TEMPE, Ariz. (May 27) -- Buoyed by the left-handed pitching of freshman Chris
Leonard, Miami University remained alive at the NCAA West Baseball Regional with a
6-3 victory over Creighton University in an elimination game Saturday afternoon at
With the win, the RedHawks improved to 40-22, their first 40-win season since notching
a school-record 45 wins in 1977. Creighton, which was eliminated from the four-team
regional, finishes at 38-23. Miami now faces the loser of the Arizona State-Texas game
at 10 p.m. (Ohio time) tonight (Saturday).
Leonard, who has won six consecutive decisions, pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing three
runs on eight hits. In the last two weeks, Leonard (7-1) has earned three wins and a save
to lead Miami's hurlers. Leonard owns a team-best 2.79 earned run average.
Chris has been our most consistent pitcher of late, said Miami coach Tracy Smith.
Nothing bothers him. For a freshman, he has a great deal of poise.
With the score knotted at 2-2, Miami broke the game open with a four-run seventh
inning. After Joe Spain lined out to Bluejay shortstop Ken Sarna, Miami's Jeremy Ison
reached on a two-base throwing error by Sarna. Junior Brady Nori then stroked a
run-scoring single that put the RedHawks in front for good at 3-2. Catcher Luke Reinhart
then reached safely on a single before freshman Zach Schmidt unleashed a run-scoring
single to left field for a 4-2 Miami advantage.
Nori's hit was the first for Miami since center fielder Clark Mace opened the game with a
double down the right field line. Creighton starter Cory Slining (7-6), who suffered the
loss, did not allow a hit to 23 successive Miami batters.
Bobby Barnes and Tom Yost added run-scoring singles that upped Miami's lead to 6-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Bluejays scored a run before Leonard pitched out a
two-on, one-out situation. In the eighth, Leonard walked his fifth and sixth batters of the
game before being pulled. He threw 127 pitches in the 100-plus degree desert weather.
I was pleased with the way we came back and regrouped after last night's marathon
game (vs. Arizona State), Smith said. We were upset with the effort we put forth last
night. It was much more pleasant watching today's game. We can still play better,
Sophomore Billy Kieninger, normally used as a starter, entered the game and shut down
all five batters he faced. It was the first save of his Miami career.
Leonard and Kieninger were bolstered by a strong defensive effort. Shortstop Jeremy
Ison made several outstanding plays and finished with a game-high seven assists. Miami
only suffered one fielding miscue which did not cost the RedHawks.