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Softball falls to Miami in MAC Tournament second round, will play elimination game


The Central Michigan Women's Softball Team comes together for a mound visit against Western Michigan April 2 at Margo Jonker Stadium.

A day after defeating Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, the No. 5 Central Michigan softball team fell to the elimination bracket. 

In the tournament's second round, No. 1 Miami (35-14) defeated the Chippewas (22-26-1) with a dominating 7-0 victory at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio. 

Neither team scored until the RedHawks did so in the bottom of the third inning where they scored a pair of runs capped off by designated hitter Ashton Slone. She ripped a double off of CMU sophomore right-hander Samantha Howell (L, 7-10). 

Sloane continued her strong performance with a run scored in the fifth inning and a two-run home run off of freshman righty Kaitlyn Bean.

Howell and Bean, the mainstays of the Chippewa rotation, struggled in the contest. Howell allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits with one strikeout in four innings pitched. Bean was given two innings in relief and allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits with two strikeouts. 

On the other side, right-hander Courtney Vierstra (W, 19-7) was impressive in a complete game effort. The sophomore allowed just three hits and walked three. Vierstra's shining stat was 13 strikeouts of Chippewa batters.

So far in the MAC Tournament, Vierstra has not allowed a run to score as she recorded another perfect game the day before against No. 8 Western Michigan. As the RedHawks reach the next round, Vierstra has a 1.73 ERA and 254 strikeouts this season alone in 169 2/3 innings pitched. 

Miami will play the winner of No. 7 Toledo and No. 3 Ohio. In the first round, the Rockets upset No. 2 Kent State and the Bobcats took care of No. 6 Ball State. 

As for CMU, Bean and Howell lead the pitching staff with a 3.75 and a 4.37 ERA, respectively. Bean holds the only winning record on the team at 8-7.

With the loss, the Chippewas fall to the elimination bracket where they will face the winner of the Kent State and Ball State matchup. The contest will be contested at 2 p.m. May 10 at Firestone Stadium.

Should CMU win that game, it would play another elimination game later that day against either Northern Illinois or the loser of the Ohio-Toledo matchup. If it loses, it will be eliminated from the tournament.