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Ohio State (26-17) in midst off eight-game home stand; OSU seniors Liz Caputo and Brittany Vanderink to be honored Sunday

Ohio State vs. Michigan and Penn State
April 18-20, 2008
Buckeye Field
Columbus, Ohio

THE SCHEDULE
Friday
OSU vs. Michigan, 6 p.m.

Saturday
OSU vs. Michigan, 1 p.m.

Sunday
OSU vs. Penn State, Doubleheader, noon

HEADS UP IN THE PARKING LOT!
Fans attending the OSU-Michigan game Saturday are advised to allow for extra time parking around Buckeye Field because of the OSU football spring game. Parking attendants will hold spaces for softball fans.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State is 19-68 all-time against Leah Howard’s Michigan Wolverines, including 7-19 at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes last defeated the Wolverines at home in 2003 (4-0).

Ohio State is 38-25 all-time against Sean Forrester’s Penn State Nittany Lions, including 16-4 at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes swept Penn State at home last season, winning all three games, the last of which came in the 2007 Big Ten Tournament, 10-2.

IF YOU’RE SCORING AT HOME
Live Audio: www.OhioStateSports.net
Live Stats: www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com

FIVE WARM-UP PITCHES
1. Seniors Liz Caputo and Brittany Vanderink are playing in their final Big Ten weekend at Buckeye Field.
2. Sophomore Sam Marder has been named a finalist (25 named) for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. She leads the Big Ten in walks (43), slugging pct. (.869) and on base pct. (.625), ranks second in batting average (.477), third in home runs (12) and tied for third in RBI (46).
3. Senior Brittany Vanderink is tied for first in the Big Ten lead in hits (55) and ranks third in runs (36).
4. In Ohio State’s regular batting order, only two returning starters have played in every game this season, including Brittany Vanderink and Sam Marder.
5. In June, a $5.9 million renovation project will begin at Buckeye Field, which opened in 1988.

SETTING THE SCENE
COLUMBUS, Ohio –
In its final home Big Ten weekend, the Ohio State softball team hosts fifth-ranked Michigan Friday and Saturday and Penn State Sunday. The Buckeyes (26-17, 4-8 Big Ten) will honor seniors Liz Caputo and Brittany Vanderink following Sunday’s doubleheader.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines (39-4, 11-1 Big Ten) will meet at 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. The Nittany Lions (28-15, 4-6 Big Ten) will arrive for a noon twin bill Sunday.

Ohio State is coming off a split with Kentucky Wednesday to kick off an eight-game home stand. The Buckeyes are an uncharacteristic 5-9 at home so far this season, though, and will have just two nonconference doubleheaders remaining at Buckeye Field the following two Wednesdays to close out the home schedule.

LISTEN TO THE BUCKEYES ONLINE
Log on to www.OhioStateSports.net to listen live to all four games this weekend from Buckeye Field. Josh Ellis, Gabe Norris and Joey D’Amico will have the call.
In addition, live statistics for all games will be available at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

OSU GEARING UP FOR BIG WEEKEND
This weekend marks Scarlet and Gray Days, when the Ohio State department of athletics seeks to set four attendance records. The softball Buckeyes will be featured Sunday when they take on Penn State. The attendance record at Buckeye Field is 1,175, set last May against Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA tournament. The regular-season attendance record is 682, set April 19, 2003 against Michigan.

Other home events on the docket this weekend that are part of the Scarlet and Gray Days include baseball vs. Purdue at 6:35 p.m., men’s lacrosse at 11 a.m. in Ohio Stadium and the NYSP Spring Football Game at approximately 1:30 p.m.

THANK YOU SENIORS
Seniors Liz Caputo and Brittany Vanderink helped lead Ohio State to the 2007 Big Ten championship and to 137 wins during the last four seasons, which ranks as the sixth-winningest class in program history.

