LOUISVILLE - After a week off, the Miami University softball team continues its difficult early season schedule in Louisville with the Red and Black Tournament this weekend. On Friday, the RedHawks will face Austin Peay at 11 a.m., followed by a contest against 14th-ranked Michigan at 1:30 p.m. On Saturday, Miami takes on 13th-ranked Louisville at 2:30 p.m. The 'Hawks complete play on Sunday when they have a rematch against Austin Peay at 10 a.m., followed by a game against Illinois State at 12:30 p.m.
RANKED OPPONENTS: At the conclusion of this tournament, Miami will have faced a total of four top-25 opponents in its first 15 games (Georgia Tech twice, Michigan and Louisville). For sake of comparison, last season's team faced only three ranked opponents all season (Tennessee twice and USF). Last year, the RedHawks were 2-1 against top-25 opponents.
ABOUT MICHIGAN: The Wolverines are 13-5 on the season. Their wins include victories over then No. 9 Texas A&M and then No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette. Freshman second baseman/shortstop Sierra Romero leads Michigan in numerous offensive categories, including 22 hits (five homers, two triples and five doubles), an astounding .754 slugging percentage, and 18 RBI while her .361 batting average ranks third on the squad. On the bump, sophomore righty Sara Driesenga boasts a 12-4 won-loss record, a 1.37 ERA, and 11 complete games in 17 starts (18 total appearances).
SERIES WITH WOLVERINES: Michigan holds a 9-1 lead in the all-time series with the RedHawks. The two teams last meet on May 15, 2009, in an NCAA Regional Game in Ann Arbor, Mich. and Miami fell by a score of 3-11 in six innings of play.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE: The Cardinals have jumped off to a quick 16-3 record to begin the season, including a 4-1 mark last weekend at the Citrus Classic that included victories over Temple, Longwood, Georgia Tech and LSU. Louisville is led offensively by junior second baseman Katie Keller, who swept all the major national offensive player of the week awards last week. She is hitting .450 with five home runs and 20 RBI. Its top pitcher is junior Rachel Le Coq. She is 7-1 with a 0.93 ERA in 11 appearances (nine starts).
SERIES WITH CARDINALS: Miami holds a slim 2-1 advantage in the all-time series between the two squads. In their last meeting, on Feb. 27, 2011, at the Louisville Tournament, the RedHawks edged out the Cardinals in eight innings by a score of 6-5.
ABOUT AUSTIN PEAY: The Governors are 5-3 this season, gathering wins over East Tennessee, Treveca and Alabama A&M. At the plate, sophomore second baseman Laurel Burroughs leads the Governors in nearly every offensive category with a .577 batting average, a 1.115 slugging percentage, two homers, 10 RBI, and seven runs scored in just eight games this season. Junior right-hander Lauren de Castro has started on the mound in four games this season, posting an impressive 3-1 record and a 0.78 ERA.
SERIES WITH GOVERNORS: Miami won the sole contest in the two teams' history when they met up on Feb. 11, 2012, and the RedHawks defeated the Governors by a score of 7-3.
ABOUT ILLINOIS STATE: The Redbirds are 11-10 on the season. They went 3-2 at the Disney Citrus Classic last weekend, falling to then No. 5 Texas A&M, but rebounding to defeat then No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette. Illinois has been led offensively by senior catcher Elizabeth Kay. She is hitting .319 with 16 RBI on the season. Its top pitcher has been junior Taylor Baxter. She is 6-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts).
SERIES WITH REDBIRDS: Chattanooga has won all seven previous meetings with Miami. The Redbirds took a 5-1 victory in their last meeting on Feb. 23, 2008 at the Littlewood Classic.
UP NEXT FOR MIAMI: The RedHawks head west next week when they take part in the San Diego Classic from March 14-16. Arriving early in San Diego, the RedHawks will first play a double header against Southern Utah at 7:30 p.m. followed by San Diego State at 10 p.m. The RedHawks will then begin tournament on Thursday against UT-Arlington at 4 p.m. Friday the 15th, Miami plays another 7:30 p.m./10 p.m. doubleheader with Seton Hall in the first game and Long Beach State in the second. The tournament wraps up Saturday with a final evening double header with the same start times against Colorado State to begin and Harvard at night. All start times are Eastern Daylight Time.