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Ohio State at South Alabama Mardi Gras Tournament
Feb. 18-20, 2011
Field:
Jaguar Field (capacity: 400)
Location: Mobile, Ala.
Host website: usajaguars.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team (2-3) heads to its second of five early season tournaments on the road, playing five games at the South Alabama Mardi Gras Tournament Friday-Sunday in Mobile, Ala.

The squad opens the weekend vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday before playing tournament host South Alabama at 8:00 p.m. ET. On day two, the Buckeyes meet Southeast Louisiana at 2:30 p.m. ET and finish the day against Tennessee-Martin at 7 p.m. ET. On Sunday, Ohio State will round out the invitational against Evansville at 11:00 a.m. ET.

FOLLOWING FROM HOME
A link for live stats can be found on the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and usajaguars.com.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State vs.
Evansville:
4-0; The game Sunday morning will be the fifth meeting between Ohio State and Evansville. Last time out, the Buckeyes defeated the Purple Aces, 6-2, April 15, 2009 at Buckeye Field.

South Alabama: 0-0; The game Friday night will be the first meeting between Ohio State and South Alabama.

Southeast Louisiana:  0-0; The game Saturday will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Southeast Louisiana.

Tennessee-Chattanooga:
0-0; The game Friday afternoon will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Tennessee-Martin: 0-0; The game Saturday evening will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Tennessee-Martin.

BUCKEYES QUICK HITS

  • Senior pitcher Karisa Medrano and freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly each claimed their first career wins as a starter last weekend at the 2011 FIU Combat Classic.
  • Senior Brittany Goodchild, junior Alicia Herron and sophomore Cara Longworth are each hitting over .450 heading into the South Alabama Invitational with the three combining for 17 of the Buckeyes’ 31 hits and nine of the Buckeyes’ 19 runs.
  • Ohio State returns 11 letterwinners and five starters from its 2010 squad that went 39-14 and 16-2 in the Big Ten, finishing tied for second in the league.
  • The Buckeyes have made four NCAA appearances in the last five years, including their first run in program history to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009. Ohio State also made the tournament in 2006 and 2007.

ON THE ROAD
Ohio State opens 2011 with five-consecutive early-season tournaments on the road, playing 25 road games before hosting a Big Ten series vs. Iowa March 26-27 in Columbus. The Buckeyes went 16-9 during their early tournament season in 2010, including four wins vs. ranked opponents.

So far this season, the Buckeyes are 2-3 after winning a pair of games at the 2011 FIU Combat Classic Feb. 11-13 in Miami, Fla. The Scarlet and Gray defeated tournament host FIU, 2-1, in their second game, while downing North Florida, 10-1.

PICKING UP WINS
Senior pitcher Karisa Medrano and freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly each claimed their first career wins as a starter last weekend at the 2011 FIU Combat Classic.

Medrano, a native of Albuquerque, N.M., pitched a complete game in the 10-1 victory against North Florida Feb. 12, allowing just two hits and one earned run. The veteran Buckeye sat down 22 of the 27 batters she faced, striking out three Ospreys. In three appearances this season, Medrano (1-2) has a 2.84 ERA in 12.1 innings of work.

Kelly, a native of Wooster, Ohio, gave the Buckeyes’ their first win of 2011 in the 2-1 win over FIU in her first collegiate start in the Scarlet and Gray. The Buckeye rookie pitched five innings, striking out five Golden Panthers, while giving up one earned run. In the circle, Kelly leads the team with 20.2 innings and 15 strikeouts this season.

LEADING THE BUCKEYES
At the plate, senior Brittany Goodchild and Alicia Herron pace the team with seven and six hits, respectively, while freshman Evelyn Carrillo and sophomore Julia Pecina each have driven in four runs.

Goodchild, a native of West Hills, Calif., is on five-game hit streak, claiming at least one single in each of the Buckeyes’ five contests this season. The Buckeye outfielder, who has a team-high .467 average, tallied a season-high three hits, including a double to help lead Ohio State to a 10-1 victory over North Florida Feb. 12.

Herron, a native of Cypress, Calif., is batting .462 with six hits and two RBI through five games, also drawing a team-high six walks. In the 10-1 victory over the Ospreys, the Buckeye shortstop scored three times (team-high) to help lead the squad to its second win of the 2011 campaign.

Carrillo, a native of Corona, Calif., posted four RBI in her first collegiate tournament as a Buckeye last weekend in Miami. The OSU first baseman picked up the game-winning RBI against the Golden Panthers with a groundout that scored senior co-captain Dee Dee Hillman.

