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April 14, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following a five-game homestand last week, the Ohio State softball team hits the road for a midweek single game matchup with in-state foe Wright State on Tuesday. Gametime is set for 5 p.m. at the WSU Softball Field.

BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State is 20-20 overall after dropping Sunday’s rubber game of its series against Purdue. Offensively, the Buckeyes are paced by the combination of senior Evelyn Carrillo and junior Caitlin Conrad. Carrillo leads the team in batting (.368) and RBI (29) while Conrad paces the squad in runs scored (32), slugging percentage (.658), doubles (12) and home runs (six). In addition, Taylor Watkins (.339) and Cammi Prantl (.322) both have put up stellar numbers thus far.

In the circle, junior Olivia O’Reilly has logged 103.1 innings thus far with a 2.51 ERA and 70 strikeouts. Last week, she pitched 25.2 innings with just six earned runs, three complete games and two shutouts.

SCOUTING THE RAIDERS
Wright State is 10-25 overall and 6-4 in the Horizon League following a series sweep of Detroit last weekend. The Raiders are batting .237 as a team, led by Jess Gorman (.343, 10 2B, five home runs, 14 RBI). Becka Peterson leads the team in RBI (17) while batting .237.

In the circle, Krystian DeWitt and Montana Wear have split the majority of the innings. DeWitt has a 4.12 ERA while Wear checks in with a 5.70 ERA.

FOLLOWING FROM HOME
Live updates will also be available on the team’s official Twitter account, @OhioState_SB.

THE LAST 20
Ohio State has won 11 of its last 20 games and in that stretch has been getting both timely hitting and consistent pitching. A look at the top performers over that span:

Evelyn Carrillo….. .406, 17 RBI, 4 HR,
Taylor Watkins .388, 14 R, 13 RBI, 3 HR
Cammi Prantl ..377, 15 RBI, 9 2B, 15 RBI
Caitlin Conrad .349, 6 2B, 15 RBI, .698 SLG%

Top pitchers:
Olivia O’Reilly….. 8-4, 2.09 ERA, 54 K

CAREER RECORDS WATCH
Melanie Nichols, a fifth-year senior, is looking to work her way up the career record books for wins and strikeouts. In 2010, she made an instant impact as a freshman, going 21-3 with a 1.92 earned-run average of a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Nichols redshirted in 2011 while recovering from an injury and returned in 2012 to start 25 games (12-9, 3.45 ERA, 82 K). In 2013, Nichols went 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 51 Ks. Currently, she ranks sixth in all-time in wins (43) and sixth in strikeouts (303).

Career wins
1. Kim Reeder (2006-09)………….. 77
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.)… 43

Career Strikeouts
1. Jamee Juarez (2004-07)……… 747
5. Genice Turley (1994-95))……. 307
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.). 303

In addition, senior Evelyn Carrillo is also climbing her way up the career lists in hits and runs batted in. The senior from Corona, Calif., has played in 192 career games and currently ranks 12th in hits (190), just four shy of 11th place. Her 136 RBI are good for sixth place.

Career Hits
1. Anna Smith (1999-02)………… 243
10. Megan Schwab (2004-07)….. 207
11. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.).. 197

Career RBI
1. Sam Marder (2007-10)……….. 191
4. Courtney Pruner (2006-10)…. 158
5. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.)…. 143

IN THE BIG TEN STATS
A look at where the Buckeyes stack up amongst their Big Ten counterparts:

Batting average…………….. 6th, .286
Runs……………………………. 6th, 192
Hits……………………………… 4th, 298
RBI……………………………… 5th, 179
Doubles…………………………. 1st, 65

Big Ten-only games:
Batting average……………. 2nd, .326
ERA……………………………. 5th, 3.56
Runs……………………………… 5th, 70
Hits……………………………… 3rd, 103

Additionally, several individuals rank among the Big Ten leaders – Evelyn Carrillo is fifth among all players in Big Ten-only batting average (.486) and is 13th in all games. Caitlin Conrad is seventh in the conference in slugging percentage (.658) and ninth in runs scored (32). Olivia O’Reilly is 8th in ERA (2.51) and sixth in opposing batting average (.220).

LAST TIME VS. WRIGHT STATE
Ohio State 4, Wright State 0
Caitlin Conrad kept it a scoreless contest when she claimed a double play in the top of the first after snagging a fly out down the right field line before throwing out a runner at the plate when she rocketed a throw to catcher Melissa Rennie for the tag out. The Scarlet and Gray collected a 2-0 lead in the bottom following an RBI double by Carrillo and a RBI single by Pickett, respectively.

The Buckeyes made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third when junior designated player Leesa Gresham reached base with the bases loaded after a WSU fielding error allowed pinch runner Alyson Mott to cross the plate. Ohio State extended its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth when senior Brittany Mills scored from third base on a double steal vs. WSU starter Krystian DeWitt.

After allowing a single in the top of the first, Ohio State starting pitcher Alex DiDomenico retired the next 13 batters for the Buckeyes, posting four strikeouts. Wright State got its second base runner of the contest in the top of the sixth after a lead-off walk, ending the streak for DiDomenico.

Ohio State 4, Wright State 0
In the bottom of the first, Taylor Watkins scored her team-best 44th run of the year to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead for the Buckeyes after Carrillo posted an RBI single up the middle vs. WSU starter Montana Wear. The Buckeyes took a two-run advantage in the bottom of the second when Conrad notched her fourth home run of the year with a solo shot to left center.

