College softball: Cummins embracing leadoff role for red-hot RedHawks who own nation’s longest win streak at 21

OXFORD — Allie Cummins wasn’t a leadoff hitter in high school. She never really fathomed doing it at the collegiate level, either.

But here she is, batting in the one slot for the Miami softball team.

And she did it well against Mid-American Conference rival Ball State on Tuesday.

Cummins clubbed three total home runs to help the RedHawks sweep the Cardinals in a doubleheader and run their winning streak to a MAC record 21 games.

“I’ve never led off until I got here,” said Cummins, a sixth-year senior catcher and Lakota West graduate. “It was a new one for me. It’s definitely different because you want to see a lot more pitches and give as much information as possible.

“But I don’t mind it. It’s done pretty well for me.”

Cummins said her job at leadoff is a multi-tasked one — to get things started and be the messenger.

Being a catcher helps with all of that.

“My role is pretty much to tell everyone what pitches I see, and thankfully, a lot of teams throw me and a lot of the other righties the exact same way,” Cummins explained. “So, I think my role — especially my first at-bat — is to give them as much information as I possibly can while also allowing myself the opportunity to be successful.”

Cummins is batting .360 (45 for 125) with 13 homers and 32 RBIs this season. She’s reeled in First Team All-MAC honors each of the last three years and turned in a .354 career batting average following the 2023 season, which ranked her second in Miami history.

Cummins sat in the top 3 in numerous other single-season and career stat categories heading into the current season.

Miami coach Kirin Kumar said Cummins is the type of player who rallies the RedHawks together with her veteran leadership.

“She’s been here for six years. Can I kick her out?” Kumar said jokingly. “No, she’s someone that you build a program around. She’s been doing that the last four years. She’s steady up here and steady behind the plate. When that happens in the box, she’s one of the best leadoff hitters in the country. She takes pitches, she gives our offense time to see what they’re throwing and herself. She can hit. You can’t pitch around anybody.”

Cummins has been a key factor in boosting the RedHawks to their highest ranking in program history at No. 24, according to Softball America. Miami’s current 21-game winning streak is the longest active win streak in the nation.

Miami beat Ball State 8-3 in Tuesday’s first game and held on for a 4-2 victory in the second.

“We actually just found out that we broke the record of win streaks,” Cummins said. “(Kumar) thought that’s why we were playing so uptight today. But I guess none of us knew, so that was funny.

“No one really cares about the streak,” Cummins added. “We’re just here to do what we do, and we know that if we struggle one day, somebody’s going to be there to have our backs.

Kumar agreed with that sentiment.

“We don’t talk about it. We just do one at a time — one game,” said Kumar, who is in her fourth season at Miami. “I don’t think any of them knew. I was the only one. I just found that out, which is great. So that’s kind of how they stay focused. They do one game at a time, one pitch at a time.”


Miami (34-6, 16-0 MAC) is the defending three-time conference champion and sits in first place with a five-game lead over Western Michigan.

The RedHawks lead the country in scoring (9.39), home runs (113), home runs per game (2.97) and slugging percentage (.756).

“Everyone comes up to us and tells us how good we are,” Cummins said. “We’ve hit 100 and something home runs. Every time someone hits one, it’s still just as exciting as the first. When people hit them, we’re like, ‘Oh my, gosh. I’ve seen her do that 20 other times. It’s still crazy that it’s going that far. She’s behind that ball so much.’

“There’s not enough words in the world to explain it.”

Karli Spaid leads the nation in home runs (25), followed by Jenna Golembiewski’s 24 homers. Spaid recently moved into a tie for third all-time in NCAA history with 92 career home runs.

Golembiewski is tops in the country with 65 RBIs, and Commins is fourth with 35 walks this season.

“We have one of the best offenses in the country,” Kumar said. “If someone’s off, someone is going to do it.”


“The streak happens because everybody here has the same goal of doing something Miami softball has never done before,” Cummins said. “With that in mind, knowing that you don’t have to be perfect every single game allows us to be more loose and have a little bit more fun.”


Miami travels to Central Michigan for a three-game series this weekend.

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