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April 8, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – On the road for the past two weekends, the Ohio State softball team returns to the friendly confines of Buckeye Field for a midweek doubleheader against in-state foe Ohio. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State is 17-18 overall after dropping three games last weekend against fifth-ranked Michigan. Senior Evelyn Carrillo leads the team with a .364 average and has driven in 23 runs. Junior Caitlin Conrad checks in with a .353 average and a team-high 25 RBI to go along with 10 doubles, six home runs and 27 runs scored. Taylor Watkins is hitting .321, followed by Cammi Prantl (.313).

In the circle, junior Olivia O’Reilly has logged 77.2 innings thus far with a 2.79 ERA and 57 strikeouts. In the last 11 games, she has pitched 38.0 innings with 31 strikeouts.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
Ohio comes into Wednesday’s games with a 19-15 overall record and three hitters that are batting over .300 – Adrienne Gebele (.365), Casie Hutchinson (.324) and Amanda Dalton (.320). On the mound, Savannah Jo Dorsey has pitched 143.1 innings with a 2.69 ERA and 155 strikeouts. Lauren McClary is 4-4 with a 3.99 ERA in 73.2 innings.

The Bobcats are coming off a 6-3 victory over Buffalo last Sunday in Athens.

FOLLOWING FROM HOME
A link to Gametracker for each game against Ohio can be found on the Ohio State softball schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. The games will also be streamed live on Buckeye Vision (subscription required) and BTN.com. Live updates will also be available on the team’s official Twitter account, @OhioState_SB.

THE LAST 15
Ohio State has won eight of its last 15 games and in that stretch has been getting both timely hitting and consistent pitching. A look at the top hitters over that span:

Evelyn Carrillo…… .413, 11 RBI, 3 HR
Taylor Watkins .367, 8 RBI, 3 2B, 2 HR
Cammi Prantl .378, 11 runs, 8 2B, 12 RBI
Caitlin Conrad .333, 13 RBI, 4 2B, 4 HR

Top pitchers:
Olivia O’Reilly….. 5-2, 2.30 ERA, 41 K

CAREER RECORDS WATCH
Melanie Nichols, a fifth-year senior, is looking to work her way up the career record books for wins and strikeouts. In 2010, she made an instant impact as a freshman, going 21-3 with a 1.92 earned-run average of a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Nichols redshirted in 2011 while recovering from an injury and returned in 2012 to start 25 games (12-9, 3.45 ERA, 82 K). In 2013, Nichols went 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 51 Ks. Currently, she ranks sixth in all-time in wins (43) and sixth in strikeouts (302).

Career wins
1. Kim Reeder (2006-09)………….. 77
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.)… 43

Career Strikeouts
1. Jamee Juarez (2004-07)……… 747
5. Genice Turley (1994-95))……. 307
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.). 302

In addition, senior Evelyn Carrillo is also climbing her way up the career lists in hits and runs batted in. The senior from Corona, Calif., has played in 192 career games and currently ranks 12th in hits (190), just four shy of 11th place. Her 136 RBI are good for sixth place.

Career Hits
1. Anna Smith (1999-02)………… 243
11. Shauna Bowman (1988-91).. 194
12. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.).. 190

Career RBI
1. Sam Marder (2007-10)……….. 191
5. Kristine Himes (2000-03)…….. 138
6. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.)…. 136

IN THE BIG TEN STATS
A look at where the Buckeyes stack up amongst their Big Ten counterparts:

Batting average…………….. 7th, .281
Runs……………………………. 7th, 164
Hits……………………………… 6th, 253
RBI……………………………… 6th, 154
Doubles………………………… 2nd, 60

Big Ten-only games:
Batting average…………….. 3rd, .338
ERA……………………………. 6th, 4.04
Runs……………………………… 4th, 58
Hits………………………………. 3rd, 80

Additionally, several individuals rank among the Big Ten leaders – Evelyn Carrillo is fifth among all players in Big Ten-only batting average (.519) and is 12th in all games. Caitlin Conrad is fifth in the conference in slugging percentage (.667) and tied for 11th in RBI (25). Olivia O’Reilly is 12th in ERA (2.79) and 10th in opposing batting average (.242).

BUCKEYE-BOBCAT TIES
Ohio State assistant coach Jenna Hall coached for five years in Athens, helping the Bobcats to the finals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament three times, and the most conference wins in a ten-year period in both 2010 and 2012. In addition, she oversaw three of the best Ohio offensive lineups in school history during the 2009, 2010 and 2012 campaigns, respectively.

A MARKED IMPROVEMENT
Several Buckeyes are enjoying significant statistical improvements at the plate from 2013 to 2014, including senior Melaina Saalfeld, junior Caitlin Conrad and sophomore Jayla Saibene.

Player……………………………………..         2013       2014       Diff.
Caitlin Conrad…………………………..         .285        .353        +.068
Jayla Saibene……………………………         .214        .254        +.040
Melaina Saalfeld……………………….         .193        .247        +.054

PLAYING THE BEST
The Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule will once again test Ohio State against some of the nation’s elite. In all, OSU will play at least 16 games against teams that qualified for last year’s NCAA Tournament, including eight against squads that advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Additionally, Ohio State plays 15 games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Top 25 poll. Nine of those games are against Top 10 teams. Below is Ohio State’s all-time record against team’s currently in the nation’s power conferences, including the Pac-12, Big XII, Big East, SEC and ACC.

