Miami softball wins MAC tourney, earns NCAA bid

The Miami softball team hammered Bowling Green 11-0 on Saturday to win the Mid-American Conference tournament and an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. WCPO photo

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The Miami softball team hammered Bowling Green 11-0 on Saturday to win the Mid-American Conference tournament and an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. WCPO photo

By Adam Duwel

WCPO.com

OXFORD -- The Miami RedHawks softball team celebrated its third straight Mid-American Tournament championship.

The RedHawks (39-15-1) toppled Bowling Green 11-0 in five innings Saturday to secure an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Senior Brianna Pratt set the tone in the circle, allowing only one hit in 4 2/3 innings. This was Pratt’s third outing in three days. She pitched 19 2/3 innings in the tournament.

The RedHawks tallied 11 runs on 10 hits. Four RedHawk players accounted for six home runs in the championship game. Three of Miami’s home runs came in the second inning, which led to a six-run frame.

“Our bats finally came together today and hopefully we can just keep them for the NCAA Tournament,” infielder Karli Spaid after going 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs. Spaid set a single-season MAC record with her 27th home run.

Riley Coyne also hit two homers for MIami, which had four players -- Pratt, Spaid, Coyne and Holly Blaska -- named to the all-tournament team. Pratt was named the tourney’s MVP.

“One of the things as a coach is to wait to see their faces when their name was called,” Miami coach Kirin Kumar said. “To see it two years in a row, that’s awesome.”

It’s the seventh MAC Tournament title for Miami, which was the top seed after notching a 21-5 conference record this season.

The RedHawks will begin play in the NCAA Tournament on Friday against Kentucky at 4:30 p.m. in the Blacksburg Regional hosted by Virginia Tech. The Hokies face St. Francis (Pa.) in the other first-round game.