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Buckeyes make first appearance in Super Regional after 3-0 sweep in opening round

COLUMBUS, Ohio The record-breaking and history-making season continues for the No. 11-ranked and seeded Ohio State softball team with a trip to the NCAA Super Regional. The Buckeyes are making their first trip to the Round of 16 and will take on sixth-seeded Georgia at UGA Softball Stadium in Athens, Ga., in a best-of-three series at 7 p.m. Thursday and 4:30 p.m. Friday, with a possible third game immediately following the second. The winner of the Athens Super Regional advances to the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City May 28-June 3. Both the Bulldogs and Buckeyes will be vying to make their first-ever trip to the WCWS.
     All of the games in the Athens Super Regional will be televised live on ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Michele Smith, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, calling the action.
    Ohio State advanced to Athens after hosting and winning the Columbus Regional where it went a perfect 3-0 with wins over Canisius, BYU and Kentucky. The Bulldogs, in their eighth-consecutive NCAA Softball Championship, are making their third Super Regional appearance (2005, 2008) but are hosting the Round of 16 for the first time. They advanced by winning the Chapel Hill Regional with a 3-0 mark that included a win over Radford and a pair of wins over host North Carolina.

BUCKEYES IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Ohio State is making its sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament and first in program history in a Super Regional. The Buckeyes are 10-10 at the regional level, including a 3-0 record from last week with wins over Canisius, BYU and Kentucky. 
      Prior to and during the formation of the NCAA tournament in 1982, the Buckeyes made three trips to the AIAW tournament (1978, 1979, 1982 AIAW World Series).

2009 Columbus Regional: beat Canisius 3-0, beat BYU 5-4, beat Kentucky 7-2
2007 Columbus Regional: beat CS Fullerton 2-1, beat Virginia Tech 2-1, lost to CS Fullerton 6-5, lost to CS Fullerton 10-3
2006 Tucson (Ariz.) Regional: beat Auburn 1-0 (10 inn.), lost to Arizona 6-3, lost to Auburn 4-0.
2004 Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional: lost to South Florida 2-0, beat Bethune-Cookman 2-0, lost to Cal State Northridge 4-2.
2002 Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional: beat Central Michigan 7-0, lost to Michigan 3-0, beat Washington 2-1, lost to Michigan 4-0.
1990 Midwest Regional, Columbus, Ohio: lost to Kent State 4-0, beat Oregon 2-0, lost to Kent State 5-3.

AGAINST THE FIELD
Ohio State entered the NCAA Tournament with a 13-6 record this season against 13 of the teams in the tournament field and 248-379-4 all-time vs. 50 squads. That includes a 181-214-3 mark against teams in the Big Ten and a 67-165-1 record vs. non-conference schools.
   
FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES
TV:
The Buckeyes will make their first appearance on the ESPN family of networks. All games from the Super Regional in Athens will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Michele Smith providing play-by-play and commentary.
Blog: Junior captain Whitney Cooper will revive the team’s travel blog from the beginning of the season with “On the Road with the Buckeyes: Super Regional Style.” Cooper will provide a nightly account of all the Buckeyes’ activities in Athens.
Live stats: Gametracker for all NCAA games in Columbus are available and will be linked from the homepage, as well as the softball schedule page of OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Links also can be found on GeorgiaDogs.com, as well as NCAA.com.

ALL-MIDWEST HONORS
A trio of Ohio State softball players was named Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Region selections May 14. Senior Kim Reeder, junior Sam Marder and freshman Alicia Herron each earned a spot on the All-Midwest team prior to leading the 11th-seeded Buckeyes to a 3-0 sweep of the Columbus Regional en route to their first appearance in an NCAA Super Regional in program history. The players are now eligible for All-American consideration, adding to their list of postseason accolades. All three also earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors last week.

BIG TEN AWARDS
Five members of the Ohio State softball team earned First or Second-Team All-Big Ten honors, announced Wednesday by the conference office on the eve of the opening games of the 2009 NCAA Regional at New Buckeye Field. Sophomore Dee Dee Hillman was the lone first-team representative, following up a third-team appearance as a freshman, while senior Kim Reeder, juniors Whitney Cooper and Sam Marder and freshman Alicia Herron each earned spot on the second team. Hillman represents the 24th first-team selection for Ohio State since 1984.

OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE
From the batter’s box: As a team this season, the Buckeyes are hitting .288 with 66 homers, dismantling the previous single-season record 54 set during the 2002 season. They are led by All-American Sam Marder, who has shattered nearly every offensive record in the books, earning the top spot on both the single-season and career homerun charts with 19 this season and 43 overall. The junior captain from Calabasas, Calif., is batting .350 with an .839 slugging percentage and a .557 on-base percentage after being walked a school record 63 times including 16 intentional.
     Herron joins Marder in the power-hitting club in her rookie season. With 14 homeruns to her credit, the Cypress, Calif., native topped the freshmen hitting record and moved into a tie for fourth overall in the season records after hitting two out of the park during Regional play last week. She also stands in fifth with a team-leading 48 RBI, including a seven-run performance against Indiana earlier this year that tied the single-game record.
    Marder and Herron may own the top spots, but junior captain Courtney Pruner has also made inroads on the career homerun totals. The Akron, Ohio, native increased her total to 10 against Kentucky for the season and 24 in her career for the fourth-place position. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have not completely overlooked the importance of small ball amongst all the homeruns. Whitney Cooper leads the team in total hits with 55 (41 singles), scoring 36 runs and driving home 30 more.

In the circle: The veteran pitching staff of senior Kim Reeder, junior Megan Miller and redshirt sophomore Lindsay Bodeker has been stellar this season, holding a cumulative 1.57 ERA and .209 opponent batting average. With the win over Kentucky last Saturday, Reeder broke the school records for both single-season and career wins, tallying her 26th (26-5) and 77th, respectively. In her senior season, the Salinas, Calif., native holds a 1.26 ERA after shutting out 11 opponents and giving up more than two earned runs in just five games this season. She has 206 strikeouts to her credit in 188.1 innings pitched, averaging 5.6 per appearance (37).
      Bodeker (16-4), who is in her first full season with the Buckeyes, has a conference-leading four saves this season and holds a 1.88 ERA and 163 strikeouts, averaging 5.8 per appearance (28 apps), while Miller remains undefeated (5-0) in the circle. Earlier this season, Bodeker threw the first Ohio State no-hitter since April 17, 2007, when she shut out Eastern Michigan March 14 in Louisville in five innings.

In the field: Ohio State is third in the conference in fielding percentage (.968) and has the fourth-fewest errors of any team (53). First baseman Tory Haddad and catcher Sam Marder are both in the Top 5 in the Big Ten in put-outs, taking spots four and five with 375 and 353 POs, respectively. Alicia Herron at shortstop and Whitney Cooper at second base have 109 and 94 assists, respectively, to lead the Buckeyes. Sam Marder is not just a homerun hitter, proving her All-American catcher status by throwing out out 16-of-20 base-runners with two outs coming last Saturday against Kentucky.

SCOUTING GEORGIA
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs took the Chapel Hill Regional in three games, besting Radford once and the host Tar Heels twice in their eighth-consecutive and overall NCAA postseason appearance in school history, all under current head coach Lu Harris-Champer. Georgia is now 24-14 in NCAA postseason play and has made three trips to the Super Regional without advancing to the Women’s College World Series.
     Like the Buckeyes, much of Georgia’s offensive power comes from homeruns. The Bulldogs have belted a total of 74 homeruns this season to establish a new single-season team record. Powered by Alisa Goler and her 21 out-of-the park hits, Georgia stood in second in the Southeastern Conference behind Florida in total homers. Goler is batting .459 on the season as one of two Bulldog players hitting above .400, joining Taylor Schlopy with a .420 clip.
     Christie Hamilton and Sarah McCloud have split the bulk of the time in the circle this season, with Hamilton holding a 23-8 record and McCloud producing a 16-2 mark. Bulldog hurlers have a combined 2.02 ERA with opponents batting .195 against them.

SERIES HISTORY VS. THE BULLDOGS
Ohio State and Georgia have faced just once before with the then-No. 21 Bulldogs earning a 6-4 win Feb. 15, 2008 at the Florida International Tournament in Miami. Sam Marder hit her third homerun of the early season in that game and scored two runs, while driving home Dee Dee Hillman and Brittany Vanderink to score the other two. Kim Reeder and Lindsay Bodeker each pitched three innings in the game with Reeder taking the loss.