EXPERIENCED COACHING STAFF
Ohio State’s coaching staff of Kelly Kovach Schoenly, Amanda Buchholz, Jenna Hall and Megan Coletta has 36 years of combined experience either playing for coaching in the Big Ten. Kovach-Schoenly was four-year starter at Michigan and was an assistant coach for nine years at Penn State. Buchholz was a starting shortstop at Nebraska from 2000-03 and a volunteer assistant coach with the Cornhuskers for six years as a volunteer assistant. Hall played at Illinois for four years and is the school’s all-time leader in career and single season batting average. Coletta wrapped up her four-year playing career with the Buckeyes last spring.

LAST TIME VS. OHIO

Ohio 7, Ohio State 3
Despite a career-high two hits from Keelia Nester, the Ohio State softball team opened up the Red & Black Classic with a 7-3 loss to Ohio on March 7 at Louisville’s Ulmer Stadium.

Trailing 4-0, the Ohio State bats woke up in the third inning, as the Buckeyes were able to score three runs on four hits. Nester started it out with a single up the middle, and she as sacrificed over to second base by Melaina Saalfeld. Taylor Watkins walked and Cammi Prantl delivered the biggest blow of the inning, a three-run home run to right field, scoring Watkins and Nester. Evelyn Carrillo followed with a single, but the inning ended on a strike out a fly out.

Melanie Nichols took the loss, going two innings and giving up four hits and four earned runs. Shelby Hursh tossed three innings in relief, surrendering three hits and two earned runs. Olivia O’Reilly scattered two hits and did not allow a run in two innings.

LAST SEASON VS. OHIO

Ohio State 4, Ohio 2
Down 1-0, the Buckeye bats came alive in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs on two hits vs. OU starter Savannah Jo Dorsey. Ohio State claimed its first hit of the contest when Cammi Prantl sent a single down the left field line, scoring pinch runner Jesse Machovina. Leesa Gresham followed with the big hit of the game when she sent a liner over the left field wall for a three-run home run to make it 4-1 in favor of OSU. Taylor Watkins was also on base on Gresham’s long ball after being hit by a pitch for the second-consecutive at bat.

The four runs would be all Ohio State would need as relief pitcher Kasie Kelly limited the Bobcat bats to one run on two hits with two strikeouts in four innings of work.

Ohio State 6, Ohio 1
Guided by 17 strikeouts by Alex DiDomenico, Ohio State claimed the sweep with a 6-1 win in game two at Ohio Softball Field. The 17 strikeouts – second-most in school history – was one shy off the school record held by former Buckeye Kristi DeVries, who posted 18 strikeouts during the 2001 campaign.

Offensively, Maddy McIntyre went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple, while Megan Coletta and Taylor Watkins each notched a home run and two RBI.

OHIO STATE-INDIANA SERIES NOTES
• The Buckeyes’ top four hitters (Conrad, Watkins, Prantl, Carrillo) combined to go 21-for-41 (.512) with seven doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI.

• As a team, Ohio State hit .386 in the series.

• 13 of Ohio State’s 34 hits were for extra bases.

BUCKEYES’ BATS COME ALIVE VS. MSU
Ohio State’s offense posted several impressive numbers in its Big Ten-opening sweep of Michigan State. As a team, the Buckeyes hit .432 with 38 total hits, nine doubles, one triple and five home runs. Additionally, several players enjoyed big weekends, including:

Evelyn Carrillo…….. .700, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Cammi Prantl…….. .600, 3 2B, 6 runs
Keelia Nester……… .571, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Caitlin Conrad .455, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 HR

AN IMPRESSIVE DEBUT
Cammi Prantl, a second team All-Big Ten selection in 2013, made an instant impact for the Buckeyes last year. She led OSU in several offensive categories, including batting average (.346), at bats (188) and hits (65). Her name is littered throughout the single-season freshman records:

At bats:………………………… 3rd, 188
Batting average:……………. 5th, .346
Hits:……………………………… 2nd, 65
Doubles:………………………… 4th, 12
RBI:………………………………. 7th, 31
Runs:…………………………….. 1st, 40
Stolen bases:………………….. 5th, 10

FOUR BUCKEYES NAMED NFCA ALL-AMERICA SCHOLAR ATHLETES
Four members of the Ohio State softball team, three current and one former, were named 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athletes. Brittany Mills, who graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in economics, was honored along with current Buckeyes Melissa Rennie (insurance major), Audrey Plant (communication major) and Olivia O’Reilly (biology major). The award is bestowed upon any player submitted by a member coach who achieved a 3.50 grade point average or higher during the 2012-13 academic year. Additionally, Rennie was also named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, which recognizes student-athletes with at least a 3.7 grade-point average.

RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS
Entering the 2014 season, Ohio State returns eight of its top 10 hitters and all five of its pitchers. In total, 79.1 percent of its RBI total returns,   77.6 percent of its runs returns, 87.5 percent of its stolen bases and 82.2 percent of its total bases return.

FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES
Fans can follow Ohio State softball on the web and through social media via the following outlets:

Website: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Twitter: @OhioState_SB
Facebook: Facebook.com/OhioStateSoftball
Instagram: Instagram.com/ohiostate_sb