May 8, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Senior Day at Buckeye Field Sunday, sophomore Jamee Juarez became Ohio State’s single-season wins record holder as she and the Buckeye softball team shut out Penn State, 3-0. With a two-game sweep of the Nittany Lions this weekend, both by 3-0 scores, the Buckeyes conclude the regular-season with a 32-16 overall record and a 9-7 Big Ten ledger, while Penn State falls to 34-20 and 10-9 in the conference.
Both teams will head to Ann Arbor for the Big Ten tournament May 12-14, hosted by Michigan, which swept Northwestern this weekend to pass the Wildcats for the regular-season league title, No. 1 seed and host of the tournament. Final seeding for the tournament will be known later Sunday.
“The last two or three weeks we have been playing really good ball, and today was for the seniors,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “And I can’t say enough about Jamee Juarez. To shut out a good Penn State team twice in back-to-back games is quite an accomplishment.”
Five Ohio State seniors, including Ashley Cutcliff (Zionsville, Ind./U. of Florida), Karisa Evans (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin), Natalie Hales (Canton, Ohio/Eastern Michigan), Jennifer Johnson (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and Meghan Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio/Bishop Ready), were honored in a postgame ceremony and lead Ohio State into the tournament riding the momentum of having won 14 of its last 16 regular season games, including six of eight in the Big Ten.
“We knew we were in the Big Ten tournament going into this weekend,” Kalafatis said, “But we wanted to go out and play our best ball, move up the standings, and be one of the hottest teams going into the tournament and I think we have done that.”
Chief among those getting it done Sunday for the Buckeyes was Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson). Coming off a four-hit shutout performance Saturday night, she was just as good Sunday, striking out seven and scattering five hits. A total of three Nittany Lions moved into scoring position during the contest, but each time Juarez and the Buckeye defense, which did not commit an error, came up with the big play.
Juarez improves to 25-11 on the season, breaking the previous Ohio State single-season wins record of 24 set by Genice Turley in 1994. The complete-game was Juarez’s 22nd of the season and the shutout was her 10th, which is one shy of the OSU single-season record for shutouts, set by Katie Chain in 2001.
“It’s an honor to have the wins record, but this is all about the team,” Juarez said. “Winning these two games this weekend is a big confidence builder heading into the Big Ten tournament. We talked before the weekend about finishing strong and that’s exactly what we did.”
For as good as Juarez was in the circle, she was equally as good at the plate, where she went 2-for-3 with two RBI doubles. Her first came in the fourth inning and scored sophomore Christina Douglas (Mesa, Ariz./Dobson), who had hit an RBI single to score freshman Liz Caputo (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly). Douglas’ RBI broke a scoreless tie, while Juarez’s RBI put OSU up, 2-0. Caputo had singled and moved into scoring position by a sacrifice bunt by Cutcliff, while Douglas was at second base thanks to a ground out by junior Billie Jo Carder (Celina, Ohio/Celina).
In the sixth inning, Douglas reached base on a throwing error by the PSU second baseman, moved to second on a sacrifice by Carder and came home to score on Juarez’s second double.
Sophomore Nycole Koyano (Walnut, Calif./Walnut) went 2-for-3 for Ohio State, which outhit Penn State 10-5. Evans and Hales both singled for the Buckeyes, who have not allowed a run in a season-high 19 consecutive innings.
### GO BUCKS! ###