 14 starts, tossing six innings 13 times.
• On Feb. 28, the senior carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, eventually throwing eight shutout innings to post his first win at Davidson.
• Varner has struck out seven or more batters in 11 of his last 12 starts.
• The lefty leads the MAC with 111 strikeouts, the third most in school history.
• Varner is one strikeout behind Buddy Schultz (112; 1971) and nine back of Dave Swartzbaugh (120; 1989) on the single season list.
• Junior infielder Ryan Elble bided his time early in the year, but has not looked back towards the bench after making his first start at shortstop on March 11.
• Elble finished third on the RedHawks with a .307 average and topped all MU batters with a .396 on-base percentage.
• All but one of Elble’s 29 runs scored and all of his 33 RBI came on March 11th or later, the second highest team mark of both categories in that span.
• Elble drove in a team-high 24 runs in MAC play, the seventh most in the league.
• Senior infielder Dan Walsh has been a constant spark for MU, notching a team-high 22 multi-hit games while batting a team-best .322.
• Walsh’s 69 hits are tied for the soxth most in the league.
• The senior has reached base at least once in 43 of 53 games this season.
• In MAC play, Walsh sits 11th in the league with a .349 average.
• Sophomore Gary Russo has provided thunder in the middle of the RedHawks’ lineup with a .295 average, 26 extra-base hits and 36 RBI in his first year on campus.
• Russo recorded a team-best 14-game hitting streak from Feb. 21-March 21, batting .414 with a .508 on-base percentage and a .792 slugging percentage during that streak.
• Russo’s 10 home runs lead the MAC while his 111 total bases sit second among MAC batters.