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2010 NCAA COLUMBUS REGIONAL
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Field: Buckeye Field (1,500)
Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students. Buy in advance at: http://www.ticketmaster.com/search?tm_link=tm_header_search&q=buckeye+field or call 1-800-745-3000. Cash only at the gate.

Schedule
Friday:
Game 1: Bucknell (away) vs. No. 11 California (home) – 5 p.m.
Game 2: Kentucky (away) vs. Ohio State (home) – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday:
Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner – 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser – 5 p.m.
Game 5: Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday:
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner – 2:30 p.m.
Game 7, if needed: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser – 5 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second-consecutive year, the Ohio State softball team will host one of 16 NCAA regional championships, this time welcoming 11th-seeded California, Bucknell and Kentucky to Buckeye Field for the double-elimination regional Friday-Sunday.

The Buckeyes have compiled a 37-12 overall record and will face the Wildcats (31-25) at 7:30 p.m. Friday while Bucknell and California will open the event at 5 p.m.

The winner of the Columbus Regional will face the winner of the Athens Regional which consists of host and No. 6-seed Georgia, Florida State, Radford and Elon in an NCAA Super Regional May 28-29.

The Scarlet and Gray are 16-1 in their last 17 games after recording a 10-game winning streak, including a 5-3 victory over the second-ranked Wolverines April 28 at Buckeye Field. OSU’s run was snapped with a 4-3 loss to Michigan in game two of a doubleheader but the Buckeyes have since been perfect, winning six in a row.

NCAA REGIONAL TICKETS
Tickets for the NCAA regional will costs $10 for adults and $5 for students and children and will function as all-day passes. Fan can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster starting Wednesday, as well as at the Buckeye Field ticket office on game day on a cash only basis.

FOLLOWING FROM HOME
All NCAA Columbus Regional games will be streamed live and for no cost on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Senior Ohio State students Evan Winkofsky and Joey D’Amico will call the action for the Buckeyes’ games.

In addition, a link for live stats for all NCAA Columbus Regional games can be found on the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

Big Ten Network Coverage:
The first game involving Ohio State on Saturday and any games involving the Buckeyes on Sunday will be produced by OSU students and televised on a tape-delayed basis on the Big Ten Network. Ohio State’s first game on Saturday will air at 11:30 p.m. the same day. If the Buckeyes advance to the regional championship Sunday, that contest will air at 9:30 p.m. that evening. If a game seven would be necessary and involve Ohio State, it would run on the Big Ten Network at 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

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.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State vs.
Bucknell – First meeting; Although the universities’ men’s and women’s lacrosse programs meet regularly, this will be the first time the Ohio State and Bucknell softball teams have the opportunity to play each other.
California – Cal leads 5-4, last met in 2008; Last time out, OSU dropped a 2-0 decision to California March 15, 2008 at the Capital Classic in San Francisco. In 2007, the Buckeyes posted a 10-7 victory over the then-17th ranked Golden Bears (Feb. 24) at the Palm Springs Classic.
Kentucky – OSU leads 7-3, last met in 2009; Playing host to the 2009 NCAA Columbus Regional, OSU earned a 7-2 win over Kentucky May 16 to advance to the NCAA Super Regional in Georgia. Head coach Linda Kalafatis owns a 5-4 record vs. the Wildcats.

BUCKEYE QUICK HITS
– Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the squad and ties for first in the Big Ten, batting .421 overall. The shortstop has started all 49 games and is first on the team with a career-best 15 doubles, three triples and 45 RBI. Herron is fifth on the all-time OSU home run list with nine this season and 23 in her career.
– Senior catcher Sam Marder leads the squad and is tied for second in the Big Ten with 17 home runs. She is second on the team with 43 RBI. Marder holds first on the all-time Ohio State record lists for home runs (60), RBI (189) and walks (226). With four runs scored against Minnesota April 24-25, Marder moved into third on the all-time record list and now has 146 in her career.
– Senior designated player Courtney Pruner is third on the all-time RBI and home run lists with 157 and 38, respectively. Pruner is just nine RBI and three home runs shy of tying for second in both categories.
– Freshman Melanie Nichols leads the Buckeyes in wins (21), strikeouts (129), ERA (1.83) and innings pitched (164.2). The OSU pitching corps has a combined ERA of 2.28 while its opponents have combined for a 5.82 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.

