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Ohio State at 2011 Cathedral City Classic
Feb. 25-27, 2011
Location: Cathedral City, Calif.

Tournament Central: http://www.osubeavers.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/cathedral-classic.html and ticket information is located at http://palmspringssoftballclassic.com.

Ohio State plays four Top 25 teams at Cathedral City Classic

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team (4-6) travels to the 2011 Cathedral City Classic to play five games Friday-Sunday in Cathedral City, Calif. The Buckeyes face a tough slate, opening the classic vs. No. 24/21 Texas A&M (9-3) at 10 a.m. Friday. On Saturday, the Buckeyes battle No. 25 BYU (6-4) at 10 a.m. before taking on UC Santa Barbara (6-2) at 12:30 p.m. The Scarlet and Gray close out the tournament vs. two Top 20 opponents, including No. 18/22 Nebraska (10-1) at 8:30 a.m. and defending NCAA champion and No. 2/3 UCLA (10-1) at 11 a.m. Sunday.

FOLLOWING FROM HOME
A link for live stats can be found on the softball schedule page at Ohio State Buckeyes.com and at the tournament central.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State vs.

Texas A&M: 2-8, last met in 2009; Despite trailing Texas A&M in the all-time series, OSU recorded back-to-back wins in at the LSU Tournament Feb. 14-15 in Baton Rouge, La.

BYU: 2-0, last met in 2009; The Buckeyes defeated BYU, 5-4, in extra innings at the 2009 NCAA Regional in Columbus.

UC Santa Barbara: 1-1, last met in 2009; Ohio State won, 5-3, Feb. 22 at the 2009 Edition of the Palm Springs Softball Classic.

Nebraska: 3-2, last met in 1996; this will be the first time Linda Kalafatis has faced Nebraska as head coach for the Buckeyes.

UCLA: 1-6; last met in 2010; When Ohio State last met UCLA, the Bruins were ranked third in the nation. The Buckeyes upset UCLA, 7-0, in Palm Springs Feb. 28, 2010.

BUCKEYE QUICK HITS

  • Freshman catcher Melissa Rennie was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week Monday after hitting three home runs with six RBI and going 7-for-9 at the plate last weekend in South Alabama. The weekly recognition is the first of her career and the first individual honor for the Buckeyes in 2011.
  • Senior co-captain Dee Dee Hillman lead the Buckeyes in hits last weekend with 12, batting .600 at the plate with eight runs. Hillman currently has a six-game hit streak.
  • Junior co-captain Alicia Herron leads the Scarlet and Gray and multiple offensive categories, heading into the third week of competition. She is first in hits (15), runs (11), RBI (8) and total bases (24).
  • 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.
  • Freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly has pitched 36.0 innings for the Buckeyes this year and has a 2-1 overall record with a 3.50 ERA. She picked up her first-career win in the 2-1 victory over FIU Feb. 11 in Miami, Fla.
  • 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.

IN PALM SPRINGS
This will be Ohio State’s seventh-consecutive appearance in Palm Springs in 2011. Last year, the Buckeyes went 4-1 at the Cathedral Classic (Feb. 26-28), downing two ranked opponents, including a 7-0 shutout of the eventual College World Series Champion UCLA.

2010 Cathedral City Classic
W, 4-1 vs. No. 19 Fresno State – Feb. 26
L, 0-3 vs. No. 22 Tennessee – Feb. 27
W, 8-7 (8 innings) vs. Oregon State – Feb. 27
W, 5-2 vs. Cal State Fullerton – Feb. 28
W, 7-0 vs. No. 5 UCLA – Feb. 28

CLOSING IN ON 500 WINS
Head coach Linda Kalafatis is closing in on her 500th-career victory at the helm of the Buckeyes. She will lead the Buckeyes into action at 2011 Cathedral City Classic with 497 career wins.

In her 15th season at Ohio State, Kalafatis is one of the most successful coaches in the Big Ten and the NCAA. She is one of four conference coaches with more than 700 career wins, placing her among the Top 30 active coaches in the country. The 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year, Kalafatis is third among current Big Ten coaches in number of victories – with five fewer years of coaching experience than her nearest colleague.

