Buckeyes are on seven-game win streak
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 19/23 Ohio State softball team looks to remain perfect at home as it hosts Minnesota for a two-game series this weekend at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes (28-11, 7-1 Big Ten) play the Golden Gophers (15-29, 1-9 Big Ten) at 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Scarlet and Gray enter the Big Ten series on a seven-game win streak and own a 9-0 ledger at home after taking two games from Indiana last Wednesday.
FOLLOWING FROM HOME
Fans can watch Ohio State softball home games live online this season on Buckeye Vision at OhioStateBuckeyes.com or BigTenNetwork.com. Standard rates apply.
Game one of the Ohio State-Minnesota series will be streamed live on OhioStateBuckeyes.com while game two will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com and replayed on the Big Ten Network at 6 a.m. Tuesday, April 27.
In addition, a link for live stats can be found on the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
The Ohio State University campus will be hopping this weekend so Buckeye softball fans beware that parking may be tight. The Jerome Schottenstein Center will be hosting an event and charging for parking on Saturday so OSU fans should let the parking attendants know you are on campus to watch the softball game and park in the Gray and Buckeye Lots.
THE BUCKEYES ARE ON THE RADIO
Softball fans can tune into Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio at www.ohiostatesports.net as senior Ohio State students Evan Winkofsky and Joey D’Amico call the action at Buckeye Field this spring. Audio from the Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio show also can be heard on the Buckeye Vision live streaming production at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Ohio State trails Minnesota, 32-56, in the all-time series record book. However, the Buckeyes own an 18-14 ledger vs. the Gophers under the direction of head coach Linda Kalafatis.
The Scarlet and Gray swept Minnesota last season with a pair of 1-0 victories April 4 in Minneapolis, Minn. In the last four years, Ohio State owns a 7-1 ledger vs. Minnesota.
BUCKEYE QUICK HITS
– Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the squad, batting .437 overall. The shortstop has started all 39 Buckeye games and has a team leading 35 RBI and 13 doubles while hitting seven home runs.
– Senior catcher Sam Marder leads the squad with 14 home runs this season. Marder holds first on the all-time Ohio State record lists for home runs (57), RBI (179) and walks (211).
– Senior designated player Courtney Pruner is third on the all-time RBI and home run lists with 146 and 34, respectively.
– Freshman Melanie Nichols leads the Buckeyes in wins (15), strikeouts (101), ERA (1.95) and innings pitched (122.1). The OSU pitching corps has a combined ERA of 2.37 while its opponents have combined for a 5.87 ERA.
– Ohio State returned 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.
LOOKING AT OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes are 15-2 in their last 17 games after sweeping Indiana at home last Wednesday and Michigan State on the road last weekend. Ohio State downed MSU in East Lansing, 12-3, Saturday and, 7-3, Sunday before run-ruling IU, 8-0, in game one and, 11-3, in game two Wednesday at Buckeye Field.
In the last four games, Ohio State has four individuals batting .500 or better. Seniors Whitney Cooper (6-for-12), Leah Ledford (3-for-6) and Rebecca Schultz (5-for-10) are batting .500 while junior Brittany Goodchild is hitting .571 (4-for-7).
Sophomore Alicia Herron has batted in a team-high 10 runners on a team-best seven hits.
IN THE BIG TEN
With a 7-1 ledger, Ohio State continues to hold on to third place in the Big Ten standings. Michigan is first with an 11-0 conference record while Iowa holds second at 8-1.
The Buckeyes have swept Wisconsin (March 27), Michigan State (April 17-18) and Indiana (April 21) while splitting a series vs. Illinois (April 10-11). April 7, Ohio State lost two games to Mother Nature while visiting Purdue in West Lafayette.
Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the league with a .437 overall batting average and 55 hits while holding second with 13 doubles. Senior Sam Marder leads the Big Ten with a .563 on base percentage and 40 walks. Marder also is second in the conference with an .859 slugging average and 13 home runs.
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols owns the fourth-best ERA in the conference with a 1.95.