BUCKEYES IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
This is the fourth appearance in the NCAA championship for the Buckeyes in the last five years and their seventh overall. They are 10-13 all-time in postseason play with trips to the regional made in 1990, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Last season, Ohio State made its first NCAA Super Regional appearance, dropping two tight contests to Georgia in Athens, Ga.

This year, Ohio State has played 16 games against 12 of the 64 teams selected for the 2010 NCAA tournament during the regular season, including three games vs. No. 1-seed Alabama.

In 2009, the Scarlet and Gray defeated Kentucky, 7-2, in the Columbus Regional May 16, earning their first trip to an NCAA Super Regional.

NCAA Outcomes:
– 2009, Columbus Regional: beat Canisius 3-0, beat Brigham Young 5-4 (8 inn.), beat Kentucky 7-2; Super Regional in Athens, Ga.: lost to Georgia 6-4, lost to Georgia 7-6.
– 2007, Columbus Regional: beat Cal State Fullerton 2-1, beat Virginia Tech 2-1, lost to Cal State Fullerton 6-5, lost to Cal State Fullerton 10-3.
– 2006, Tucson (Ariz.) Regional: beat Auburn 1-0 (10 inn.), lost to Arizona 6-3, lost to Auburn 4-0.
– 2004, Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional: lost to South Florida 2-0, beat Bethune-Cookman 2-0, lost to Cal State Northridge 4-2.
– 2002, Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional: beat Central Michigan 7-0, lost to Michigan 3-0, beat Washington 2-1, lost to Michigan 4-0.
– 1990, Midwest Regional, Columbus, Ohio: lost to Kent State 4-0, beat Oregon 2-0, lost to Kent State 5-3.

HIGHLIGHTING THE 2009 NCAA COLUMBUS REGIONAL
The No. 11-seeded Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA Super Regional for the first time in six trips to the NCAA Championship after taking down Kentucky, 7-2, to sweep the regional round of competition in three games at their own Buckeye Field. Four players – Alicia Herron, Sam Marder, Courtney Pruner and Vanessa Spears – each hit a home run in the win.

Ohio State also defeated Canisius, 3-0, and Brigham Young, 5-4, in eight innings.

SUPER REGIONAL STYLE
Just like last year, the Columbus Regional is paired with the Athens Regional in Georgia. In its first trip to an NCAA Super Regional and first appearance on ESPN2, the 2009 Ohio State squad jumped ahead of Georgia behind a Courtney Pruner three-run homer but eventually fell, 6-4, May 21.

The Buckeyes ended their season with a 47-11 record, the second-most wins in program history, after falling to the Bulldogs, 7-6, May 22. Pruner also hit her second career grand slam in game two.

LOOKING AT OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes are 24-3 in their last 27 games after sweeping three-consecutive Big Ten teams in Michigan State (April 17-18), Indiana (April 21) and Minnesota (April 24-25). Ohio State also has swept Iowa (May 1-2), Penn State (May 8-9) and Northwestern (May 14-15) while earning a split with then-No. 18 Illinois (April 10-11) and No. 2 Michigan (April 28).

In the last six games, junior Brittany Goodchild has led the Scarlet and Gray, batting .438 with three RBI. Freshman Megan Coletta is batting .400 with two RBI and four runs scored while seniors Courtney Pruner and Whitney Cooper are tied with a team-best seven RBI and five runs scored each. Pruner has hit four home runs in the last eight games, including one each in back-to-back games vs. Northwestern last weekend.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Looking at the competition, Kentucky owns a 31-25 record and is one of seven SEC teams to make the NCAA championship. The 11th-seeded California Golden Bears finished the regular season with a 41-17 overall record and 10-11 ledger the Pac-10 Conference, who also had seven teams selected into the championship. Earning an automatic bid, Bucknell won its first Patriot League title since 1997 this season. The Bison enter postseason action with a 28-18-1 record.

FAMILIAR FACES
Ohio State will see a familiar face in the opposing dugout when it plays Kentucky Friday. Former Buckeye Kristine Himes (2000-03) is in her third season as an assistant coach for the Wildcats.

While wearing the Scarlet and Gray, Himes hit the most home runs in each of her four seasons and holds second in the all-time OSU record book with 41 career homers. She also ranks fourth with 40 doubles. In 2002, the Buckeyes earned their first berth to the NCAA championship under the leadership of OSU head coach Linda Kalafatis.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Ohio State owns a 14-1 record at home in 2010, outscoring its opponents, 124-42, and shutting out four opponents at Buckeye Field.

