AKRON, Ohio - The Miami RedHawk softball team emphatically kept its season alive Thursday night with a 17-1 five-inning victory over Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Miami improves to 32-23 overall and advances to play Central Michigan in an elimination game on Friday at 1:30 p.m.
The 17 runs scored by the RedHawks set a new MAC Tournament record, breaking the record of 16 which had been set the game before by Ball State in a 16-1 win over Northern Illinois. It was also the most runs scored by the RedHawks since they scored 18 in an 18-4 win over Baldwin-Wallace in 1979. Finally, the win was the 114th in the past four years for the senior class, making them the winningest class in school history.
Buffalo had control problems early as Miami recorded its first run in the top of the first inning on four walks. As the Bulls continued to struggle to get the ball over the plate, the RedHawks scored 11 more runs in the next two innings to put the game out of reach. Highlights included two run scoring singles each by Taylor Rice and Jordan McElroy, as well as two sacrifice flies by Sarah Billstrom.
Miami completed the scoring with five runs in the top of the fifth inning. In all 15 different RedHawks recorded plate appearances, while the team drew a season-high 11 walks.
McElroy finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Rice finished 2-for-2 with a career high four RBI. Billstrom was 1-for-2 with three RBI and one run scored. Meredith Linch got the start and went the distance for Miami, giving up one run on six hits in five innings pitched.
It potentially could be a busy day for the RedHawks on Friday. It continues to be win or go home and Miami must defeat CMU at 1:30 p.m. to play on. If the RedHawks are victorious against the Chippewas, they will play in yet another elimination game against the winner of Northern Illinois and Ohio at 7:30 p.m.