Miami Softball Opens 2005 Season Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn.

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Feb. 15, 2005

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THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM: The RedHawks begin their 2005 season on Friday as the back-to-back MAC Tournament Finalists begin a campaign to break through this season and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

POGGENDORF'S LAST STAND: Senior pitcher Jackie Poggendorf begins her final season in the Red and White and looks to take over several statistical career categories this year.

START OF A LONG ROAD: This weekend begins the most ambitious travel schedule in Miami softball history, with the RedHawks participating in five tournaments in four different time zones. Miami's home opener is not until March 30.

HERE WE GO!: Miami takes the field for the first time since May 16, 2004, on Friday when it faces Virginia Tech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Sonic Challenge. The RedHawks also tangle with Western Kentucky, James Madison and Chattanooga during the weekend.

MIAMI SOFTBALL WORLD TOUR 2005: The RedHawks participate in a school-record five pre-conference tournaments this season, playing in four time zones in five weekends. Last year, Miami participated in four tournaments, all in the southeastern portion of the U.S. The team was due to play in five, but the First Pitch Classic in Charlotte, N.C., was cancelled due to weather. Miami makes another go at the Charlotte tournament this year.

RECENT STARTS: Miami has six games this weekend. During Head Coach Angie Jacobs' six-season tenure, the RedHawks have achieved their best six-game start on four occasions, when the team started 3-3 in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. Miami has not had a winning six-game stretch to start the season since 1992, when the team started 4-2. To the right is a list of Miami's six-game starts in the 30-season history of the program.

LAST TIME IN CHATTANOOGA: Miami participated in last year's Chattanooga Sonic Challenge, a six-game weekend that put Miami against local rival Dayton, Samford, Bradley, Virginia and two of this year's opponents, Western Kentucky and host Chattanooga. The RedHawks got past Samford, 4-0, but lost the other five contests. Miami started the tournament against Dayton, losing 2-1, despite a two-hitter from Heather Freudenberger. Miami pounded out eight hits but left seven on base to just one for the Flyers. Later that day, Miami's win over Samford was helped by 2-for-3 performances at the plate from Jackie Poggendorf and Bianca Paz. Courtney Salmon got the win in the circle. Against Western Kentucky, Miami mustered just three hits in a 3-1 defeat with Poggendorf being tagged with the loss. That afternoon, Miami lost 2-1 to Chattanooga with Salmon pitching. The Mocs pushed the winning run across in the bottom of the fifth, breaking a 1-1 tie and holding on for the victory. On the last day of the tournament, Freudenberger was tagged for five runs in a 5-1 loss to Bradley as Miami's run came in the top of the sixth with the team down 5-0. In the tournament's final game, Miami took Virginia to extra innings before the Cavaliers scored in the bottom of the ninth. Salmon threw the final 2 1/3 innings of the tight game, receiving the loss.

COACHING MILESTONE AHEAD: Miami Head Coach Angie Jacobs already owns the career wins mark for the RedHawk program, and the record for most games coached at Miami is close at hand. If the RedHawks play all their games in the pre-conference season as scheduled, Jacobs will tie and pass predecessor Sandy Pearsall on March 12 against North Carolina State and Pacific for a total of 323 games at the helm of the RedHawks.

ALL-TIME SERIES AGAINST THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: The RedHawks met three of this weekend's four opponents last year, dropping one game apiece to Chattanooga and Western Kentucky in the same Sonic Challenge tournament and losing two to Virginia Tech at the Blue and Gold Classic in Miami. All-time, Miami is 0-2 against Chattanooga, 1-3 against Virginia Tech and 2-1 against Western Kentucky. Miami and James Madison have not met, though the RedHawks are 10-1 all-time against teams in James Madison's Colonial Athletic Conference, standing 1-0 against Drexel, George Mason and Towson and 7-1 against UNC Wilmington. Last year, Miami faced two CAA teams in George Mason and UNCW, beating GMU, 6-3, in the Triangle Classic in Raleigh, N.C., and defeated UNCW, 5-1, at the Buzz Classic in Atlanta.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS--CHATTANOOGA: The Mocs had a rough opening to their season, dropping two games at Georgia Tech and two more in Tempe, Ariz., against Texas A&M and Arizona, two Miami opponents later this year. Chattanooga was outscored 26-0 in the four games, with Senior Lacey Swarthout picking up two of the four losses in the circle. Five players each had one of the team's five hits in the first four games.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS--JAMES MADISON: The Dukes won three and lost two at the Triangle Classic hosted by North Carolina last weekend, defeating Howard, Elon and George Washington but falling to Campbell and N.C. State, two teams Miami plays later this year. Junior Briana Carrera is leading JMU at the plate with a .438 average (7-for-16) while freshman Christina Massey (.385, 5-for-13) leads the team with four RBI and one home run. In the circle, Carrera threw 17 1/3 innings without an earned run (three unearned) en route to a 2-1 record. Senior Liz George (1-0, 1.56) and sophomore Renee Bounds (0-1, 3.00) also got some experience in JMU's first weekend.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS--VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies started their season this past weekend with a 2-2 record in DeLand, Fla., knocking off host Stetson twice but falling to Iowa twice. Virginia Tech has two hitters over .400, with senior Megan Evans (.455, 5-for-11) leading the team in RBI, with three, and junior Callie Rhodes (.400, 4-for-10) as two of Va. Tech's three players with four or more hits. Junior Katie Maynard (1-1, 1.11) and freshman Angela Tincher (1-1, 1.50) both saw action in the circle, with Tincher edging out Maynard in innings pitched, 14 to 12 2/3.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS--WESTERN KENTUCKY: Like Miami, the Hilltoppers open their season at the UTC Sonic Challenge. In the circle, WKU returns Adrienne Lathrop, the Hilltoppers' top starter from last year with a record of 16-9 and an ERA of 1.80. In her 179 innings, Lathrop accrued an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 121-29, allowing opponents to hit .227 off her. In the field, WKU returns seven of its 10 regular starters from last year, but only one of its top four hitters. Senior outfielder Renita Pennington hit .317 while starting all 58 games during WKU's 35-28 season a year ago.

NEW FACES: Miami brings in eight freshmen this year, several of whom could make an immediate impact. Four rookies are among Miami's likely starters, with Halle Popson penciled in at first base, Jessica Moore in at second and Christine Bills and Breanna Robinson as two of four candidates to start regularly in the outfield. Popson occupies the position opened up with the graduation of Jacque Molinaro. Molinaro started 51 games last year and hit .269 with her 14 RBI and 48 total bases both third among her teammates. Her 145 at-bats were second among RedHawks. Moore takes over at second base with Jessica Zogaib completing her eligibility last season. Zogaib hit .172 with 20 hits last season. Bills and Robinson compete to fill the outfield spot left open by another 2004 graduate, all-MAC honoree Jamie Carey, while senior Allison Maxey and junior Kristen Hays return as establish patrollers of the outfield. Carey hit .271 and was the only RedHawk to start all 52 games in 2004. Her 170 at-bats led the team, while her 46 hits were tied for the team lead with junior Bianca Paz and her 49 total bases were tied for second most with senior Jackie Poggendorf, and her 22 runs were alone in second place on the RedHawks.