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Ohio State at aTen Construction Tournament
March 5-7, 2010
Location: Riverside, Calif.
Field: Amy S. Harrison
Tickets:  3-Day Tournament Package: Adults – $15; Discount (Students (6-17), Senior (65+), College students with ID, Military with ID) – $10; Children (5 and under) – free
Tournament Schedule: Click Here

Buckeyes return to California for four games before bye week

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a successful 4-1 weekend against a tough slate in Palm Springs, the No. 14/17 Ohio State softball team (10-5) returns to California to play four games at the aTen Construction Tournament hosted by UC Riverside Friday-Sunday.

The Buckeyes will open and close the tournament against East Tennessee State (7-5) with an 11:30 a.m. contest Friday and 9 a.m. game Sunday. Saturday, the squad will play Notre Dame (8-4) at 9 a.m. and UC Riverside (4-9) at 2 p.m. (All time listed are Pacific).

Ohio State will then have a bye week for exams before finishing its early-season tournament in Florida, playing eight games over the university’s spring break.

FOLLOWING FROM HOME
A link for live stats can be found on the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and GoHighlanders.com.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State vs.
UC Riverside: 1-0, last meeting in 2005; In the first and only meeting between the two programs, OSU posted a 5-0 victory in Riverside March 26, 2005.  

East Tennessee: First meeting.

Notre Dame: 3-3, last meeting in 1996; The Buckeyes and Irish last met for a doubleheader in South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame took both games, 3-2 and 11-3, April 11, 1996. The season before, OSU swept a doubleheader vs. ND, 1-0 and 8-6, April 18, 1995.   

BUCKEYES QUICK HITS
– Senior designated player Courtney Pruner owns a team-high batting average of .413 with 19 hits, seven RBI, three home runs and six walks.
– Senior catcher Sam Marder leads the squad with 14 RBI, 12 runs, nine home runs and 13 walks. Sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron is second with 10 RBI thanks in part to a grand slam vs. Oregon State last Saturday.
– The Buckeyes have out-hit their opponents, 118-79, this season. Pruner has a team-high 19 hits, Marder and Herron have 17 and Dee Dee Hillman has 15.
– All three Ohio State pitchers are seeing a lot of time on the mound with Lindsay Bodeker pitching 37.1 innings, Melanie Nichols 36.0 and Megan Miller 27.2. The pitching corps has an ERA of 2.85 while its opponents have combined for a 5.09 ERA.
– Ohio State returns 14 letterwinners and seven starters from its 2009 squad that went 47-11 and 16-4 in the Big Ten, finishing second in the league.
– The Buckeyes have made three NCAA appearances in the last four years, including their first run in program history to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009. Ohio State also made the tournament in 2006 and ’07.
– Last season the team recorded the second-most wins, runs and RBI in program history with a 47-11 ledger, 329 runs scored and 293 RBI. OSU also recorded the second-most shutouts in program history with 23, one shy of the record.

IN RIVERSIDE
This will be Ohio State’s first time playing in an early-season tournament in Riverside, Calif.

ON THE ROAD
Ohio State opens 2010 with five-consecutive early-season tournaments on the road, playing 27 away games before hosting a Big Ten series vs. Wisconsin March 27-28 in Columbus.

The Buckeyes went 20-3 during its early tournament season in 2009, including six wins vs. ranked opponents. The only Top 25 team OSU fell to in the first third of the schedule was Washington, a 1-0 loss in eight innings Feb. 22, who won the 2009 Women’s College World Series.

So far this season, the Buckeyes are 10-5 after posting a 4-1 record vs. a tough slate at the 2010 Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. Ohio State shut out No. 5 UCLA, 7-0, last Sunday after also topping then-No. 19 Fresno State (4-1, Friday), Oregon State (8-7 (8), Saturday) and Cal State Fullerton (5-2, Sunday). The team’s lone loss came to then-No. 22 Tennessee, a 3-0 defeat.

To open the season, the Scarlet and Gray won the Marriott Houston Hobby Classic Tournament with a 4-1 record Feb. 12-14 and finished second at the Hatter Invitational (2-3) Feb. 19-21. Ohio State had to play then-No. 8/9 Alabama three times in DeLand, Fla., losing two heartbreaking decisions, a 5-3 defeat Feb. 19 and 5-4 loss Feb. 20, before falling, 7-1, in the championship game Feb. 21.

BODEKER BLOWS BY UCLA
Lindsay Bodeker turned in an extraordinary game last Sunday, shutting out No. 5 UCLA, who had been averaging 8.25 runs a game prior to meeting Ohio State. The redshirt junior, who was sidelined all offseason because of injury, limited the Bruins to batting just 2-11 with runners on base and jammed the 14-3 Pac-10 squad into 15 ground outs. Overall, UCLA combined for a .188 batting average.

COOPER IS CLUTCH
Against No. 5 UCLA last Sunday, senior second baseman Whitney Cooper recorded a season-high eight assists and had two putouts with no errors to help Ohio State to a 7-0 victory. At the plate, the captain went 2-3 with a three-run homer.

At the 2010 Cathedral City Classic, Cooper batted .375 and stole three bases. She had 17 total assists and 11 putouts.

HERRON’S THE HERO
In an inning scripted much like one filmed on a Hollywood lot, sophomore Alicia Herron recorded her second career grand slam to propel Ohio State to a 8-7 extra inning victory vs. Oregon State last Saturday.