The Buckeyes have won 30 or more games in nine of Kalafatis’ 14 seasons in Columbus and in each of the last seven seasons. Also the Big Ten coach of the year in 2002, she has guided Ohio State to six of the program’s seven NCAA tournament appearances (2002, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’10), including its first trip to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009.

Kalafatis entered the 2011 campaign with a 493-298 (.623) record in 14 years at Ohio State, which marks the best win total and winning percentage in program history. In 22 years as a collegiate head coach, including stops at her alma mater California (Pa.) and Akron, she owns a record of 770-419-2 (.647).

BIG TEN CO-FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Melissa Rennie, a freshman catcher on the Ohio State softball team, was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week, the conference office announced Monday.  The native of Wellington, Ohio, claims the weekly laurel along with freshman pitcher Cassee Layne of Michigan State.

This is the first weekly award of Rennie’s career and first conference recognition of the season for the Buckeyes. The OSU rookie earns the honor after helping the squad to two wins last weekend at the South Alabama Invitational in Mobile, Ala. In three games at the tournament, Rennie totaled seven hits, including three home runs with six RBI in her second career collegiate event.

In the Ohio State’s 4-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana Feb. 19, Rennie posted her first career three-hit game. In the following game against Tennessee-Martin, she led off an inning with her first career home run to give Ohio State a 6-3 lead over the SkyHawks. In the final game of the invitational, Rennie continued her hot bat at the plate with her first multi-homer performance with a season-high four RBI. Her offense was a main part of the Buckeyes’ rally to win 12-4 in extra innings vs. the Purple Aces. Rennie scored leadoff the top of the fifth with a home run to left center to cut the deficit to 3-2. In the eighth inning, the Buckeye rookie put Ohio State ahead, 6-3, with a two-run home run to help start a nine-run inning for the Scarlet and Gray.

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.

ON THE MARK
Junior co-captain Alicia Herron leads the team with a .469 batting average through 10 games in 2011. The Buckeye shortstop has collected 15 hits, 11 runs, eight RBI with a .750 slugging percentage and also is five-for-five in the stolen bases category.

Fellow co-captain Dee Dee Hillman is second on the team with a .424 batting average with 14 hits, 10 runs and four RBI. She also is a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases this season.

GOING YARD
Seven Buckeyes have homered through two weeks of action of the tournament season, including freshman Melissa Rennie (3), junior Alicia Herron (2), sophomore Cara Longworth (1), freshman Evelyn Carrillo (1), senior Rachael Shepherd (1), sophomore Julia Pecina (1) and freshman Melaina Saalfeld (1). In all, the Buckeyes have recorded 22 extra-base hits.

Rennie lead the Buckeyes with three long balls last weekend at the South Alabama Invitational in Mobile. She recorded two of the three home runs in the 12-4 comeback victory against Evansville Feb. 20. Longworth and Carrillo also homered in the game – each first career home runs as Buckeyes.

In the first day of the tournament Feb. 18, Herron tallied two home runs – one vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga and another against South Alabama. She now has 28 career home runs, which is fifth on the Ohio State all-time career list.

The following day, Saalfeld hit her first career long ball in the 4-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana Feb. 19. In just her third at bat of her career, the native of Modesto, Calif., drove a pitch over the left center wall to give the Scarlet and Gray at 3-1 lead – the home run was her first collegiate hit.

At the 2011 FIU Combat Classic, Pecina posted their first career home run. With only two outs left vs. Memphis Feb. 12, Pecina tied the game, 3-3, with a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, sending the game into extra innings.

WINNING WAYS
Since 2000, Ohio State has won 423 games, which is the third-highest win total in the Big Ten during that time. The Buckeyes own a .664 winning percentage, good for third in the league.

The 2010 squad recorded 39 wins, the fifth-most in school history, and advancing to the program’s fourth NCAA regional appearance in the last five years. Ohio State has notched 30 or more wins for seven-consecutive seasons- the longest 30-win stretch in Buckeye history.

UP NEXT
For the fourth-consecutive weekend, the Buckeyes will hit the road for their fourth tournament of the season. Ohio State will compete at the Tulsa Tournament March 4-6 in Tulsa, Okla.