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Buckeyes add game to make up cancelled Florida Gulf Coast contest

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 21/23 Ohio State softball team has added a home contest and will play Butler at 4 p.m. Friday at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes, who missed a game vs. Florida Gulf Coast during spring break because of bad weather, are making it up this weekend against the Bulldogs.

The Scarlet and Gray (20-10) take a four-game win streak into the contest while the Bulldogs bring a 23-4 ledger with them on a six-game road swing, facing Purdue in a doubleheader Thursday before arriving in Columbus.

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. Fans also can follow the Buckeyes at Twitter.com/OhioStSoftball.

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.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State owns a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series vs. Butler and all three meetings have been during head coach Linda Kalafatis’ term. The two programs last met in 2004 for a doubleheader April 6 when the Buckeyes swept the Bulldogs, 10-0 and 8-0, in Columbus.

BUCKEYE QUICK HITS
– Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the squad, batting .447 with a team-leading 42 hits. The shortstop has started all 30 Buckeye games and has 23 RBI, seven doubles and five home runs.
– Senior catcher Sam Marder leads the squad with 25 RBI this season and has 171 in her career to hold No. 1 in the all-time program record book. Marder also is the all-time home run leader (54) and walks (198).
– 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 (10), strikeouts (67), ERA (1.95) and innings pitched (89.2). The OSU pitching corps has a combined ERA of 2.51 while its opponents have combined for a 5.11 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 7-1 in their last eight games after the squad swept Wisconsin in a Big Ten doubleheader last Saturday, 6-4 and 12-4 (5), and downed Ohio Wednesday, 9-4 and 9-3, at Buckeye Field.

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.

LAST TIME OUT
Behind the strength of 15 hits and an error-free day in the field, Ohio State swept in-state rival Ohio in a doubleheader Wednesday at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes (20-10) won, 9-4, in game one and, 9-3, in game two with freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols earning the ‘W’ in both contests as the Bobcats fall to 5-20.

“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.”

HERRON NAME BIG TEN CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Alicia Herron was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week Monday after leading Ohio State to a sweep of Wisconsin at Buckeye Field last Saturday. The Cypress, Calif., native batted .833 while tying for the team-lead with five hits and four RBI vs. the Badgers.

In game one, Herron launched a two out, two run home run to tie the game at 3-all. She then gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game when she hit an RBI double in the fifth inning leading Ohio State to a 6-4 win over the Badgers. With a home run, a double, four RBI and three runs scored in the finale against the Badgers, she brought her weekly totals to 10 hits in 17 at bats, one home run, seven runs scored, five RBI, a stolen base and an .824 slugging percentage.

HERRON’S HITTING
Sophomore Alicia Herron has to be happy she is leading the team with a .447 batting average after batting .833 at home vs. Wisconsin last Saturday. The Cypress, Calif., native went 5-for-6 against the Badgers scoring three runs and adding four 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.

IN THE CLUTCH
Beyond leading the Buckeyes with an overall batting average of .447, sophomore Alicia Herron is batting .491 with runners on and .750 with bases loaded.

TWO WINS IN A DAY
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols earned both wins in a sweep of Ohio Wednesday, 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.

JUMPING AHEAD
The Buckeyes are 12-1 when scoring in the first inning in 2010. Ohio State took a 4-0 lead in the first in game one vs. Ohio before scoring two runs in the first inning of game two en route to a sweep of the Bobcats.

AND IT’S GONE
Sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron hit the scoreboard at Buckeye Field Wednesday night for a two-out, two-run home run to right center to give Ohio State its first lead vs. Ohio in game two of a doubleheader.

The Buckeyes have seen six players combine for 30 home runs this season with senior catcher Sam Marder recording a team-high 11 in 30 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 13 home runs so far this season.

10-1
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols came in prepared for Division I NCAA fast pitch softball. The rookie leads Ohio State with 10 wins, 67 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.95 in 89.2 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.

THE STRIKEOUT BATTLE
With 67 strikeouts, freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols took over the team lead in the category, pitching in a team-high 89.2 innings. Redshirt junior Lindsay Bodeker is second with 47 (49.1 IP) while senior pitcher Megan Miller has 33 (55.0 IP).

TAKE A BASE
Two-time All-American Sam Marder has been walked 27 times this season, including seven intentional. She has been walked 198 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.

LEADING OFF
Of Ohio State’s 30 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 21st in the NFCA and 23 in the USA Softball Collegiate polls, is 118-58 all-time when ranked, including 47-13 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.