Miami returns home from a nine-game road swing this weekend when it welcomes two-time defending Mid-American Conference champion Kent State to Oxford for a key league series.
The RedHawks (14-15 overall) are in sole possesion of first place in the MAC with a 7-2 mark, while the Golden Flashes (14-16, 6-3) are a game behind in a second-place tie.
Miami has lost three straight contests, including both games in the Joe Nuxhall Classic Tuesday and Wednesday. The RedHawks surrendered a seven-run seventh in a 10-2 loss to Wright State in the opener, then gave up a ninth-inning run in a 7-6 setback to Xavier on Wednesday.
Kent State lost 3-2 at Penn State on Tuesday before a Wednesday game with Toledo was cancelled by rain.
Freshman Jake Romano retook the team lead in hitting this week, raising his average to .357. He missed 14 games with a knee contusion before opening in right field against the Raiders. Sophomore Matt Honchel is second at .347, hitting safely in 14 straight games, while reaching base in 20 in a row.
Miami continues to use the same weekend rotation it has all season. Senior Brooks Fiala (4-3, 3.05 ERA) will start on Friday in search of his fifth win in six outings. Fiala is tied for 28th nationally in strikeouts with 56.
Senior Mac Thoreson (3-3, 5.40) will open on Saturday. He has won three straight decisions, all in MAC play, since an 0-3 beginning.
Finally, sophomore Nathan Williams wil start the finale. He is 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA. He threw just 1.2 innings last weekend, but escaped with a no-decision.