Buckeyes take five-game win streak on the road
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After three-consecutive nonconference games, the No. 20/22 Ohio State softball team jumps back into Big Ten action with a doubleheader vs. Purdue Wednesday in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Buckeyes (21-10, 2-0 Big Ten) are on a five-game win streak while the Boilermakers are 16-20 overall and 1-3 in league play after splitting last weekend against Penn State.
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.
In addition, a link for live stats can be found on the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
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 leads Purdue, 17-12, in the all-time series and is 15-9 vs. the Boilermakers under head coach Linda Kalafatis. Last season, the Buckeyes split a doubleheader vs. Purdue in Columbus, dropping game one, 3-2, before bouncing back to win game two, 4-1, April 22.
Since 2006, Ohio State owns a 5-3 ledger against Purdue.
BUCKEYE QUICK HITS
– Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the squad, batting .443 overall and .833 in Big Ten games. The shortstop has started all 31 Buckeye games and has 25 RBI, eight doubles and five home runs.
– Senior catcher Sam Marder leads the squad with 26 RBI this season and has 172 in her career to hold No. 1 in the all-time program record book. Marder also is the all-time home run (54) and walks (200) leader.
– Senior designated player Courtney Pruner is one RBI shy of tying for third on the Ohio State all-time career record list. With 137 RBI, Pruner needs just one more to tie Kristine Himes (2000-03).
– Freshman Melanie Nichols leads the Buckeyes in wins (11), strikeouts (70), ERA (2.21) and innings pitched (91.2). The OSU pitching corps has a combined ERA of 2.56 while its opponents have combined for a 5.17 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.
LOOKING AT OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes are 8-1 in their last nine games after the squad swept Wisconsin, 6-4 and 12-4 (5), March 27 and Ohio, 9-4 and 9-3, March 31 in doubleheaders at Buckeye Field. Ohio State also took a game from Butler, 7-5, last Friday.
Ohio State’s lone loss in the stretch came at Central Florida, a 3-0 defeat March 24. Prior to falling to the Knights, the Scarlet and Gray blew past Cornell, 18-0, in five innings in a neutral site meeting.
IN THE BIG TEN
Ohio State (21-10, 2-0 Big Ten), Michigan (26-5; 3-0 Big Ten) and Iowa (18-13, 4-0 Big Ten) are tied for first in the conference with perfect league records.
Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the league with a .443 batting average while senior Sam Marder leads the Big Ten with a .840 slugging average and .553 on base percentage. Marder also ties for the conference lead in home runs with 11 this season.
Sophomore Alicia Herron has to be happy she is leading the team with a .443 batting average after batting .833 at home vs. Wisconsin March 27. The Cypress, Calif., native went 5-for-6 against the Badgers scoring three runs and adding four RBI.
The shortstop has continued to be a clutch hitter for the Buckeyes, batting in the gamewinning run vs. Butler last Friday after she hit the scoreboard at Buckeye Field March 31 for a two-out, two-run home run to right center to give Ohio State a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth against Ohio in game two.
“Alicia has come up with some big shots for us when we needed her in the last couple of games,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said of Herron who ended the game vs. the Bobcats 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.
During Ohio State’s seven-game spring break trip in Florida March 19-24, Herron hit .478, scoring a team-high six runs and adding three RBI. In addition, she successfully stole a team-best three bases and is now a perfect 7-for-7 on the year.
IN THE CLUTCH
Beyond leading the Buckeyes with an overall batting average of .443, sophomore Alicia Herron is batting .429 (12-for-28) with runners on and .750 (3-for-4) with bases loaded.
The Buckeyes are 13-1 when scoring in the first inning in 2010. Ohio State took a 1-0 lead in the first vs. Butler last Friday en route to a 7-5 victory, the Buckeyes’ fifth victory in a row.
AND IT’S GONE
Freshman Megan Coletta hit her first career home run vs. Butler last Friday and sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron hit the scoreboard at Buckeye Field vs. Ohio March 31 to up Ohio State’s grand total of homers in 2010 to 31.
The Buckeyes have seen seven players combine for 31 home runs this season with senior catcher Sam Marder recording a team-high 11 in 31 games while boosting her Ohio State all-time career record to 54. Senior Courtney Pruner, who has 32 career homers and sits at No. 3 all-time in the history books, has knocked six over the fence this season. Herron and senior Whitney Cooper are tied for third on the team with five each.
The Scarlet and Gray pitching corps has allowed its opponents to hit just 14 home runs so far this season.
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols came in prepared for Division I NCAA fast pitch softball. The rookie leads Ohio State with 11 wins, 70 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.21 in 91.2 innings pitched. Nichols’ lone 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.
TAKE A BASE
Two-time All-American Sam Marder has been walked 29 times this season, including seven intentional. She has been walked 200 times in her career, the most in Buckeye history. Since she joined Ohio State in 2007, Marder has been put on base intentionally 45 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.
Of Ohio State’s 31 home runs, six 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.
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 20th in the NFCA and 22nd in the USA Softball Collegiate polls, is 119-58 all-time when ranked, including 48-13 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.
I’LL TAKE A SAM MARDER, PLEASE
Senior catcher Sam Marder was inducted into the inaugural sandwich club at Sloopy’s Diner, a restaurant in Ohio State’s new student union, March 16.
From June 2010 until June 2011, Ohio State students will be able to order a Sam Marder Bistro Turkey at Sloopy’s. For her athletic and academic laurels, Marder was selected out of more than 200 applications for the honor. In total, 13 sandwiches are being named each year at the restaurant.
The Bistro Turkey is a delicious sandwich of turkey, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and A1 steak sauce on a marble rye.
OSU DOWNS OU
Behind the strength of 15 hits and an error-free day in the field, Ohio State swept in-state rival Ohio in a doubleheader March 31 at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes won, 9-4, in game one and, 9-3, in game two with freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols earning the ‘W’ in both contests.
“I was really happy with the way we played,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “Ohio came out and played tough but we had no errors and hit the ball hard so I am proud of that.”
TWO WINS IN A DAY
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols earned both wins in a sweep of Ohio March 31, throwing her fourth game with six strikeouts in game two of a doubleheader. Her season-high for strikeouts in a game is seven which was recorded against UC Riverside March 5.
Ohio State makes its first appearance in 2010 on the Big Ten Network, playing No. 18 Illinois at 4 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in Champaign, Ill. The Illini will be the Buckeye’s first ranked opponent since Feb. 28 when Ohio State downed then-No. 5 UCLA, 7-0, in Cathedral City, Calif.