At home, sophomore Alicia Herron leads the squad with a .500 batting average while recording 22 RBI and scoring 19 runs. The Cypress, Calif., native has hit seven of her team-leading 15 doubles at Buckeye Field while going long five times. Senior Sam Marder is second with a .433 batting average and 18 RBI while junior leadoff hitter Dee Dee Hillman has scored the most runs at Buckeye Field, crossing home plate 20 times.

With 10 of her 21 wins coming at home, freshman Melanie Nichols owns a team-best 1.42 ERA while pitching 59.1 innings at Buckeye Field. Senior pitcher Megan Miller is 4-1 at home this season, winning both games vs. Northwestern last weekend.

BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
After earning 10 victories and throwing eight complete games in conference play, freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year Wednesday evening. She becomes just the second Buckeye to earn the distinction after Wendy Allen did so in 2001.

Nichols posted a 1.44 ERA in league play, the best in the Big Ten among players with 12 or more appearances. In 73 innings pitched, she recorded 57 strikeouts, walked just 11 batters, which ranks third in the league, and held her opponents to an impressive .225 combined batting average.

The San Jacinto, Calif., native earned series sweeps vs. Indiana (April 21), Minnesota (April 24-25) and Iowa (May 1-2) en route to a 10-1 ledger.

SIX EARN ALL-BIG TEN HONORS
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols, senior catcher Sam Marder, senior designate player Courtney Pruner and sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron were named First Team All-Big Ten honorees, making it the first time in Ohio State history to have four players on the top all-conference team in a season. Nichols was the lone freshman to earn a first team nod as well. Junior outfielders Brittany Goodchild and Dee Dee Hillman were each named to the third team.

For Marder, it is the fourth All-Big Ten honor of her career, while Pruner and Hillman up their count to three apiece.

IN THE BIG TEN
With a sweep of Northwestern (May 14-15), Ohio State ended the Big Ten season tied for second with Illinois with matching 16-2 records. The Buckeyes proved they belonged at the top of the standings after earning a split with the nation’s second-ranked Michigan Wolverines (18-1) April 28, giving the Big Ten title winner its only conference loss.

The Buckeyes swept seven Big Ten opponents in Wisconsin (March 27), Michigan State (April 17-18), Indiana (April 21), Minnesota (April 24-25), Iowa (May 1-2), Penn State (May 8-9) and Northwestern (May 14-15) while splitting with Illinois (April 10-11) and Michigan (April 28). April 7, Ohio State lost two games to Mother Nature while visiting Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind.

As a team, the Scarlet and Gray rank third in the league with a .305 team batting average and 2.28 combined ERA.

Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the league with a .421 overall batting average while holding third with 15 doubles. Senior Sam Marder leads the Big Ten with a .564 on base percentage and 55 walks while tying for second with 17 home runs and an .826 slugging percentage.

Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols owns the fourth-best ERA in the conference with a 1.83 and ties for second with 21 wins.

AGAINST THE CONFERENCE
In Big Ten games only, sophomore shortstop Alicia Herron hit a team-best .403 with 24 RBI and 19 runs scored.

Junior Brittany Goodchild finished second with a .378 batting average while classmate Dee Dee Hillman took third, hitting .356 with a team-high 20 runs scored. Senior Courtney Pruner ranked second with 20 RBI followed by classmate Sam Marder with 18.

Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols recorded a 10-1 ledger against Big Ten foes, ending the season with nine-consecutive league wins. The San Jacinto, Calif., native posted a 1.44 ERA against league opponents and fanned 57 batters. Senior Megan Miller went 6-1 in the Big Ten with a 3.16 ERA while striking out 23 batters in 44.1 innings pitched.

In 18 games, Ohio State outscored its conference opponents, 134-50.

THANK YOU SENIORS!
After recording a 16-0 victory over Big Ten foe Northwestern last Saturday, the seven-member senior class of Lindsay Bodeker, Whitney Cooper, Leah Ledford, Sam Marder, Megan Miller, Courtney Pruner and Rebecca Schultz were recognized and thanked for their contribution to the program. As a class, the Buckeyes have helped Ohio State to 157 wins and rank as the third-winningest class in program history.

The seniors have helped Ohio State to its highest ranking in the national polls, hitting as high as No. 12 in 2009, en route to the Buckeyes’ first appearance at the NCAA Super Regional.

As freshmen in 2007, they helped Ohio State to its first Big Ten title since 1990 in addition to winning the Big Ten tournament title. They led the Buckeyes to runner-up finishes in the Big Ten in 2009 and 2010 and an NCAA regional championship as juniors.

