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April 10, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Looking to build off the momentum of a midweek doubleheader sweep against Ohio, the Ohio State softball team resumes Big Ten play when it hosts Purdue this weekend at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes and Boilermakers meet on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State is 19-18 overall after Wednesday’s doubleheader sweep of Ohio. Offensively, the Buckeyes are paced by the combination of senior Evelyn Carrillo and junior Caitlin Conrad. Conrad leads the team in batting (.367), runs (31), doubles (12) and home runs (six) while Carrillo is tops in RBI (28) and hits (42). In total, four players are batting over .300 – Conrad, Carrillo (.365), Taylor Watkins (.336) and Prantl (.311).

In the circle, junior Olivia O’Reilly has logged 85.2 innings thus far with a 2.53 ERA and 61 strikeouts. In the last 12 games, she has pitched 46.0 innings with 34 strikeouts.

SCOUTING THE BOILERMAKERS
Purdue comes to Columbus with an overall record of 20-19-1 and 7-2 mark in Big Ten play. Purdue opened the conference season with a sweep of Penn State and followed that up by taking two of three from Michigan State. Last weekend, the Boilermakers won two of three games against in-state rival Indiana. Senior outfielder Andie Varsho leads the team with a .459 average to go along with 34 runs, 14 RBI and three home runs.

In the circle, Lilly Fecho (14-10) has logged 147.2 innings thus far with a 2.61 ERA and 145 Ks.

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). Live updates will also be available on the team’s official Twitter account, @OhioState_SB.

THE LAST 17
Ohio State has won 10 of its last 17 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…… .407, 16 RBI, 4 HR
Taylor Watkins .393, 12 RBI, 3 2B, 3 HR
Cammi Prantl ..365, 14 runs, 8 2B, 13 RBI
Caitlin Conrad .365, 15 RBI, 6 2B, 4 HR

Top pitchers:
Olivia O’Reilly….. 5-2, 2.01 ERA, 45 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 (303).

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.). 303

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.).. 193

Career RBI
1. Sam Marder (2007-10)……….. 191
4. Courtney Pruner (2006-10)…. 158
5. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.)…. 141

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

Batting average…………….. 5th, .286
Runs……………………………. 6th, 180
Hits……………………………… 4th, 274
RBI……………………………… 6th, 179
Doubles…………………………. 1st, 63

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 13th in all games. Caitlin Conrad is fifth in the conference in slugging percentage (.679) and tied for 11th in RBI (27). Olivia O’Reilly is 8th in ERA (2.53) and 8th in opposing batting average (.230).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. PURDUE
The Buckeyes and Boilermakers have met 36 pervious times with each team claiming 18 wins. Last year, Purdue took two of three from Ohio State at Buckeye Field. In the Buckeyes’ 5-3 win in the series finale, Evelyn Carrillo and Maddy McIntyre launched back-to-back long balls in the top of the tenth to secure the win.

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        .367        +.082
Melaina Saalfeld……………………….         .193        .250        +.057
Jayla Saibene……………………………         .214        .265        +.051

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. PURDUE
Purdue 4, Ohio State 2
After the Buckeyes went in order in the top of the first, Purdue scored two runs vs. Ohio State starting pitcher Alex DiDomenico, who walked the bases loaded to begin the contest. The Boilermakers made it 1-0 following a walk to Maia Moncheck and then extended its lead to 2-0 following an Ohio State throw to home plate was offline, allowing Lindsey Rains to score from third.

Ohio State got on the board in the top of the third when freshman Cammi Prantl boasted a sac fly to left field to score junior Melissa Rennie, who reached base on a Purdue fielding error. The Buckeyes cut their deficit to 4-2 in the following frame when sophomore Shelby Pickett pulled a two-out single down the left field line to score pinch runner Alyson Mott, who sprinted around the bag from second base to score.

Ohio State could not find any momentum in the final three innings at the plate as Purdue starter Lexy Moore retired the last nine batters she faced to claim the victory.

Purdue 8, Ohio State 7 (9 inn.)
Ohio State was led by Cammi Prantl, who went 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Taylor Watkins was 2-for-5 with two RBI, a run scored and a double. Caitlin Conrad was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Evelyn Carrillo and Maddy McIntyre both had doubles.

In the top of the seventh with two down, the Buckeyes gave a valiant effort and boasted five runs vs. the Boilermakers. Carrillo and McIntyre both doubled to begin the big rally to put runners on second and third with two down. Conrad then came up with the first clutch hit, sending a single to right center to score two runs to make it a 6-4 game. Watkins followed with a double down the left field line on a 3-0 count to score Rennie to cut the deficit to one run. The Scarlet and Gray then took its first lead of the game when Prantl connected with a pitch up the middle to plate both Conrad and Watkins, respectively, and make it a 7-6 game in favor of the Buckeyes.

Ohio State 5, Purdue 3 (10 inn.)
Highlighted by back-to-back home runs in the tenth inning, the Ohio State claimed the final win of a three-game series vs. Purdue, defeating the Boilermakers, 5-3, at Buckeye Field. With two down, Evelyn Carrillo and Maddy McIntyre launched back-to-back long balls in the top of the tenth to help Ohio State to the conference win.

In the top of the tenth after two OSU strikeouts, Carrillo crushed an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall for her second home run of the season vs. Purdue relief pitcher Lilly Fecho. The following at bat, McIntyre boasted her third home run of the year over the center field wall to make it 5-3.

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.