Caputo broke into the starting lineup as a freshman when she batted .367 overall her rookie season and posted an amazing .516 average in Big Ten games. She suffered a leg injury as a sophomore that forced her to miss 51 games, but Caputo returned as a junior and posted a .316 average in postseason games. She will graduate this quarter with a degree in consumer affairs.

Vanderink’s ability to get on base has been one of the best in the history of the program. She owns a career on base percentage of .391 and her career totals of 203 hits, 124 runs, 11 triples, 61 stolen bases and .345 average put her among the best Buckeyes in program history. She will be a student assistant coach for the Buckeyes next season.

THE BUCKEYES AT HOME
Ohio State’s 5-9 record at home so far this season is an uncharacteristic one. Ohio State was 21-2 at home in both 2007 and 2006 and had won 25 in a row at home from April 22, 2006 until a 1-0 loss to Iowa March 29 earlier this season.

Against Marshall April 2, the Buckeyes saw their 32-game winning streak in regular-season home nonconference games come to an end with an 11-0 loss in game one of a doubleheader. When Marshall won game two, 6-1, it marked the first time since April 29, 1992, that Ohio State was swept in a home nonconference doubleheader.

Ohio State statistical leaders at home this season:

Sam Marder   .538 (14-26), 3 HR, 10 R, 9 RBI
Dee Dee Hillman   .300 (12-40), 7 R
Tory Haddad   .250 (8-32), 8 RBI
Kim Reeder   3-5, 3.24 ERA, 52 K, 58.1 IP

BUCKEYES LAST WEEKEND
Ohio State went 2-2 on the road last weekend, splitting games at Indiana (won 3-2, lost 0-1) and Purdue (won 7-4, lost 1-3). Among the highlights were:
Friday at Indiana (W, 3-2): Kim Reeder struck out a career-high 12 batters and Sam Marder hit her 12th home run (10th GWRBI in 2008).

Saturday at Indiana (L, 4-0): Reeder pitched her 500th career inning.

Sunday at Purdue, Game 1 (W, 7-4): Megan Miller notched her first career Big Ten pitching win. Rebecca Schultz made her first career start at second base and went 2-for-4.

Sunday at Purdue, Game 2 (L, 3-1): Brittany Vanderink collected her 200th career hit (sixth Buckeye to do so). Kim Reeder threw her 17th complete game of the season.

Statistical leaders from last weekend:

Brittany Vanderink   .333 (4-12), 2 RBI
Tory Haddad   .308 (4-13), 2 RBI, 1 2B
Whitney Cooper   .250 (3-12)
Rebecca Schultz   .250 (2-8), 1 2B
Sam Marder   .250 (1-4), 11 BB, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Megan Miller   1-0, 0-00 ERA, 7 IP, 0 ER
Kim Reeder  1-2, 3.32 ERA, 19.0 IP, 26 K
 
OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE
The Buckeyes have only three field starters and one starting pitcher back from their 2007 Big Ten champion team that went 40-18 overall and 14-2 in the conference.

Ohio State began the season 21-6 after five southern tournaments and two home nonconference wins, marking the program’s second-best 27-game start. Since then, however, the Buckeyes are 5-11 to see their record now stand at 26-17 overall. Their 4-8 Big Ten record has them in eighth place.
Ohio State is batting .270 overall (sixth in Big Ten) and opponents are batting .254. OSU pitchers own a 2.74 staff ERA (sixth in Big Ten) and have struck out 245 batters in 291.2 innings.

Leading the Buckeyes at the plate is a pair of 2007 first-team All-Big Ten selections, including sophomore Sam Marder (.477, 12 HR, 46 RBI) and senior Brittany Vanderink (.367, 36 R, 15-16 SB). In the circle are junior Kim Reeder (14-11, 2.01 ERA) and sophomores Lindsay Bodeker (6-2, 1.23 ERA) and Megan Miller (6-4, 4.04).

The Buckeyes are 21-2 this season when leading or tied after four innings. Ohio State is 19-5 when scoring first.

