Miami Tabbed as Softball Preseason Favorites

Updated 2/2/2010
CLEVELAND, OHIO - The 2009 MAC Tournament Champion Miami RedHawks have been selected to win the 2010 MAC Softball Tournament and the East Division Championship. After claiming the West Division Championship last season Ball State was picked to win the West again, as chosen by the league's head coaches.

The Miami RedHawks return 13 letterwinners from the 2009 team that was 33-24 overall, 13-9 in the Mid-American Conference and won the MAC Tournament Championship, as well as the first NCAA Tournament game in school history. Leading the way is the MAC Tournament MVP, sophomore pitcher Jessica Simpson. She is coming off a season where she was 24-12 with a 2.17 ERA. The 24 wins was the second-most single season in school history. The RedHawks also boast a deep and versatile offense led by senior shortstop Sarah Billstrom and senior outfielder Alicia Hogl. Billstrom hit .331 in 2009, with seven home runs and 31 RBI. Despite missing half of the season due to injury, Hogl returned to hit .321 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 31 games last season.

After claiming the Mid-American Conference title in 2009 with a program-best conference record of 18-3, Ball State begins the 2010 season ranked No. 38 in the country. They are joined by BYU and San Diego State, who also received four votes in the Softball Preseason Collegiate Top 25 Poll, released Jan. 25. Returning 11 players, including 2009 MAC Pitcher of the Year, Elizabeth Milian (Grand Blanc, Mich.), and 2009 MAC Player of the Year, Alicia Barkley (Oklahoma City, Okla.). Looking to improve on their 29-24 overall record, the Cardinals begin 2010 play Feb. 19-21 in the Phyliss Rafter Memorial Tournament in Kennesaw, Ga. Here they will face Tennessee Tech, Western Illinois, Mercer, Kennesaw State and Southern Illinois.

Kent State was picked to finish second in the East followed by Ohio third, Akron fourth, Buffalo fifth and Bowling Green sixth, respectfully. In the West Western Michigan was picked second joined by Northern Illinois third, Central Michigan fourth, Eastern Michigan fifth and Toledo sixth, respectfully.

The 2010 MAC Softball Tournament will be held a Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio May 12-15. For more information on MAC Softball visit

 East Division
1. Miami
2. Kent State
3. Ohio
4. Akron
5. Buffalo
6. Bowling Green

West Division
1. Ball State
2. Western Michigan
3. Northern Illinois
4. Central Michigan
5. Eastern Michigan
6. Toledo

2010 MAC Tournament Champion - Miami