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April 6, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – One of the longest homestands in program history begins this week for the Ohio State softball team, which hosts 18 of 19 games at Buckeye Field during the next three weeks.

The stretch began Wednesday when the Buckeyes (20-14, 2-2 Big Ten) swept Bowling Green and will continue this weekend with conference series against Illinois Friday and Saturday and No. 15 Northwestern Sunday. The Buckeyes will be at home for 20 of their last 27 regular season games before the Big Ten tournament May 11-13.

GameTracker will have all home games live at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

The Buckeyes are 5-0 at home this season and are coming off 3-0 and 4-1 wins over preseason Mid-American Conference poll champ Bowling Green (21-12) Wednesday.

Illinois (14-20, 1-3 Big Ten) visits Buckeye Field for the second-consecutive year and brings with it the Big Ten’s No. 2 offense, while No. 15 Northwestern (23-8, 4-0 Big Ten) out-scored Wisconsin and Iowa 41-6 last weekend in its Big Ten opening weekend.

CHECKING THE SCHEDULE
Bowling Green was the first of six non-league opponents Ohio State will face in midweek games over the next five weeks. Illinois and Northwestern both played non-conference games on the road Tuesday, with the Fighting Illini losing twice at Bradley in Peoria (8-5, 6-1) and the Wildcats traveling to DeKalb to beat Northern Illinois, 3-1.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Ohio State is entering into a homestand that will include 18 of 19 games at home. The most recent similar homestand was in 2004 when the Buckeyes played a stretch of 16 of 18 games at home. The longest streak of consecutive home games occurred in 1994 when Ohio State played 20 straight home games, which was nearly topped in 1998 when OSU played 16 in a row at Buckeye Field. OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE
Ohio State went 2-2 on the road in the Big Ten last weekend to open conference play. The Buckeyes are 11-4 in their last 15 games, which includes a 5-0 record at home.

Junior Megan Schwab leads Ohio State with a .353 average, a .421 on-base percentage, a .529 slugging percentage and nine doubles. Senior Billie Carder (.255) leads the Buckeyes with 19 RBI and junior Nycole Koyano (.247) owns a team-best 18 stolen bases (18-for-20) and 20 runs. Liz Caputo’s .364 average is tops on the squad but she has been out since Feb. 19 with a broken leg. She is now day-to-day.

Pitchers Jamee Juarez (10-8, 2.99 ERA) and freshman Kim Reeder (10-6, 1.69 ERA) have combined to start OSU’s 34 games. Reeder is coming off back-to-back three-hit shutouts (at Purdue Sun., vs. Bowling Green Wed.) and Juarez pitched a four-hitter vs. BGSU Wed.

OSU returns 11 letterwinners and welcomes four newcomers in 2006 for head coach Linda Kalafatis, who is in her tenth season. The Buckeyes were 32-17 overall in 2005 and finished fourth in the Big Ten with a 9-7 league mark. OSU ranked among the NCAA’s Top 13 in six categories, including scoring (8th, 5.8 runs/game).

BIG TEN AT A GLANCE
Northwestern, ranked No. 15 in the nation last week, leads the Big Ten with a 4-0 league record. The Wildcats (23-8 overall) are followed by Michigan State (3-0, 24-11), defending national champion Michigan (2-0, 22-9) and Indiana (3-1, 18-13). Four teams are all 2-2 in the Big Ten, including Iowa (20-14), Ohio State, Purdue (22-18) and Illinois (14-20).

This weekend, Indiana and Purdue are at Michigan and Michigan State, while Minnesota is at Iowa and Wisconsin. Penn State hosts Northwestern and Illinois opposite Ohio State.

OSU VS. ILLINOIS SERIES NOTES
Ohio State is 6-4 all-time against Illinois and 4-3 against the Fighting Illini at Buckeye Field. Of note, these two teams have only met twice in Champaign, that coming in 2004 when they split a doubleheader. The Fighting Illini have won three of the last four games in the series, including in the 2004 Big Ten Tournament in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes have one sweep of Illinois (2002), while the Illini have never swept OSU.

Year Location Winner Score 2005 Columbus Illinois 8-7 2005 Columbus Ohio State 5-3 2004 Ann Arbor Illinois 5-0 2004 Champaign Illinois 1-0 2004 Champaign Ohio State 1-0

OSU VS. NORTHWESTERN SERIES NOTES
Northwestern leads the all-time series against Ohio State, 51-23-3 and has won four straight over the Buckeyes (2003, 2004), but OSU is 13-9 against the Wildcats at Buckeye Field. The two games in Evanston last season were cancelled. The Buckeyes last swept Northwestern in 2002 and also swept the Wildcats in 2001 at Buckeye Field.