Ohio State has 11 letterwinners back from its 2007 squad that won both the league’s regular-season and conference championships. The Buckeyes hosted an NCAA Regional last season and came within one win of their first trip to Super Regionals before falling twice to Cal State Fullerton.

In Big Ten games last season, Ohio State led the Big Ten in batting (.319) and fielding (.973) and ranked third in pitching (2.50 ERA). Overall, the Buckeyes batted .292 as a team, compared to .221 by their opponents. The pitching staff owned a 2.37 ERA, which was almost two full runs lower than the opposition (4.11).

OSU-OPPONENT CONNECTIONS
Ohio State sophomore pitcher Megan Miller played travel ball with Penn State sophomore pitcher Kimi Wong. OSU sophomore catcher Sam Marder played on a U-23 all-star team last summer with Penn State junior outfielder Danielle Kinley. OSU senior outfielder Liz Caputo played travel ball with PSU senior catcher Hollee Haines.

A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION
At 11-1 in the Big Ten, Michigan leads the league in both batting (.302) and pitching (0.62 ERA) and ranks second in fielding (.968 fielding percentage). Alessandra Giampaolo (.385, 18 RBI, 2 HR) and Samantha Findlay (.380, 15 HR, 51 RBI) rank among the Big Ten’s offensive leaders, while pitchers Jordan Taylor (21-2, 0.50 ERA) and Nikki Nemitz (18-2, 0.75) rank first and second in the league in most pitching categories.

Penn State enters the weekend just above Ohio State in the league standings. The Nittany Lions rank eighth in the conference in batting (.264), third in pitching (1.69 ERA) and fifth in fielding (.965). Danielle Kinley (.383, 1 HR, 16 RBI) ranks fourth in the league in hitting, while Ashley Esparza (12-9, 1.43 ERA) and Jackie Hill (13-6, 1.91 ERA) form Penn State’s one-two punch in the circle.

MARDER FINALIST FOR USA SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder was named a finalist for the Amateur Softball Association’s Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Marder is one of only five sophomores among the 25 finalists. The list will be narrowed to 10 May 7, then three May 21.
Predominantly a catcher, Marder leads the Buckeyes with a .477 average overall, six doubles, 12 home runs, 46 runs batted in, 43 walks, a .869 slugging percentage and a .625 on base percentage.

Last year, Marder led the Buckeyes with a .359 average, 10 home runs, 49 runs batted in and a school record 44 walks on her way to earning first-team honors from the Big Ten and NFCA Great Lakes Region.

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Sophomore Sam Marder has been walked this season 43 times already, including 26 times in Big Ten games. Marder is only 7-14 officially against conference opponents with three home runs and an .818 on base percentage. Here is a breakdown on how Big Ten teams have pitched to Marder so far:

Opp.          Plate App.  BB  Officially
Iowa               7       6  1-1, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Illinois           9       4  2-3, 1 RBI
Mich. St.          7       3  3-4, 1 HR , 1 RBI
Northwestern       6       2  0-2
Indiana            7       5  1-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Purdue             8       6  0-2

IN MEMORY OF MARSHA PRUNER
The Buckeyes are wearing “MP” on their uniforms and helmets for the rest of the season in honor of Marsha Pruner, the mother of OSU junior Courtney Pruner, who passed away March 21.

HEAD COACH LINDA KALAFATIS
Head coach Linda Kalafatis is in her 12th season at Ohio State in 2008 and her 20th season as a collegiate head coach. Kalafatis, who twice has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year (2002, 2007), is Ohio State’s all-time wins leader (400-267, .606) and is one of three Big Ten coaches with more than 650 career wins (671-380-2, .643).

Seven times the Buckeyes have won at least 30 games under Kalafatis, who has guided Ohio State to the NCAA tournament four times (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007). She is assisted by former collegiate All-Americans Ali Viola (Nebraska) and Erica Beach (Arizona State).