AGAINST THE CONFERENCE
In Big Ten games only, junior Brittany Goodchild is hitting a team-best .474 while senior Courtney Pruner owns a .458 batting average. Pruner has tallied nine RBI and scored seven runs. Herron leads the squad with 14 RBI while Dee Dee Hillman has scored a team-high 10 runs. As a team, the Buckeyes have outscored their league opponents, 68-22, in eight games.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Ohio State owns a 9-0 record at home in 2010, outscoring its opponents, 76-23, at Buckeye Field. At home, sophomore Alicia Herron leads the squad with a .548 batting average while recording 13 RBI and scoring 12 runs. The Cypress, Calif., native has hit six of her team-leading doubles at Buckeye Field while going long three times. Senior Sam Marder is second, hitting .500 with 10 RBI. Junior leadoff hitter Dee Dee Hillman has scored the most runs, crossing home plate 13 times.
With seven of her 15 wins coming at home, Nichols owns a team-best 1.77 ERA while pitching at Buckeye Field.
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols threw her first career one hitter, shutting out Indiana, 8-0, last Wednesday at Buckeye Field. Nichols faced just 19 batters, striking out six and retiring the Hoosiers in order in five of the six innings.
IN A RHYTHM
The Ohio State offense was in a groove last Wednesday, out-hitting Indiana, 23-6, in a doubleheader at Buckeye Field. In the two games, junior Brittany Goodchild led the squad batting .750 (3-for-4) with an .833 on base percentage while Whitney Cooper was second on the squad with a .571 batting average and a leadoff home run. Sophomore Alicia Herron was third, batting .500 while producing five RBI and scoring three runs.
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols helped limit the Hoosier bats, allowing just two hits and striking out 10 batters in her combined 8.2 innings pitched as she picked up both wins.
Senior Rebecca Schultz hit her first home run of the season, a solo shot over the left field wall in the third inning of game two vs. Indiana. It registers as the third home run of the Buckeye infielder’s career after Schultz recorded two homers in her junior campaign.
Sophomore Alicia Herron leads Ohio State with 13 doubles while 13 Buckeyes have combined for a total of 59 doubles on the year. Senior Whitney Cooper has eight for second on the team while classmates Sam Marder and Courtney Pruner are not far behind with six apiece. Senior Rebecca Schultz and juniors Dee Dee Hillman, Brittany Goodchild, Karisa Medrano and Rachael Shepherd also have chipped in four apiece.
The Buckeyes are 16-1 when scoring in the first inning in 2010. Ohio State took a 4-0 lead in the first inning of game one and a 6-0 lead in game two en route to earning two run-rule victories over Indiana last Wednesday at Buckeye Field.
AND IT’S GONE
Last week, Ohio State hit five home runs and recorded four more vs. Indiana Wednesday to up its total to 42 this season.
Senior catcher Sam Marder has launched a team-high 15 in 39 games while boosting her Ohio State all-time career record to 57. Pruner, who has 34 career homers and sits at No. 3 all-time in the history books, has knocked eight over the fence this season. Sophomore Alicia Herron and senior Whitney Cooper tie for third with seven homers each.
The Scarlet and Gray pitching corps has allowed its opponents to hit just 16 home runs so far this season.
Of Ohio State’s 42 home runs, 10 have been leadoff homers and three have come in the sixth inning. The Buckeyes are 8-2 when they have an individual hit a leadoff home run.
TAKE A BASE
Two-time All-American Sam Marder has been walked 40 times this season, including 14 intentional. She has been walked 211 times in her career, the most in Buckeye history. Since she joined Ohio State in 2007, Marder has been put on base intentionally 52 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.
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols came in prepared for Division I NCAA fast pitch softball. The rookie leads Ohio State with 15 wins, 101 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.95 in 122.1 innings pitched.
Nichols’ first loss of the season came to Central Florida March 24 as the Knights scored one earned and two unearned runs in a 3-0 defeat of the Buckeyes. April 11, the freshman battled hard against a strong Illinois team, which ranked third in the nation in runs per game, holding the Illini hitters to just three runs off of seven hits in the 3-2 loss.
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 19th in the NFCA and tied for 23rd in the USA Softball Collegiate polls, is 125-59 all-time when ranked, including 52-13 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.