OXFORD, Ohio – Miami University’s softball team returns to the road this weekend as they head to Bowling Green, Ky. for the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic at Western Kentucky University.
The RedHawks (3-2) will face off against Western Illinois (2-3) and hosting WKU (3-2) in a doubleheader (11 a.m. and 4 p.m.) on Saturday, Feb. 18, followed by a matchup with Belmont (4-0) on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. After the completion of those games, the teams will be seeded and will play one final matchup, with the No. 1-No. 4 game at 4 p.m. and the No. 2-No. 3 contest at 6:30 p.m.
Strong Finish in Rosemont
Miami opened its 2017 season with five games last weekend at the Total Control Sports Invitational in Rosemont, Ill. On Friday, the Miami offense exploded early on against Butler, but the Bulldogs rebounded to eventually pull out a walk-off victory in a 13-12 shootout. In the second matchup of the day, the RedHawks were unable to recreate their earlier production, falling 8-0 to UIC in a six-inning game.
The RedHawks regrouped to take the final three contests of the weekend, beginning with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday. Sophomore Johniann Wahl’s 3 RBIs powered a 4-2 win over IUPUI, while a three-run fourth inning allowed Miami to defeat Eastern Illinois, 6-2, in the nightcap. On Sunday, the RedHawks lost a three-run lead, but a four-run rally gave them a 10-7 result against Green Bay in the tournament finale.
Junior center fielder Megan Wurts had a terrific debut for Miami, batting .412 with seven hits, two doubles and five RBIs. Senior pitcher Kelsey Fredericks finished the weekend with a win over Green Bay and a save against IUPUI. Against the Phoenix, she struck out two over 3.2 relief innings that helped the RedHawks secure a comeback victory.
The Red and White open competition against Western Illinois (2-3) of the Summit League at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Leathernecks also played last week in Rosemont, facing common opponents such as Butler, UIC and Green Bay. Coach Holly Van Vlymen’s squad is led by senior utility player Holly Hoelting, who batted .500 at Rosemont with seven hits and three RBIs.
The second matchup of the day will feature hosting Western Kentucky (3-2) of Conference USA at 4 p.m. Amy Tudor’s team opened its season last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. that saw the Hilltoppers only post one hit in the result.
Sunday’s opponent, Belmont (4-0) of the Ohio Valley Conference, went undefeated last weekend in its opening home series. First-year coach Brian Levin’s Bruins are led by a pair of rookies in pitcher Brooklin Lee, who went 3-0 with two complete games, and second baseman Bailey Sims, who batted .571 with eight hits.
Check MiamiRedHawks.com for live GameTracker updates of all four matchups. Updates can also be found on Twitter at @MiamiOH_SB.