BUCKEYES AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
In the latest national statistics report released April 14, Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder ranked second in the nation in on base percentage (.614), third in walks per game (1.0), sixth in batting average (.466), seventh in slugging percentage (.864) and 11th in RBI per game (1.12).

Log on to www.NCAAsports.com for the complete report, which also includes Brittany Vanderink, Kim Reeder and Tory Haddad.

BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
In Big Ten statistics as of April 14, Ohio State ranked sixth in batting average (.269), fourth in pitching (2.53 ERA) and 11th in fielding (.943).

As of April 14, sophomore Sam Marder led the league in slugging percentage (.864), on base percentage (.614) and walks (41) and ranked second in batting average (.466) and RBI (46) and third in home runs (12).

Senior Brittany Vanderink was tied for second in hits (52), ranked third in runs (35) and ninth in batting average (.361). Junior Kim Reeder ranked fourth in innings pitched (163.2), seventh in strikeouts (148), eighth in wins (13) and 10th in ERA (2.01).

FOR MORE ON THE BUCKEYES…
In addition to OhioStateBuckeyes.com, check out www.theozone.net and www.bigtennetwork.com/videos for interviews and photos.

IN THE CAREER RECORD BOOK
Senior Brittany Vanderink ranks fourth all-time at Ohio State in stolen bases (61), sixth in career batting average (.344), tied for fourth in triples (11) and tied for sixth in runs scored (124). On the OSU career home run list, sophomore Sam Marder is third with 21 and junior Courtney Pruner, who will miss her junior season is tied for seventh with 14. In the circle, junior Kim Reeder ranks fourth in wins (47), fourth in strikeouts (445) and seventh in innings pitched (512.0).

OHIO STATE AT BUCKEYE FIELD
Ohio State is 320-132 (.709) all-time at Buckeye Field since the facility opened in 1988. That mark includes a 126-103 (.550) record in Big Ten games and a 184-29 (.876) record in non-league games.

Now 5-9 at home this season, Ohio State is 47-13 at Buckeye Field overall the last three seasons. Ohio State was dominating at home last season with a 21-2 record, which tied the best winning percentage in Buckeye Field history (.913) since the facility opened in 1988.

Ohio State batted .360 at home last season, compared to .184 by the opposition, and OSU pitchers compiled a 1.57 earned run average compared to 6.13 the opposing pitchers.

In 2006, Ohio State also went 21-2 at home, batted .350 as a team and owned a 1.58 staff earned run average.

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME
The 2008 Ohio State roster includes 13 freshman and sophomores. There are three juniors and two seniors. Senior Brittany Vanderink and sophomore Sam Marder have started all 37 games this season but are the only two starters back from last season who have done that. Five seniors graduated last year and first-team All-Big Ten selection Courtney Pruner, a junior in 2008, will miss the entire season because of offseason hip surgery.

BUCKEYE FIELD TO GET $5.9M FACELIFT
It was announced last year that Buckeye Field, home of Ohio State softball since 1988, will get a $5.9 million renovation as soon as the 2008 season is over. The new 1,500 seat stadium will include indoor and outdoor batting cages, a three-plate bullpen, 650-square foot press box, player clubhouse, lounge and locker room, new dugouts, coaches and umpires locker room and a concession area.

BUCKEYES RANKED FOR EIGHT WEEKS
Last week marked the first time this season that the Buckeyes were not among the nation’s Top 25 in either poll. Ohio State was ranked for the previous eight-consecutive weeks, tying the program record first set in 2003.

The Buckeyes were ranked No. 22 and No. 23 in the two preseason national polls and have been ranked as high as No. 18 (Feb. 11). Ohio State ended last season ranked in the same positions as in the two preseason national polls this season.

Ohio State is 69-38 all-time when ranked, including 25-11 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.

