OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University softball team heads to Firestone Stadium in Akron to attempt to defend its Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship this week. The RedHawks are the fifth seed in the double elimination tournament, and will take on eighth seed Toledo on Wednesday at 11 a.m. With a win, Miami will advance to face fourth seeded Northern Illinois later that day at 5 p.m. With a loss, the RedHawks will face an elimination game on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. All games will be webcast on MAC-Sports.com and live updates will also be on the Miami softball team’s official Twitter account @MiamiOH_Softball.

MAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The past eight years, the RedHawks have been very successful at the MAC Tournament. Miami has won the tournament crown three times: 2005, 2009 and 2012. In the 2012 tournament, the Red and White dropped their opening game to Central Michigan, 1-0, before coming back to win two games on Friday and three straight contests on Saturday. They finished the tournament by shutting out the Chippewas in back-to-back contests. All-time, Miami is a combined 25-14 at the MAC Tournament.

OPPONENT PREVIEWS

ABOUT NO. 1 SEED BALL STATE: The Cardinals are 35-15 overall and won the MAC regular-season crown with an 18-3 record. Their top hitter is junior outfielder Jennifer Gilbert. She is batting .451 with 21 home runs and 65 RBI. Their top pitcher is freshman Nicole Steinbach. She is 14-8 with a 2.19 ERA in 28 appearances (19 starts).

SERIES WITH BALL STATE: Ball State holds a 49-41 lead in the all-time series with Miami. The teams split a doubleheader on April 21 in Muncie, with the ‘Hawks taking the first game, 3-1, and the Cardinals earning a 6-0 victory in the nightcap.

ABOUT NO. 2 SEED KENT STATE: The Golden Flashes are 27-19-1 overall and won the MAC East Division with a 16-6 record. Kent State is led offensively by sophomore outfielder Kim Kirkpatrick. She is hitting .347 with three home runs and 18 RBI. The Golden Flashes have been successful this season primarily due to their strong pitching. Their staff is led by sophomore Emma Johnson, who is 20-10 with a 1.67 ERA in 34 appearances (23 starts).

SERIES WITH KENT STATE: Kent State holds a 49-48 lead in the all-time series with Miami. The Golden Flashes broke a four-game losing streak to the RedHawks by sweeping a doubleheader last Friday in Oxford. KSU took the opener, 2-0, and scored two runs in the top of the seventh of the nightcap to rally for a 3-2 win. 

ABOUT NO. 3 SEED CENTRAL MICHIGAN: The Chippewas are 29-18 overall and finished 15-7 in the MAC. Central Michigan’s top hitter is senior Macy Merchant, who bats .418 with 10 RBI. Its top pitcher is junior Chelsea Sundberg, who is 10-5 with a 2.61 ERA in 24 appearances (18 starts).

SERIES WITH CENTRAL MICHIGAN: CMU holds a 63-28 lead in the all-time series. The teams split a two-game series in Mt. Pleasant this season. The Chippewas earned a 4-2 victory on April 27. The next day, pitcher Jenna Modic held Central Michigan to only two hits in a 2-0 win.

ABOUT NO. 4 SEED NORTHERN ILLINOIS: The Huskies are 24-29 overall and finished 14-8 in MAC play after starting 1-7. NIU’s top hitter is senior first baseman Jennifer Barnett. She is batting .363 with four home runs and 36 RBI. Its top pitcher is sophomore Jessica Sturm. She is 11-14 with a 3.01 ERA in 42 appearances (24 starts).

SERIES WITH NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Northern Illinois holds a 26-19 lead in the all-time series with the RedHawks. Miami swept a two-game series in Oxford between the teams this season. On April 6, the ‘Hawks defeated the Huskies, 5-2. The next day they came from behind to earn a 5-4, eight-inning victory.

ABOUT NO. 6 SEED OHIO: The Bobcats are 26-27 overall and finished 9-13 in the MAC. Their top hitter is senior catcher Lauren Gellerman. She is batting .416 with 24 home runs and 56 RBI. Their top pitcher is freshman Savannah Jo Dorsey, who is 14-9 overall with a 3.49 ERA in 40 appearances (21 starts).

SERIES WITH OHIO: Ohio leads the all-time series 51-44-1. The RedHawks swept a doubleheader in Athens on April 12. Jenna Modic pitched a shutout in a 1-0 win in the opener. The Miami offense then had one of its best performances of the season in an 11-5 victory in the nightcap.

ABOUT NO. 7 SEED BOWLING GREEN: The Falcons are 26-22 overall and finished 9-13 in the MAC. Their top hitter is senior infielder Paige Berger. She is batting .364 with six home runs and 21 RBI. Their top pitcher is sophomore Paris Imholz. She is 16-7 with a 1.76 ERA in 39 appearances (23 starts).

SERIES WITH BOWLING GREEN: The 90-game all-time series with Bowling Green is tied at 45 wins apiece. The teams split a doubleheader in Bowling Green on March 30. The RedHawks won the opener, 3-2, before the Falcons came back with a 5-1 victory in the nightcap.

ABOUT NO. 8 SEED TOLEDO: The Rockets are 16-34 overall and finished 8-14 in the MAC. A strong hitting team, they are led by senior third baseman Courtney McCarthy. She is batting .333 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. Their top pitcher is freshman Marla Gooding. She is 11-21 overall with a 4.40 ERA in 44 appearances (27 starts).

SERIES WITH TOLEDO: Toledo holds a 43-40 lead in the all-time series with Miami. The RedHawks swept a doubleheader in Toledo to begin MAC play back on March 29. Miami took the first game, 7-5. It then withstood a furious Rocket comeback to hold on for an 11-10 victory in the nightcap.

UP NEXT FOR MIAMI: If the RedHawks are able to win their second straight MAC Tournament, they will advance to the NCAA Regionals, which take place May 17-19.