Miami Softball Hits Road, Opens MAC Play at Akron and Ohio

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March 29, 2007

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Miami RedHawks (9-23-1; 0-0 MAC) vs. Akron Zips (8-11; 0-0 MAC)
Friday, March 30 (DH, 1 p.m./3 p.m.)
Live Stats:

Miami RedHawks (9-23-1; 0-0 MAC) vs. Ohio Bobcats (11-16; 0-0 MAC)
Saturday/Sunday, March 30/April 1 (2 p.m./1 p.m.)
Live Stats:

MAC OPENER: Opening Mid-American Conference play this weekend, the Miami University softball team (9-23-1; 0-0 MAC) travels to face the Akron Zips and Ohio Bobcats. The RedHawks and Zips are slated for a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, March 30, while Miami and Ohio will play single games on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). Miami is coming off a 2-1 walkoff win over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday and seeks to carry that momentum into conference play.

MAC OPENING WEEKEND QUICK FACTS: Live stats courtesy of GOZIPS.COM are available for Friday's doubleheader, while GAMETRACKER is available for Saturday's and Sunday's games at Ohio ... Miami is 2-6 in its last eight MAC openers, with its last MAC-opening win coming March 25, 2005 when it downed Kent State, 7-6 ... The last time Miami opened MAC play against Akron was 2002 when the Zips swept a three-game set in Oxford ... The last time Miami opened MAC play at Akron was 2001 when the RedHawks took 1-of-3 games from the Zips. In 2001, Miami won the series opener, 1-0, before dropping the next two games, 3-2 and 10-3.

SCOUTING AKRON: Akron (8-11; 0-0 MAC) leads the all-time series with Miami, 36-20, and has won the last two games in the series ... Last season, Akron took a pair of games from Miami in Oxford, blanking the RedHawks, 2-0 and 4-0 ... Miami has not scored a run against Akron since April 17, 2005 when it downed Akron, 4-0 ... The Zips are led by first-year head coach Julie Jones and return 11 letterwinners from last season's team, which finished 26-25 and 13-9 in the MAC East ... At the plate, the Zips are led by Katrina Moffett, who is batting a team-best .354 (17-for-48) with one home run and six RBIs ... In the circle, Lindsay Bodeker leads the team in appearances (11), wins (3), games started (9) and complete games (4). Bodeker has struck out 41 batters in 55.2 innings.

SCOUTING OHIO: Ohio (11-16; 0-0 MAC) leads the all-time series with Miami, 46-39-1, but Miami has won four of its last five games against the Bobcats ... Last season, Ohio and Miami split a pair of games in Oxford, with the Bobcats blanking Miami, 2-0, in game one of a doubleheader before the RedHawks won the nightcap, 5-4 ... The Bobcats are led by second-year head coach Jill Matyuch and return 15 letterwinners from last season's team, which finished 27-40 and 7-15 in the MAC East ... At the plate, the Bobcats are led by Debbie Szalejko, who is batting a team-best .368 (28-for-76). Szalejko is one of three Bobcats hitting above .330, as Shalene Petrich (.356 BA) and Kelly Rodriguez (.338) also pace Ohio's offensive attack ... In the circle, Michelle Sauter (6-7) is the team's top arm, as she leads the team in appearances (17), games started (12), innings pitched (65.2) and strikeouts (50).

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: After missing the MAC Tournament last season for the first time since 2002, Miami begins its conference slate with the goal of returning to the conference tournament, where it has had a high degree of success. Miami advanced to the conference tournament final in three seasons prior to last year (2003-05) and won the tournament title in 2005, earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Miami has posted double-digit MAC wins in three of the past four seasons and seeks to rebound from its 7-15 campaign last season, which was marred by injuries to the pitching staff.

