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Ohio outfielder Belle Hummel (22) rounds third as the team celebrates Yasmine Logan's grandslam to put the score at 12-3, Ohio on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Softball: MAC tournament scouting report

Ohio’s regular season has officially come to a close as it won at least 30 games for the first time since 2019. Ohio is seeking to cap off the season with its first MAC Tournament Championship since 2018, a season in which it won 40 games. 

Standing in the way for Ohio is a trio of tough opponents. Miami won the right to host the tournament in Oxford, as it finished the season off strong by winning 17 of its last 21 games. Ohio’s first opponent, Central Michigan, is yet another formidable foe. The final competitor is Ball State, a team that won the race for a top-four spot finishing with a slightly better record than Akron.

Here are statistical leaders and a scouting report on each of Ohio’s three opponents: 

Miami (34-18, 21-8 MAC):

Individual statistical leaders

Average: Karli Spaid (.361)

Hits: Spaid (60)

OPS: Jenna Golembiewski (1.324)

Home runs: Spaid (19), T-6th in the country

RBI: Spaid (52)

Innings pitched: Brianna Pratt (225.0), #1 in the country

ERA: Pratt (2.89)

Strikeouts: Pratt (184)

Scouting the RedHawks:

As far as offenses go, Miami’s is one of the best in the country. The Redhawks have hit the third-most home runs in the country behind only nationally ranked teams like Virginia Tech and reigning national champion, Oklahoma. Led by MAC Player of the Year, Jenna Golembiewski, Miami has an offense that saw four batters hit more than 10 home runs this season. Miami led the conference in nearly every statistical metric this season including, batting average, hits, home runs, RBI, runs scored and OPS.

Miami’s pitching is also impressive. Miami’s ace, Brianna Pratt, won MAC Pitcher of the Year. Her 225 innings pitched are the most in the country. At home, Miami is a tough team to defeat as it went 14-5 in the regular season at Miami Softball Stadium. However, if teams can keep the ball in the park and get Pratt out of the game, they can beat the Redhawks.

Central Michigan (28-24, 18-11 MAC):

Individual statistical leaders

Batting average: Abbey Tolmie (.383)

Hits: Tolmie (70)

OPS: Kelsey Alexander (1.050)

Home runs: Alexander (9)

RBI: Alexander (33)

Innings pitched: Grace Lehto (175.2)

ERA: Kaitlyn Bean (3.66)

Strikeouts: Lehto (188), tied for 21st in the country

Scouting the Chippewas:

Although Central Michigan has been the most successful team in the MAC tournament, it has not won a MAC Championship since 2013 and is looking to end the drought. After a bit of a slow start to the conference slate, Central Michigan won 11 in a row before eventually losing its streak at the hands of Miami. Central Michigan struggled at the end of the season losing five of its last six games.

Grace Lehto is a catalyst for Central Michigan’s pitching staff. She has racked up the 21st-most strikeouts in the country this season. Lehto has had impressive single-game accomplishments including a 15-strikeout game against Army and a no-hitter against Bowling Green. However, Lehto is prone to surrendering home runs. Her 27 home runs given up are the most in the MAC. 

Ball State (27-24, 17-12 MAC):

Individual statistical leaders

Batting average: Amaia Daniel (.404)

Hits: Haley Wynn (61)

OPS: Wynn (1.192)

Home runs: McKayla Timmons (12)

RBI: Timmons (44)

Innings pitched: Angelina Russo (116.2) 

ERA: Russo (2.76)

Strikeouts: Russo (87)

Scouting the Cardinals:

Some of Ball State’s results have been unexpected. Series losses at home to Toledo and on the road against Western Michigan were a bit of a surprise. Despite some losses to teams with inferior records, making the MAC tournament is a huge accomplishment.

Angelina Russo is the main pitcher for Ball State. Although Ball State trots out more pitchers than most teams, Russo is the most effective one and has almost twice as many innings pitched as the next highest, Bridie Murphy (69.1 IP). However, getting the toughest opening matchup in the bracket, against Miami, suggests it may need to find its way through the loser’s bracket.


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