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Ohio State at 2010 Cathedral City Classic
Feb. 26-28, 2010
Location: Cathedral City, Calif.
Tickets: All-tournament passes $40 (online), $50 on site
Tournament Central: http://www.osubeavers.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/cathedral-classic.html and ticket information is located at http://palmspringssoftballclassic.com.

Ohio State plays three Top 25 teams at Cathedral City Classic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 16/17 Ohio State softball team (6-4) takes off Thursday for the 2010 Cathedral City Classic to play five games Friday-Sunday in Cathedral City, Calif. The Buckeyes face a tough slate, opening the classic vs. No. 19/21 Fresno State (7-1) at 10:30 a.m. Friday and concluding action against No. 3/5 UCLA (11-1) at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Not to be overlooked is a 12:30 p.m. contest Saturday vs. No. 22 Tennessee (5-2) before the Scarlet and Gray play Oregon State (4-6) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Ohio State wakes up early to meet Cal State Fullerton (2-9) at 8:30 a.m. and ends the classic vs. UCLA. (All time listed are Pacific).

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

KALAFATIS ON THE WEEKEND
“When we scheduled this season, we knew we had a veteran team and some quality newcomers coming in to help and this weekend is as hard as they come,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “I always say we have one of the toughest schedules by any team at Ohio State, up there with men’s tennis, and we are prepared to play a difficult schedule.”

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State vs.
Cal State Fullerton:
6-17, last met in 2008; Despite trailing Fullerton in the all-time series, OSU recorded a 4-0 win in the 2008 edition of the Palm Springs Classic. In 2007, the Buckeyes dropped an extra-innings, 5-4, decision at Fullerton. All six Buckeye wins have come under Ohio State head coach Linda Kalafatis’ leadership.

Fresno State: 4-5, last met in 2008; OSU has been working hard to chip away Fresno State’s lead over the past few years, recording one-run victories in the 2007 and ’08 seasons. In their last meeting, the Buckeyes won, 1-0, in Palm Springs Feb. 22. Ohio State is 2-3 under Kalafatis.

Oregon State: 0-7, last met in 2008; Ohio State will look for its first win over Oregon State Saturday. In the last meeting, the Beavers took a 9-8 decision at the Palm Springs Classic Feb. 23.

Tennessee: First meeting.

UCLA: 0-6; last met in 2006; When Ohio State last met UCLA, the Bruins were ranked third in the nation. The Buckeyes fell, 4-1, in Palm Springs Feb. 24, 2006. OSU, ranked No. 16/17, will look to record its first win against No. 3/5 UCLA in its fifth game at the 2010 Cathedral City Classic Sunday. Kalafatis is 0-1 against UCLA.

BUCKEYES QUICK HITS
– Senior designated player Courtney Pruner batted .529 last weekend with nine hits, three RBI, two runs and a home run as the Buckeyes played three games against a tough No. 8/9 Alabama team.
– Senior catcher Sam Marder has hit four home runs in back-to-back weekends. She leads the team with a .462 batting average and 13 RBI through 10 games.
– The Buckeyes have out-hit their opponents, 77-49, this season. Pruner has a team-high 14 hits, Marder has 12 while Alicia Herron and Dee Dee Hillman have 11 each.
– All three Ohio State pitchers are seeing a lot of time on the mound with Lindsay Bodeker pitching 22.1 innings, Megan Miller 22 and Melanie Nichols 21.2. The pitching corps has an ERA of 2.59.
– 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 PALM SPRINGS
This will be Ohio State’s sixth-consecutive appearance in Palm Springs in 2010. Last year, the Buckeyes went 3-2 at the Cathedral City Classic (Feb. 20-22), falling to Hawaii and eventual College World Series Champion Washington.

2009 Cathedral City Classic
W, 3-1 vs. No. 17/19 Nevada Feb. 20
L, 4-2 vs. Hawaii Feb. 21
W, 8-3 vs. Loyola Marymount Feb. 21
L, 1-0 vs. No. 3/7 Washington Feb. 22
W, 5-3 vs. UC-Santa Barbara Feb. 22

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 6-4 after winning the Marriott Houston Hobby Classic Tournament with a 4-1 record Feb. 12-14 and finishing second at the Hatter Invitational (2-3) last Friday-Sunday. Ohio State had to play then-No. 8/9 Alabama three times last weekend, losing two heartbreaking decisions, a 5-3 defeat Friday and 5-4 loss Saturday, before falling, 7-1, in the championship game.

ON THE MARK
Senior Courtney Pruner batted .529 at the Hatter Invitational last weekend, 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) last weekend 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 last weekend. The Fullerton, Calif., native posted her first hit vs. Stetson Friday before pounding out a two-RBI triple vs. Rhode Island Saturday.

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Two Buckeyes in sophomore Alicia Herron and senior Courtney Pruner have hit three doubles so far this season. Pruner started the Ohio State offense against Stetson last Friday with a double to right centerfield before coming in for the first run of the game two batters later. Herron hit an RBI double in the sixth vs. Rhode Island Saturday.

In the team’s opening weekend, Pruner and junior Karisa Medrano hit a pair of RBI doubles vs. Kansas Feb. 14 to propel Ohio State to a 4-2 victory. In all, the Buckeyes have recorded 17 extra-base hits.

THIRD INNING CHARM
The Scarlet and Gray are outscoring their opponents, 12-4, in the third inning this season. Ohio State has produced runs in all seven innings this year, including eight runs in the first and seven in the second.

AGAINST RIGHTIES
Ohio State owns a 5-2 record against right-handed pitchers this season while batting .256. In comparison, the Buckeyes are hitting .347 vs. southpaws but own a 1-2 ledger.

GOING STREAKING
Senior power hitter Sam Marder is on a 10-game hitting streak, connecting in each of Ohio State’s games this season. The All-American catcher has recorded 12 hits, 13 RBI, 10 runs and 11 walks this season with just two strikeouts.

Junior outfielder Dee Dee Hillman is second with a current streak of five games.

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

AND IT’S GONE
The Buckeyes have seen five players hit home runs this season with Sam Marder recording a team-high eight in 10 games while boosting her Ohio State all-time career record to 51. Senior Courtney Pruner, who has 28 homers in her career, has knocked two over the fence vs. Sam Houston State (Feb. 13) and Stetson last Friday.

Junior Rachael Shepherd hit a leadoff homer in sixth inning to put Ohio State within one of Baylor Feb. 13 in an eventual 4-3 OSU win. Last Friday, Alicia Herron hit a three-run home run against Stetson while Whitney Cooper sent one sailing vs. Alabama.

The Scarlet and Gray pitching corps has allowed opponents to hit just three home runs so far this season while the Ohio State offense has combined for 13.

TAKE A BASE
Two-time All-American Sam Marder has been walked 11 times, including six intentional. She has been walked 182 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 386 games, which is the third-highest win total in the Big Ten during that time. The Buckeyes own a .656 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 16th in the USA Softball Collegiate and 17th in the NFCA poll, is 104-52 all-time when ranked, including 43-13 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.