THE BUCKEYES AT NIGHT
Ohio State is 6-4 at night this season (4-0 on the road, 2-4 at home). Sophomore Sam Marder leads the offense in night games with a .556 average (15-27), four home runs and 12 RBI, while senior Brittany Vanderink is batting .406 (13-32). Junior Kim Reeder is 3-2 at night this season with a 2.28 ERA.

The Buckeyes went 9-3 in night games last season, including 4-0 at home, 1-1 on the road and 4-2 at neutral sites. Among the highlights at night were a Kim Reeder no-hitter at UAB, a Jamee Juarez perfect game against IUPUI and three postseason wins at night at Buckeye Field. Sam Marder led the offense with a .423 average (11-26) in night games, while Reeder went 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA.

ROAD TRIPPIN’
The Buckeyes played five-consecutive early-season tournaments to begin the season that took them to DeLand, Fla. (went 5-0, Feb. 8-10), Miami (went 3-2 Feb. 15-17), Palm Springs (went 3-2 Feb. 22-24), Las Vegas (went 5-0 March 7-9) and Sacramento (went 3-2 March 14-16). Of note, the first two weeks of the season marked the first time Ohio State is playing in Florida twice in the same season.

COURTNEY PRUNER TO MISS 2008
Ohio State junior Courtney Pruner, a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, will miss all of the 2008 season after undergoing hip surgery in December. Pruner batted .336 with seven home runs and 37 runs batted in last year and was penciled in to play first base this season.

BIG SHOES TO FILL
Ohio State said goodbye to five senior starters from its 2007 team, leaving big shoes to fill for the 2008 Buckeyes. Positions open include first base (Christina Douglas), shortstop (Nycole Koyano), pitcher/third base (Jamee Juarez), left field (Megan Schwab) and designated player (Lauren Daykin). All five of those Buckeyes earned postseason honors from the Big Ten last season.

THE DEFENDING BIG TEN CHAMPIONS
Ohio State went 14-2 in the Big Ten last season to win its second conference championship and first since 1990. The Buckeyes, who went 10-0 at home in league games and 4-2 on the road, had to sweep Penn State in the regular-season finale to hold off Northwestern for the title and the Buckeyes did just that, winning 4-2 and 4-0. Both games were dramatic, as the Nittany Lions scored twice in the top of the seventh inning Saturday in a comeback bid and the Buckeyes scored all four of their runs Sunday as the visiting team in the top of the seventh inning.

A 2-1 walk-off win over sixth-ranked Northwestern May 12 at Buckeye Field gave Ohio State its first Big Ten tournament title and first automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. In the bottom of the seventh, senior Megan Schwab singled to center, stole second, went to third on an infield single by junior Liz Caputo and scored when senior Nycole Koyano grounded to third and Darcy Sengewald’s throw was wild, allowing Schwab to score.

The tournament championship game was televised live on CSTV, marking Ohio State’s first game on national television. With the win, Northwestern became the highest-ranked opponent ever to lose at Buckeye Field.

In a 10-2 quarterfinal win over Penn State and a 10-1 semifinal win over Purdue, the Buckeyes established and then tied a team record for runs scored in a Big Ten tournament game. The previous Big Ten tournament scoring high was nine runs in a quarterfinal win over Penn State in 2006 at Northwestern.

The Buckeyes are the third team to win the Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships, joining Michigan (six double titles) and Iowa (one).

A TOP PROGRAM ADDS MORE
Since 2000, the Buckeyes have won 323 games, which is the third-highest win total in the Big Ten during that time. Ohio State’s .647 winning percentage and average win total of 37.6 games rank fourth in the Big Ten this decade.

The 2007 Buckeyes were the fourth team in Ohio State softball history to win at least 40 games in a season, joining teams in 1994, 2001 and 2002. Combined with 39 wins in 2006, Ohio State’s win total of 79 during the 2006 and 2007 ranks third all-time in the program among back-to-back year win totals.

### OhioStateBuckeyes.com ###

 

Contact: Tim Stried, stried.3@osu.edu