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Ohio State at Holiday Inn Tulsa-City Center Festival Tournament
March 4-6, 2011
Location:
Tulsa, Okla.
Tournament Central: www.TulsaHurricane.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team travels to the Holiday Inn Tulsa-City Center Festival this weekend to play four games Friday-Sunday in Tulsa, Okla.

The Buckeyes (4-11, 0-0 Big Ten) open the tournament against North Dakota (2-7) at 11 a.m. (ET) before taking on Iowa State (9-6) at 11:15 p.m. (ET). The Scarlet and Gray then return to action at 5:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday vs. Drake before concluding the tournament against host Tulsa (10-6) at 1:15 p.m. (ET) Sunday.  All of the games will be played at the Donna J. Hardesty Sports and Recreation Complex on Tulsa University’s campus.

Following the tournament, Ohio State will have a bye week for exams before finishing its early-season tournament in California, playing six games over the university’s spring break.

FOLLOWING FORM HOME
A link to Gametracker can be found on the softball schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and TulsaHurricane.com.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State vs.
North Dakota:
First meeting.

Iowa State: 0-4, last meeting in 1995. Last time out, the Buckeyes fell to the Cyclones, 1-0, March 18, 1995, at the Florida State Invitational.

Drake: 4-3, last meeting in 2006. Last time out, Ohio State split a doubleheader vs. Drake March 4 at the Hampton Inn Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Tulsa: First meeting.

BUCKEYE QUICK HITS

  • Junior shortstop Alicia Herron owns a team-high .391 batting average with 18 hits, 10 RBI, two home runs and nine walks.
  • Freshman designated player Evelyn Carrillo leads the team with 12 RBI, batting .306 with two doubles and two home runs. She posted the Buckeyes’ longest hit streak this season with 11-consecutive games with a base hit Feb. 12-26.
  • The Buckeyes are a combined 17-of-18 in stolen bases this season. Senior co-captain Dee Dee Hillman and Herron each are a perfect 5-for-5 in 2011.
  • Freshman pitcher Kasie Kelly has pitched 42.2 innings for the Buckeyes this year and has a 2-2 record with a 4.92 ERA. She picked up her first-career win in the 2-1 victory over FIU Feb. 11 in Miami, Fla.
  • 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.

IN TULSA
This will be Ohio State’s first time playing in an early-season tournament in Tulsa, Okla.

CLOSING IN ON 500
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 the Tulsa Tournament 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 770-422-2 (.645).

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 Feb. 21.  The native of Wellington, Ohio, claimed the weekly laurel along with freshman pitcher Cassee Layne of Michigan State.

It was the first weekly award of Rennie’s career and first conference recognition of the season for the Buckeyes. The OSU rookie earned the honor after helping the squad to two wins 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 opened 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.

So far this season, Ohio State is 4-11 after dropping its last five games at the 2011 Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. Ohio State faced a tough slate of teams, competing against four Top 25 opponents. In game one, the Buckeyes lost 10-1 vs. No. 21 Texas A&M, last Friday. On the second day, the Buckeyes dropped a 5-1 decision to No. 25 BYU before losing 11-3 in five innings against UC Santa Barbara. Ohio State concluded the tournament suffering a 10-0 loss to No. 18 Nebraska and a 12-5 loss to No. 2 UCLA last Sunday.

ON THE MARK
Junior co-captain Alicia Herron leads the team with a .391 batting average through 15 games in 2011. The Buckeye shortstop has collected 18 hits, 13 runs and 10 RBI with a .587 slugging percentage and also is 5-for-5 in the stolen bases category. Freshman catcher Melissa Rennie is batting .389 with three home runs and six RBI. Fellow co-captain Dee Dee Hillman is third on the team with a .360 batting average with 18 hits, 12 runs and four RBI. She also is a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases this season.

GOING YARD
Seven Buckeyes have homered through three weeks of action of the tournament season, including freshman Melissa Rennie (3), junior Alicia Herron (2), freshman Evelyn Carrillo (2), sophomore Cara Longworth (1), senior Rachael Shepherd (1), sophomore Julia Pecina (1) and freshman Melaina Saalfeld (1). In all, the Buckeyes have recorded 25 extra-base hits.

Rennie led the Buckeyes with three long balls Feb. 18-20 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 tallying their first career home runs.

On the first day of the tournament Feb. 18, Herron tallied two home runs – one vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga and another against South Alabama. She has 28 career home runs, 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 career at-bat, the native of Modesto, Calif., drove a pitch over the left center wall to give the Scarlet and Gray a 3-1 lead – the home run was her first collegiate hit.

At the 2011 FIU Combat Classic to begin the year, Pecina posted her 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.

THE BUCKEYES ARE RUNNING
Aggressive running has been a factor for the Buckeyes to begin the season, going 17-of-18 in the stolen base department in 2011. Dee Dee Hillman and Alicia Herron each are 5-for-5, while Megan Coletta is 2-for-2. Five other Buckeyes are 1-for-1 this year.

12 and 11
Ohio State recorded a season-high 12 runs and 11 RBI, batting .415 against Evansville Feb. 20. The Buckeyes also had a team-high four home runs by three different players.

WINNING WAYS
Since 2000, Ohio State has won 423 games, 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 advancd 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.