AKRON, Ohio - Miami kept its season alive Friday afternoon with a come-from-behind 5-4 nine inning win over Central Michigan. Taylor Rice drove in Jordan McElroy for the game-winning hit. The RedHawks improve to 33-23 on the season and will continue play at the Mid-American Conference tournament later Friday with another elimination game against Northern Illinois at 7:30 p.m.
The Chippewas began the first inning with a solo home run off starter Meredith Linch. They eventually added a second run later in the frame. Miami answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the first. Daniela Torres was hit by pitch and sacrificed to second base. A groundout moved her to third, and a Sarah Billstrom single brought her home.
Another CMU run in the second inning chased Linch and brought in Jessica Simpson in relief. The Chippewas would get one more run on Simpson in the top of the third to make it 4-1, but that would be the last run she would allow.
In the bottom of the third, Kathryn Russette led off with a single up the middle and was replaced by Lindsay Randall. Torres reached on a fielding error which moved Randall to second. McElroy put down her second sacrifice bunt of the game to move both players into scoring position. Meghan Mawn followed with a single down the leftfield line to score both runners and make it 4-3.
Miami eventually tied the score at four in the bottom of the fifth. Singles from Torres, McElroy and Mawn loaded the bases with one out. Billstrom then took a 3-1 pitch inside for a walk to drive home the tying run.
The game turned into a pitchers' duel between Simpson and Central Michigan's Kari Seddon for the next several innings. Miami was able to get a bases loaded threat in the bottom of the seventh, but Seddon got Rice hit a fly out to right field to end inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, McElroy led off with a single up the middle. Two batters later, Billstrom walked to move McElroy up to second. An Alicia Hogl groundout move McElroy to third with two outs. That left it up to Rice, who had been unsuccessful in two previous attempts this game with the bases loaded. This time would be different as she laced a line shot to left centerfield to win the game for the RedHawks.
Rice finished the game 1-fo-5 with one very important RBI. Mawn was 2-for-4 with two RBI. McElroy was 2-for-2 with two sacrifices and one run scored. Simpson earned her 19th victory of the season in relief. She threw seven innings giving up only one run on six hits. She struck out six.
The upcoming game against Northern Illinois will be the fourth meeting this season between the two squads. The Huskies won the first two in DeKalb on May 1-2. They then took the opener in the MAC Tournament, 6-5, on Wednesday night. Miami nearly came back from a 6-0 deficit but fell short in the end.