The Buckeye second baseman, Pecina hit her first career home run in a big moment for the Buckeyes vs. Memphis Feb. 12. The native of La Habra, Calif., stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning  with one out and drove a three-run home run over the outfield wall to tie the game, 3-3, sending the contest into extra innings.

HERRON, HILLMAN NAMED CO-CAPTAINS
Senior outfielder Dee Dee Hillman and junior shortstop Alicia Herron were named co-captains of the 2011 Buckeye squad, head coach Linda Kalafatis announced this offseason. 

“While we have many kids that provide good leadership and stability for the team, I think these two young ladies stood out to their teammates,” Kalafatis said. “It was clear that these two have the characteristics that the team felt was necessary to lead the 2011 Buckeyes.”

A native of Defiance, Ohio, Hillman started 46 games in 2010, leading the team with 42 runs and had the team’s third-best batting average (.345). In 148 at-bats, the Buckeye outfielder had 51 hits, good for second-most on the squad. A 2010 Third Team All-Big Ten honoree, Hillman had a .401 on base percentage with six stolen bases last season. Defensively, the 2009 First Team All-Big Ten selection had a .976 fielding percentage, while only committing one error.

Herron, a native of Cypress, Calif., started all 53 games a season ago, powering the Buckeyes at the plate with a .749 slugging percentage. The 2010 First Team All-Big Ten honoree led the Scarlet and Gray in multiple offensive categories, including batting average (.415), at-bats (171), hits (71), RBI (50), doubles (15), triples (3), total bases (128) and stolen bases (10). The shortstop also was second in runs (41) and home runs (12). Herron is currently fifth on the all-time program home run list with 26 in just two complete seasons with the Buckeyes.

HERRON NAMED TO P.O.Y. WATCH LIST
Alicia Herron
, a junior co-captain, was selected to the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List, the Amateur Softball Association of America announced last week.

Known for her power at the plate, the Buckeye shortstop led Ohio State in multiple categories last season, including batting average (.415), at bats (171), hits (71), doubles (15), triples (3), RBIs (50) and total bases (128). The 2010 First Team All-Big Ten honoree, Herron started all 53 games for the Scarlet and Gray, collecting 21 multi-hit games as a sophomore.

During her rookie campaign, Herron broke the Ohio State freshman home run record with 14 and tied the program record with a seven RBI game. The native of Cypress, Calif., Herron is fifth on the all-time home runs list with 26 in her career.

BUCKEYE NEWCOMERS
Ohio State welcomes eight newcomers to the 2011 squad, including five infielders, two pitchers and one outfielder. Joining the infield are freshmen Melaina Saalfeld (2B, Modesto, Calif.); Evelyn Carrillo (1B, Corona, Calif.), Leesa Gresham (1B, Fresno, Calif.), Melissa Rennie (C, Wellington, Ohio) and sophomore Cara Longworth (C, Massillon, Ohio). Joining the pitching staff are freshmen Audrey Plant (P, Upper Arlington, Ohio) and Kasie Kelly (P, Wooster, Ohio). Sophomore Alyson Mott (OF, New Albany, Ohio) joins the outfield unit.

HENDERSON JOINS THE COACHING STAFF
Danielle Henderson
, Olympic gold medalist and a three-time collegiate All-American, was named assistant coach, Ohio State softball head coach Linda Kalafatis announced this past summer.  Henderson, the 1999 Honda Award winner, given to the nation’s top softball player, from the University of Massachusetts (1996-99) completes the staff of Kalafatis and former Nebraska All-American Ali Viola.

“Danielle Henderson had a terrific college playing career at UMass and also with the 2000 Gold Medal winning USA Olympic Team which I’m sure will lead to a terrific coaching career,” Kalafatis said. “She will work primarily with our pitchers to develop a young staff and will also be an integral part of our offensive attack since our hitters will be facing a great pitcher almost daily. Danielle’s experience as an Olympian competing with and against the best in the world no doubt helped shape her into the player and now the coach she is.”

Henderson is considered one of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, rewriting the softball record book in her four seasons on the mound. A four-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and a four-time A-10 Tournament Most Outstanding player, Henderson finished her career second all-time on the NCAA’s strikeout list with 1,343 in her four-year career. She was also the nation’s leader in strikeouts per seven innings in both 1998 and 1999.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes will travel west to California to compete in one of the premiere Division I softball tournaments in the country at the 2011 Cathedral City Classic Feb. 24-27.