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Feb. 9, 2007

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TEMPE, Ariz. – In her collegiate debut, freshman Sam Marder hit a two-out grand slam in the fifth inning to lead the Ohio State softball team to a 4-3 win over New Mexico Friday at the Tempe Sports Complex. The Buckeyes win their season opener for the third-consecutive season and for the sixth time in the last eight years, while New Mexico falls to 0-1.

Marder (Calabasas, Calif./Calabasas) is the first Ohio State freshman to hit a grand slam in her first collegiate game. She is the first OSU rookie to hit a grand slam in any game since current OSU junior Liz Caputo (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Poly) homered against Long Island Feb. 27, 2005, in Palm Springs, Calif.

“It’s always good to get that first win under our belts,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “We played a little tight, but we’re a veteran team so we’ll know what we need to correct. I thought we played hard and are headed in the right direction.”

Sophomore Kim Reeder (Salinas, Calif./Notre Dame H.S.), who tied the OSU freshman wins record last year when she went 16-11, retired 12 of the first 15 batter she faced and picked up the win. Freshman Megan Miller (Woodland Hills, Calif./El Camino Real) relieved Reeder in the sixth inning and got the third out with one pitch, then got out of a jam in the seventh to collect a save in her collegiate debut.

Marder’s two-out slam over the left-centerfield fence came after freshman Whitney Cooper (Barstow, Calif./Barstow) singled to left field, Caputo singled to the shortstop and senior Megan Schwab (Glendale, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain) was hit by a pitch. After popping out her first two at bats, including with two runners on base in the first inning, Marder took advantage of another opportunity.

“It’s always good to get a second chance,” Marder said. “I wasn’t thinking about my first two at bats. I try to take each at bat one at a time and I was just excited to be up in that situation. What we need to remember is that it took three other people to be on base. If they’re not on base to begin with it, it could have been a different game.”

“Sam is a heck of a hitter, we knew that,” Kalafatis said. “She was a little anxious early on but she made a good adjustment after that and hit a good pitch. That was the difference in the game.”

The Buckeyes threatened in the first inning when senior Nycole Koyano (Walnut, Calif./Walnut) led off with a full-count walk and junior Brittany Vanderink (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) reached on a two-strike infield single to the pitcher, but New Mexico starter Kelly Ninemire retired the next three hitters without allowing a run.

Caputo, making her first start since Feb. 19, 2006 when she broke her leg in a game at Stetson, Fla., led off the third inning with a single and moved to second on a bunt by Koyano, but Ninemire kept her there by setting down the next two batters. Caputo went 2-for-2 in the game.

After the Buckeyes’ four-run fifth inning, they loaded the bases again in the sixth thanks to a single by senior Christina Douglas (Mesa, Ariz./Dobson) and two walks, but New Mexico reliever Tori Rogers worked out of the jam.

Senior Jamee Juarez (La Puente, Calif./Wilson) went 2-for-3 for the Buckeyes with singles in the fourth and seventh innings.

Ohio State takes on No. 1 and defending national champ Arizona at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Tempe Sports Complex.

### Go Bucks! ###