Year Location Winner Score 2004 Columbus Northwestern 5-3 2004 Columbus Northwestern 5-3 2003 Evanston Northwestern 10-3 2003 Evanston Northwestern 5-2 2002 Columbus Ohio State 3-1 2002 Columbus Ohio State 12-4

A LOOK AT THE ILLINI AND WILDCATS
Illinois (14-20, 1-3), which is coming off two losses at Bradley Tuesday (8-5, 6-1), ranks second in the Big Ten in team batting (.285) but 11th in team pitching (5.70 ERA). The Fighting Illini were 24-26 last year and 4-14 in the Big Ten and return 13 letterwinners and seven starters. Head coach Terri Sullivan is 218-148-2 in her seventh year. Jenna Hall leads the Big Ten in five categories including a .506 average and 11 home runs. She walked 11 times in 16 plate appearances last weekend. Hall and Shanna Diller (.306, 3 HR, 29 RBI) were both third-team All-Big Ten picks a year ago. Rachelle Coriddi (.361) leads the Big Ten in hits (43), stolen bases (20) and ranks second in runs (32). Claire DeVreese, who has pitched in 33 of Illinois’ 34 games, leads the Illini pitching staff with a 10-10 record and 5.11 ERA.

No. 15 Northwestern (23-8, 4-0) has been among the Top 25 all season and is coming off a 3-1 win at Northern Illinois Tuesday. The Wildcats rank fourth in the Big Ten in team batting (.278) and fourth in pitching (1.71 ERA). NU hit 11 home runs in their four Big Ten games last weekend. Kate Drohan is in her fifth season in Evanston (159-77-1) and welcomes eight starters and 15 letterwinners back from her 2005 squad that went 42-18 and 15-3 in the Big Ten. Among them are Kristen Amegin (.321, 6 HR, 23 RBI), who is NU’s career home run and walks leader. Garland Cooper (.383, 5 HR, 27 RBI, league-best 15 2B), the Big Ten Player of the Week twice this spring, was a first-team All-American last year and the Big Ten Player of the Year. In the circle, Eileen Canney (10-4, 1.55 ERA) and first-team All-Big Ten selection Courtney Foster (13-4, 1.94 ERA) have handled all of Northwestern’s pitching duties this season. Foster was a fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Force in Feb.

LAST YEAR AGAINST ILLINOIS AND NU
The Buckeyes and Illini split a doubleheader last season in Columbus with Ohio State taking the first game, 5-3 and falling 8-7 in the second. In the first game, OSU scored all five of its runs in the fifth inning with two outs. Juarez pitched her 15th complete game, earning her 16th win of the season. Despite a three-run home run from Billie Carder in the seventh inning, the Buckeyes were not able to complete the comeback in the second game.

Ohio State and Northwestern had their two games in Evanston last year cancelled because of cold weather. The Buckeyes’ two games at Michigan were snowed out the same weekend.

OSU-OPPONENT CONNECTIONS
From the Akron area are OSU freshman Courtney Pruner (Ellet H.S.) and Northwestern sophomore Kristen Salamon (Kent). Five from OSU’s roster and six from Northwestern’s roster are from California. NU junior Katie Logan is from Tempe, Ariz., near the hometowns of OSU juniors Megan Schwab (Glendale) and Christina Douglas (Mesa).

OSU SWEEPS BGSU WEDNESDAY
Ohio State is coming off a doubleheader sweep (3-0, 4-1) of Bowling Green Wed. at Buckeye Field. OSU scored all seven of its runs in the third inning of the two games. The Falcons (20-12) entered the games 11-2 in their last 13 games, with their only losses coming at then-No. 12 Michigan and Notre Dame.

Freshman Kim Reeder tossed her second-consecutive three-hit shutout in the opener and junior Jamee Juarez held the Falcons to four hits in the nightcap. Sophomore Brittany Vanderink and junior Megan Schwab went 2-for-3 in the opener and senior Billie Carder had a hit in both games to extend her hitting streak to five games.

SHORT HOPS…
Senior Billie Carder batted .364 (4-for-11) in four Big Ten road games last week and hit a second-inning grand slam Saturday to propel Ohio State to a 6-3 win at Indiana, which marked the Hoosiers only loss of the weekend. Carder added an RBI single later in that game to finish with a career-high five RBI. The grand slam was the second of her career. Her current five-game hitting streak ties the longest of her career. Freshman pitcher Kim Reeder has won six of her last seven decisions and is coming off back-to-back three-hit shutouts (at Purdue Sun., vs. BGSU Wed.). In her last nine appearances, Reeder has given up only seven earned runs in 55 innings (0.89 ERA).