With the Buckeyes down 7-2 heading into the top of the seventh, the squad started to chip away the five-run deficit as junior Rachael Shepherd hit an RBI single down the left line. Ohio State then loaded the bases with two outs and Herron up to bat. With a full count, the Cypress, Calif., native sent a ball sailing over the left-center fence to tie things up at 7-all. In the eighth, senior Leah Ledford, batting in the sixth spot, hit an RBI single to bring in the gamewinning run.

Herron’s first career grand slam came vs. Big Ten rival Indiana April 8, 2009.

PICKING UP THE WIN
Senior pitcher Megan Miller (4-1) entered the Oregon State game in the middle of the third inning after the Beavers had taken a 6-0 lead. Miller shut down Oregon State’s offense, allowing them just one more run in the game on four hits. In extra innings, the Woodland Hills, Calif., native eliminated the batters in order to close out the game.

GOING STREAKING
Junior outfielder Dee Dee Hillman is on a team-leading seven-game hitting streak followed by senior Courtney Pruner and sophomore Alicia Herron with six-game streaks. Hillman currently has the fourth-best batting average for the team, batting .366 in 12 games. Pruner leads the team with a .413 batting average on 19 hits, four doubles, three home runs and seven RBI. Herron is third, batting .386 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs and 10 RBI.

Senior power hitter Sam Marder’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end against Fresno State last Friday. The catcher owns a .395 batting average with 17 hits, 14 RBI, 12 runs scored and nine homers.

JUMPING AHEAD
The Buckeyes are 5-0 when scoring in the first inning. Against UCLA, Ohio State took a 3-0 lead in the first behind a Whitney Cooper three-run homer last Sunday. Earlier in the day the Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead in the first inning vs. Cal State Fullerton and although the Titans tied things up in the second, Ohio State pulled away late in the game for a 5-2 victory.

THE BUCKEYES ARE RUNNING
Aggressive running has helped Ohio State to its first 10 wins of the season. The Buckeyes are a perfect 15-15 when attempting to steal in 2010 with senior Whitney Cooper recording a team-high four stolen bases. Junior Dee Dee Hillman and sophomore Katie Simonton are both 3-3 while junior Brittany Goodchild is 2-2.

Senior Lead Ledford and sophomores Alicia Herron and Vanessa Spears each have successfully stolen one base this year.

STEALING HOME
Pinch running against No. 5 UCLA, junior Brittany Goodchild stole home on a UCLA miscue to add to the Buckeyes lead en route to a 7-0 victory Sunday.

SEVENTH INNING CHARM
The Scarlet and Gray are outscoring their opponents, 7-0, in the seventh inning this season. Ohio State has produced runs in all eight innings this year.

ON THE MARK
Senior Courtney Pruner batted .529 at the Hatter Invitational Feb. 19-21, including a 4-4 appearance vs. Stetson (2 runs, 2 RBI, 1 2B and 1 HR) Feb. 19 and a 3-3 outing vs. No. 8/9 Alabama Feb. 21. On the weekend, the Akron, Ohio, native recorded nine hits, three RBI and two runs.

Junior Dee Dee Hillman had the second-best batting average (.474) with nine hits, four runs, two RBI and two stolen bases.

COLETTA CONNECTS
Freshman Megan Coletta recorded her first hit and first triple as a Buckeye during the second weekend of the season. The Fullerton, Calif., native posted her first hit vs. Stetson Feb. 19 before pounding out a two-RBI triple vs. Rhode Island Feb. 20.

10 AND 10
Ohio State recorded a season-high 10 runs and 10 RBI, batting .286 against Stetson Feb. 19. The Buckeyes also had a team-high four home runs from three different players.

AND IT’S GONE
The Buckeyes have seen six players hit home runs this season with Sam Marder recording a team-high nine in 15 games while boosting her Ohio State all-time career record to 52. Senior Courtney Pruner, who has 29 homers in her career to tie for third all-time, has knocked three over the fence this season.

The Scarlet and Gray pitching corps has allowed opponents to hit just six home runs so far this season while the Ohio State offense has combined for 18.

LEADING OFF
Of Ohio State’s 18 home runs, five have been leadoff homers and three have come in the sixth inning. The Buckeyes are 4-1 when they have an individual hit a leadoff home run.

TAKE A BASE
Two-time All-American Sam Marder has been walked 13 times, including six intentional. She has been walked 184 times in her career, the most in Buckeye history. Since she joined Ohio State in 2007, Marder has been put on base intentionally 44 times – by far the most in school history dating back to the 1998 season. The second-most times a Buckeye had been intentionally-walked in a career in the last decade is six.

WINNING WAYS
Since 2000, Ohio State has won 390 games, which is the third-highest win total in the Big Ten during that time. The Buckeyes own a .658 winning percentage, good for fourth in the league.

The 2009 squad made history, recording 47 wins, the second most in school history, and advancing to the program’s first NCAA Super Regional. For six-consecutive seasons, Ohio State has notched 30 or more wins – the longest 30-win stretch in Buckeye history.

NOTING THE RANKINGS
Last season, the Buckeyes spent 14-consecutive weeks in the national rankings, spanning from Feb. 20 when they debuted at No. 23 through the NCAA Super Regional May 22 as they concluded the season with the highest ranking in program history at 12th.

The 14 weeks spent in the Top 25 set an Ohio State record for consecutive weeks in the polls. Previously, the 2003 and 2008 squads had maintained a Top 25 ranking for eight-consecutive weeks.

Ohio State, currently ranked 14th in the USA Softball Collegiate and 17th in the NFCA poll, is 108-53 all-time when ranked, including 43-13 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.