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May 12, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Five Ohio State softball players have earned All-Big Ten honors, the conference announced Thursday, and in addition one of those players, Ashley Cutcliff, was named to the first-team of the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV squad, announced Thursday by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America).

Earning second-team All-Big Ten honors were sophomore Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson) and freshman Liz Caputo (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly), while three Buckeyes were named third-team All-Big Ten, including Cutcliff (Sr., Zionsville, Ind./U. of Florida), senior Karisa Evans (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin) and sophomore Nycole Koyano (Walnut, Calif./Walnut).

Those five Buckeyes will lead No. 4 seed Ohio State (32-16, 9-7 Big Ten) into the Big Ten tournament this weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich., beginning with a quarterfinal game against No. 5 seed Wisconsin at 2:30 p.m. Friday. The winner advances to a semifinal contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Cutcliff, a sport and leisure studies major, earned a berth on the first-team Academic All-District IV squad and will be placed on the Academic All-America ballot, with results being announced June 2.

Juarez earned her conference honor at the utility player position. She saw action at third base, right field and designated player during the season, but was the mainstay of the Ohio State pitching staff, where she set a school single-season wins record with 25 victories. In Big Ten games, she went 9-5 in the circle with a 2.52 ERA and 60 strikeouts. Juarez, a third-team all-conference pick at the same position last season, pitched 86 of OSU’s 106.2 total Big Ten innings this season, which ranked second in the league, and her strikeout total was fifth. At the plate, she batted .341 (14-for-41) in conference games, which ranked fifth on the team.

In 12 Big Ten games, Caputo, an outfielder, batted a team-best .516 (16-for-31) and also posted team-high numbers for slugging percentage (.710) and on base percentage (.516). She is the first OSU freshman to earn such high Big Ten honors since Wendy Allen was named second-team in 2001. Overall, Caputo batted .379 in the regular-season and set an OSU freshman record for RBI in a game with seven against Long Island Feb. 27.

Cutcliff, a designated player, batted .370 (10-for-27) in 12 Big Ten games and posted a .556 slugging percentage, with both those numbers ranking second on the team. In all games, Cutcliff batted a team-best .409 with five home runs and 18 RBI.

Starting in all 16 Big Ten games, Evans, an outfielder, hit .359 (14-for-39) inside the Big Ten and ranked among the league and national leaders in sacrifice bunts. Her .500 on base percentage was fifth-best in the Big Ten and her 11 walks were No. 3. Evans, who earned third-team honors last season as well, batted .358 overall in the regular season and owns a .338 career batting average, which ranks sixth-best in Ohio State history.

Koyano, who played in all 16 league games and started in 15, is the Big Ten’s third-team second baseman and hit .306 (15-for-49) in conference games and tied for second in the Big Ten in stolen bases (6). Overall this season, she is 16-for-17 in the stolen base department and batted .360 with 41 runs scored and 29 walks, both of which ranked among the national leaders.

In addition, senior Meghan Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio/Bishop Ready) was named as Ohio State’s representative for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. One student-athlete from each school is chosen who has distinguished herself through sportsmanship and ethical behavior, is in good academic standing and has demonstrated good citizenship outside the competition setting. Rowlands is now a candidate for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award at the end of the academic year.

### GO BUCKS! ###