JUST TO JOG YOUR MEMORY: Miami heads into its conference opening weekend after posting a 1-4-1 mark over the past week, which includes Tuesday's 2-1 walkoff win over Eastern Kentucky. The RedHawks also posted an 0-4-1 mark it the inaugural Miami Softball Invitational (March 23-25), which marked the dedication weekend for Miami's new $4.5 million softball stadium ... Miami's dramatic walkoff win against Eastern Kentucky was its first win of the season when trailing after six innings. The RedHawks are now 1-16 when trailing after six complete innings ... Miami senior Leslie Macedo continues to add to her career RBI record, as she now has 90 career RBIs and needs only 10 more to hit triple digits for her career ... freshman hurler Meredith Linch picked up her first win since the Panera Bread Classic Tuesday against Eastern Kentucky when she tossed five innings of scoreless relief. Linch allowed only two hits in five innings, and, more importantly, issued only two free passes in one of her best outings of the season.

FRESHMAN POWER: Having clubbed five home runs over her first 33 collegiate games, freshman outfielder Alicia Hogl is quickly becoming the Miami's top power hitter despite hitting in the leadoff spot. After clubbing three home runs at last weekend's Miami Invitational, which included a pair of round trippers against 2006 NCAA Tournament participant Youngstown State, Hogl is one long ball shy of tying the freshman home run record and moving into the program's single-season top-five for home runs. Hogl needs one home runs to tie Becca Garcia (2003-04) for the program's freshman record (6 home runs) and is only four home runs away from tying the program's single-season record of nine, which was set in 1998 by Shawnda Moye. Hogl has 30 regular season games left to continue her power-hitting surge and her quest towards a spot in the Miami record books.

CAREER RECORDS: After breaking the Miami career RBI record at the Aztec Classic against Iona (March 17), senior Leslie Macedo continues to add to her career RBI total. Macedo now has 90 career RBIs in a little more than three-and-a-half seasons in Oxford and is the only player in program history to hit the 90-RBI mark. She has the opportunity to hit triple-digit RBIs for her career with 30 regular season games remaining ... Macedo set the Miami single-season RBI record last season with 37 and has a team-best 18 RBIs through Miami's first 33 games ... with three home runs this season, Macedo is locked in a tie for fourth place on the Miami career home run list with 13 round trippers. She is tied with Miami Hall of Famer Monique Abbitt (1988-91) for fourth place ... Macedo is one of three players in program history to hit 13 home runs and drive in 70 runs in her career.

BECAUSE STATS ARE FUN: Miami finished the month of February with a 6-8 record but is 3-15-1 through the first 19 games of March ... the RedHawks are 7-2 when scoring six or more runs ... all nine of Miami's wins have come when it held its opponent to less than six runs ... Miami has proved capable of holding leads, as it is 8-2-1 this season when leading after four innings and 6-2-1 when leading after five innings ... Conversely, Miami is 1-17 when trailing after four innings and 1-14 when trailing after five innings ... Miami is 8-5-1 this season when outhitting its opponent ... seven of Miami's nine wins have come when the RedHawks have committed zero or one error.

PRESEASON POLL: Miami was picked to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference East Division, as the league office announced its preseason poll on Feb. 6. The RedHawks, who finished fifth in the MAC East (21-34; 7-15 MAC) last season, return 11 letterwinners and eight starters from last season's squad. Kent State, which won last season's MAC Tournament and earned the conference's automatic NCAA bid, was tabbed as the MAC East preseason favorite and received four votes to win the conference tournament. Western Michigan, which was selected as the top team in the MAC West, also was picked to win the conference tournament, as it received a league-best five votes.

NEW FACE IN THE DUGOUT: Entering her first season at the helm of the Miami softball program is Kelly Kovach Schoenly, formerly an assistant coach at Penn State. In eight seasons at Penn State (1998-2006), Schoenly helped guide the Nittany Lions to seven Big Ten Tournament appearances, six NCAA Tournament berths and seven 30-win seasons, including a program-record 39 wins in 2006. Prior to Penn State, Schoenly was an assistant coach at the University of Michigan for three seasons (1995-98), and during her stint in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines won two Big Ten regular-season titles, three Big Ten Tournament titles, three NCAA Regional Championships and made three trips to the NCAA Women's College World Series.