AKRON, Ohio - Playing well past 1 a.m. due to rain delaying the start of the game, the Miami softball team nearly made a comeback from a six-run deficit, but fell 6-5 to Northern Illinois in the RedHawks' opener at the Mid-American Conference Championship. Miami drops to the consolation bracket of the double-elimination tournament, where it will take on Buffalo on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
It was a difficult start for the RedHawks as the Huskies plated five runs in the top of the first inning. An error and two infield hits loaded the bases with one out. Adriana Sanchez cleared them with a grand slam home run off starter Jessica Simpson. Meredith Linch relieved her, but Northern Illinois was able to score one more run to make it 5-0.
Linch settled things down from there, only allowing a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning. She finished with one earned run on four hits in 6.1 innings pitched. She struck out four.
The RedHawks began their comeback attempt in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Kathryn Russette drew a walk. Daniela Torres was hit by a pitch to put a second runner on. Jordan McElroy singled through the right side to score Russette, while an errant throw also brought home Torres. Meghan Mawn singled through the right side to score McElroy and make it 6-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Alicia Hogl doubled to lead off the frame. Two batters later, Taylor Rice was hit by a pitch. Russette doubled to score Hogl and make it 6-4. Two batters after that, McElroy singled through the left side to score Rice. The next batter was Mawn and she came up with runners on second and third. She hit a hard line shot that looked like it was heading to left field, but the third baseman stuck her glove up and made the catch to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Sarah Billstrom led off with a single to right field. She advanced to second with no one out after a wild pitch. The Huskies were able to prevent the tying run from coming home with a flyout and two strikeouts to end the game.
McElroy finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Hogl was 2-for-4 with one run scored.
The RedHawks will be playing to keep their season going against Buffalo on Thursday. Like Wednesday, significant amounts of rain are forecast for the Akron area throughout the day which could delay the schedule. Keep checking with MURedHawks.com for the latest updates.