Junior Jamee Juarez had pitched four career one-hitters heading into the first game at Long Beach State March 24, during which she tossed her first career no-hitter. It was the first no-hitter thrown by an OSU pitcher since current assistant coach Kristi DeVries threw a five-inning perfect game against Wright State March 6, 2004. Juarez tied a Big Ten and Ohio State record Feb. 25 with three home runs in a 6-0 win over No. 22 Oregon in Palm Springs.

Junior Lauren Daykin is hitting .400 (4-for-10) in her last four games. Junior Megan Schwab is batting .417 (5-for-12) in her last four games.

The Buckeyes are 17-0 when leading after four innings. OSU is 16-3 when scoring three or more runs. The Buckeyes’ 4-0 start matched their best four-game start in program history (1979). Ohio State went into extra-innings in four of its first six games of the season and went 2-2 in those contests. The Buckeyes won back-to-back games in extra-innings Feb. 11 for the first time among available records.

Freshman Courtney Pruner’s four walks vs. Central Michigan (March 18) tied the OSU record. Her first collegiate hit was a home run (Feb. 11) and she now has four homers on the season, which are tied for second-most in a season by a freshman in OSU history (Juarez in 2004). Pruner is the all-time home run leader in Ohio high school history.

BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In Big Ten statistics as of April 3, Ohio State ranked 9th in the Big Ten in batting (.248 avg.), 7th in pitching (2.57 ERA) and 9th in fielding (.955 pct.). The Buckeyes were ranked second in triples (5) and stolen bases (46).

Individually, Megan Schwab ranked 5th in doubles (9) and Nycole Koyano ranked 3rd in stolen bases (17). Among Big Ten pitchers, Kim Reeder ranked 9th in ERA (1.80), 5th in innings pitched (109.0) and 8th in strikeouts (96), while Jamee Juarez ranked 9th in innings pitched (98.1) and 7th in strikeouts (108).

KALAFATIS IN 10TH YEAR AT OSU
Ohio State head coach Linda Kalafatis is in her 10th season at the helm of the Buckeyes’ softball program in 2006. She is already OSU’s all-time wins leader with 315 victories in Columbus (315-223-0, .583), and her overall record stands at 588-338-2 (.639) in 18 years as a collegiate head coach. She is assisted by former Buckeyes Belinda Quisenberry and Kristi DeVries and former Nebraska All-American Ali Viola.

OSU IN NON-CONFERENCE HOME GAMES
Since head coach Linda Kalafatis took over the Ohio State program for the 1997 season, the Buckeyes are 92-10 in non-conference home games at Buckeye Field. Among the best season records in non-conference home games, OSU was 14-2 in 2001 and 13-1 in both 2002 and 1998. The Buckeyes were 7-0 in non-league games at Buckeye Field last year, batting .389 as a team in those games and averaging 9.7 runs per game.

JUNIORS & BAKER IN OSU RECORD BOOK
Junior Jamee Juarez has 10 wins this season to increase her career total to 48 and move past current OSU assistant coach Belinda Quisenberry (38 wins) and former Buckeye Genice Turley (39). Juarez is now third all-time in wins and ranks seventh on the innings pitched list (466.1).

Junior Megan Schwab has hit three home runs to increase her career total to 13, which ranks tied for fifth in OSU history. Ashley Cutcliff, a senior last year, ranks fourth with 14. Chelsea Baker has three homers this year to give her 10 for her career, which is tied for eighth with Wendy Allen.

Junior Nycole Koyano ranks tied for third in OSU history with 71 walks, fourth in stolen bases with 50 and eighth in runs scored with 94. She is already tied for ninth in career triples with seven and her next triple will tie her for fourth.

OSU WINS BUCKEYE INVITATIONAL
Ohio State won its home opener March 17, a 2-1 extra-inning victory over Kent State, on its way to a 3-0 record and championship of the Buckeye Invitational. OSU also topped Central Michigan 8-3 and Robert Morris 11-2 in the weather-shortened event. Pittsburgh also went 3-0 but Ohio State’s +15 run differential won the tie-breaker (Pitt was +13).

With the three wins, Ohio State remains perfect in the six years of the Invitational with a 22-0 record. Junior Jamee Juarez was named to the all-tournament team for the third-consecutive year and was joined by juniors Christina Douglas and Megan Schwab.

2005 OSU OFFENSE AMONG BEST
Ohio State ranked among the national leaders in six categories last year, including batting average (No. 3, .321), scoring (No. 8, 5.80 runs/gm.), doubles (No. 4, 1.69/gm.), triples (No. 8, .37/gm.), stolen bases (No. 13, 1.69/gm.) and slugging percentage (No. 12, .494).

### GO BUCKS! ###