This April, the seniors recorded their first win vs. Michigan, delivering the second-ranked team in the nation its first and only conference loss.

21-2
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols came in prepared for Division I NCAA fast pitch softball. The rookie leads Ohio State with 21 wins, 129 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.83 in 164.2 innings pitched. Nichols is on a 10-game win streak which started with a 4-0 victory over Bowling Green in game one of a doubleheader April 14.

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 a 3-2 loss.  

SETTING ROOKIE RECORDS
Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols is rewriting the OSU freshman pitching records in 2010. The native of San Jacinto, Calif., already owns the all-time wins record for a freshman with 21 victories. Her 21 wins also tie for sixth overall in the Ohio State season record book.

With a 13-5 run rule of Minnesota April 25, Nichols posted her 17th career victory, bypassing All-American Kim Reeder (2006-09) and Netherland Olympian Kristi DeVries (2001-04) who were tied with 16 apiece as rookies.

Nichols is currently on a 10-game win streak, which ranks fifth overall in the program record book for consecutive wins in a season.

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.

Remaining in the Top 25 for 15-consecutive weeks this season, the squad set a program high Tuesday. The Buckeyes have been ranked nationally for the last 29-consecutive weeks.

Ohio State, currently ranked X in the NFCA and tied for 21st in the USA Softball Collegiate polls, is 134-60 all-time when ranked, including 59-14 at home when owning a Top 25 mark. 

JUMPING AHEAD
The Buckeyes are 21-1 when scoring in the first inning in 2010. Ohio State took a 2-0 lead off a Whitney Cooper two RBI single to right in game two against Northwestern last Saturday. The Scarlet and Gray went on to post a 16-0 shutout of the Wildcats.

Against Penn State May 9, the squad took a 3-0 lead off a three-run home run to left center by Courtney Pruner en route to a 3-1 victory.

Pruner did the same thing vs. No. 2 Michigan April 28 (game one), giving the Buckeyes a 3-0 lead in the first. The Scarlet and Gray eventually won the game, 5-3.

Ohio State’s lone loss came to Syracuse, a 2010 NCAA Championship team, March 19 in Clearwater, Fla. The Buckeyes scored a single run in the bottom of the first but were unable to gain momentum, eventually falling, 11-3, in five innings.

AND IT’S GONE
In the last 14 games, Ohio State has hit 20 home runs to up its total to 53 this season. Seniors Sam Marder and Courtney Pruner, who has hit a home run in four of the last eight OSU games, posted back-to-back home runs vs. Northwestern in game one last Friday before Pruner again homered, along with Alicia Herron, in game two Saturday. For Pruner, it was the 37th and 38th home runs of her career and she is just three shy of tying for second in the all-time OSU record book.

Pruner and Whitney Cooper hit a pair of three-run home runs vs. Penn State in game one and game two, respectively, to help the Buckeyes earn their sixth conference sweep. Pruner and Rebecca Schultz also hit multiple-run home runs to propel the Buckeyes past No. 2 Michigan in game one of a doubleheader April 28.

Against Indiana and Minnesota, Ohio State combined for seven homers, including a grand slam by Sam Marder April 25. The senior catcher has launched a team-high 17 in 49 games while boosting her Ohio State all-time career record to 60.

Herron also has added nine home runs this season and holds fifth on the all-time Buckeye record book with 23 in her career.

The Scarlet and Gray pitching corps has allowed its opponents to hit just 20 home runs so far this season.

LEADING OFF
Of Ohio State’s 53 home runs, 12 have been leadoff homers. The Buckeyes are 10-2 when an individual leads off with a home run.

WITH RUNNERS ON THIRD
In 14 opportunities, freshman Megan Coletta has recorded 11 RBI with runners on third and less than two outs for a team-best .786 percentage. Sophomore Alicia Herron is second, converting 8-of-13 opportunities (.615).

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Sophomore Alicia Herron leads Ohio State with 15 doubles while 13 Buckeyes have combined for a total of 76 doubles on the year. Senior Whitney Cooper has 10 to rank second on the team, classmate Courtney Pruner has hit eight and freshman Megan Coletta has seven. Sam Marder, Dee Dee Hillman and Rebecca Schultz have recorded six doubles apiece.

TAKE A BASE
Two-time All-American Sam Marder has been walked 55 times this season, including 16 intentional. She has been walked 226 times in her career, the most in Buckeye history. Since she joined Ohio State in 2007, Marder has been put on base intentionally 54 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.