After a lead-off walk in the top of the second, Ohio State starting pitcher Melanie Nichols retired the next 12 batters in order before a lead-off infield single in the top of the sixth. Nichols left a runner on third in the top of the sixth when she induced a strikeout to center.

In her last at bat at Buckeye Field, senior Megan Coletta made it 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth when she blasted her fifth home run of the year on a two-out, two-run shot to left. Both runs were unearned after Rennie reached on an error by the WSU second baseman.

A MARKED IMPROVEMENT
Several Buckeyes are enjoying significant statistical improvements at the plate from 2013 to 2014, including senior Melaina Saalfeld, junior Caitlin Conrad and sophomore Jayla Saibene.

Player……………………………………..         2013       2014       Diff.
Caitlin Conrad…………………………..         .285        .358        +.073
Melaina Saalfeld……………………….         .193        .253        +.060
Jayla Saibene……………………………         .214        .267        +.053

PLAYING THE BEST
The Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule will once again test Ohio State against some of the nation’s elite. In all, OSU will play at least 16 games against teams that qualified for last year’s NCAA Tournament, including eight against squads that advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Additionally, Ohio State plays 15 games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Top 25 poll. Nine of those games are against Top 10 teams. Below is Ohio State’s all-time record against team’s currently in the nation’s power conferences, including the Pac-12, Big XII, Big East, SEC and ACC.

EXPERIENCED COACHING STAFF
Ohio State’s coaching staff of Kelly Kovach Schoenly, Amanda Buchholz, Jenna Hall and Megan Coletta has 36 years of combined experience either playing for coaching in the Big Ten. Kovach-Schoenly was four-year starter at Michigan and was an assistant coach for nine years at Penn State. Buchholz was a starting shortstop at Nebraska from 2000-03 and a volunteer assistant coach with the Cornhuskers for six years as a volunteer assistant. Hall played at Illinois for four years and is the school’s all-time leader in career and single season batting average. Coletta wrapped up her four-year playing career with the Buckeyes last spring.

OHIO STATE/PURDUE NOTES
• Despite losing two of three games, Ohio State outscored Purdue, 12-6
Cammi Prantl hit a team-best .444 over the weekend with a double, two RBI and a .500 on base percentage.
• Olivia O’Reilly limited the Boilermakers to just 10 hits over 17.2 innings.

O’REILLY EMERGES AS THE ACE
Junior Olivia O’Reilly is enjoying a season for the Buckeyes as she leads team in every major pitching category, including wins (nine), ERA (2.51), strikeouts (70) and complete games (nine). Last week, she pitched 25.2 innings and gave up just six earned runs while registering three complete games and two shutouts.

PACKIN’ THEM IN
A season-high crowd of 1,598 filled Buckeye Field on Sunday, marking the largest home crowd in at least 10 years. The top attendance figures in that span:

4/13/14 vs. Purdue…………….. 1,598
4/11/09 vs. Illinois……………… 1,277
4/7/12 vs. Michigan……………. 1,217
5/19/07 vs. Cal St. Fullerton…. 1,175
5/2/12 vs. Iowa…………………. 1,147
5/9/09 vs. Penn State…………. 1,105

OHIO STATE/INDIANA SERIES NOTES
• The Buckeyes’ top four hitters (Conrad, Watkins, Prantl, Carrillo) combined to go 21-for-41 (.512) with
seven doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI.
• As a team, Ohio State hit .386 in the series.
• 13 of Ohio State’s 34 hits vs. the Hoosiers were for extra bases.

BUCKEYES’ BATS COME ALIVE VS. MSU
Ohio State’s offense posted several impressive numbers in its Big Ten-opening sweep of Michigan State. As a team, the Buckeyes hit .432 with 38 total hits, nine doubles, one triple and five home runs. Additionally, several players enjoyed big weekends, including:

Evelyn Carrillo…….. .700, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Cammi Prantl…….. .600, 3 2B, 6 runs
Keelia Nester……… .571, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Caitlin Conrad .455, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 HR

AN IMPRESSIVE DEBUT
Cammi Prantl, a second team All-Big Ten selection in 2013, made an instant impact for the Buckeyes last year. She led OSU in several offensive categories, including batting average (.346), at bats (188) and hits (65). Her name is littered throughout the single-season freshman records:

At bats:………………………… 3rd, 188
Batting average:……………. 5th, .346
Hits:……………………………… 2nd, 65
Doubles:………………………… 4th, 12
RBI:………………………………. 7th, 31
Runs:…………………………….. 1st, 40
Stolen bases:………………….. 5th, 10

FOUR BUCKEYES NAMED NFCA ALL-AMERICA SCHOLAR ATHLETES
Four members of the Ohio State softball team, three current and one former, were named 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athletes. Brittany Mills, who graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in economics, was honored along with current Buckeyes Melissa Rennie (insurance major), Audrey Plant (communication major) and Olivia O’Reilly (biology major). The award is bestowed upon any player submitted by a member coach who achieved a 3.50 grade point average or higher during the 2012-13 academic year. Additionally, Rennie was also named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, which recognizes student-athletes with at least a 3.7 grade-point average.

RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS
Entering the 2014 season, Ohio State returns eight of its top 10 hitters and all five of its pitchers. In total, 79.1 percent of its RBI total returns, 77.6 percent of its runs returns, 87.5 percent of its stolen bases and 82.2 percent of its total bases return.