May 10, 2012

OXFORD, Ohio -- On the heels of a five-game winning streak, Miami heads to Kent to take on the MAC's top team in a key series. Games are slated for 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The RedHawks (26-23, 10-11) have won five straight games, including a sweep of Akron last weekend to improve their chances of a berth in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Miami enters the series tied with the Zips for seventh and eighth, two games ahead of ninth.

Kent State (30-17, 18-3) has dominated MAC play this year, clinching the East Division with a sweep of Ohio last weekend. Overall, the Golden Flashes have won six in a row and nine of their last 10.

Freshman Matt Honchel is on another hot streak this week, hitting safely in six straight games. He is the nation's leading freshman hitter and tops the MAC in both overall and league stats with a .392 average. The outfielder/designated hitter has a team-best 26 multiple-high games and Honchel has posted three hitting streaks of eight games or more in 2012.

Junior Kevin Bower is batting .341 and leads the team with 43 runs batted in, while Nate Bowles is next at .337. Bryce Redeker has a team-best four homers and 37 RBIs.

As a team, Miami is hitting .297 with five players holding an average above .300.

Senior lefty Shawn Marquardt (5-4, 3.90) will take the mound for Friday's opener, followed by junior right-hander Mac Thoreson (6-3, 5.37) on Saturday.

Sophomore Charles Zubrod will make his second straight conference start, having moved from mid-week assignments last weekend. He is 3-3 this season with a 3.10 ERA in 2012 after pitching just one inning as a true freshman.