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Ohio State at Wisconsin and Minnesota
April 25-27, 2008

THE SCHEDULE
Friday – 6 p.m. CT OSU at Wisconsin
Saturday – 1 p.m. CT OSU at Wisconsin
Sunday – noon CT OSU at Minnesota (DH)

OHIO STATE TRAVEL PLANS
The Buckeyes depart Columbus Thurs. from Port Columbus on Northwest Airlines at 5:14 p.m. and connecting in Detroit before landing in Madison at 7:45 p.m. CT. The team will stay at the Crowne Plaza in Madison (4402 E. Washington Ave.). Ohio State busses to Minneapolis Sat. evening and will stay at the Radisson (615 SE Washington Ave.) before flying home Sun. via Northwest with a 9:40 p.m. expected arrival time at Port Columbus.

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State is 14-16 all-time against KatieJo Kuhens’ Wisconsin Badgers, including 2-10 at Goodman Diamond. The Buckeyes won their last trip to Madison in 2006 when they defeated the Badgers 10-6, with the second game rained out.

Ohio State is 29-55 all-time against Ryan Maus’ Minnesota Gophers, including 9-25 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. The Buckeyes have won the last seven meetings dating back to 2004.

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

FIVE WARM-UP PITCHES
1. Ohio State travels to Wisconsin and Minnesota this weekend for Big Ten games needing a good showing to bolster its chances to qualify for the Big Ten tournament May 8-10.
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 (48) and on base percentage (.617), ranks second in slugging percentage (.839) and average (.468), third in home runs (13) and fourth in RBI (49).
3. Senior Brittany Vanderink leads the Big Ten lead in hits (62), ranks third in runs (38) and is tied for third in stolen bases (16).
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 –
Needing a good weekend to bolster its chances of having a postseason, the Ohio State softball team travels to Wisconsin and Minnesota this weekend to wrap up Big Ten play.

The Buckeyes are 29-20 overall and 5-11 in the Big Ten, which puts them in the ninth spot in the league standings. The top eight teams in the conference standings qualify for the Big Ten tournament. Compounding the importance of the four games this weekend is the fact that this season is Ohio State’s turn to go without a travel partner, which means the Buckeyes will not play during the final weekend of the season (May 3-4).

If Ohio State does not fare well this weekend, the Buckeyes will be score checking next weekend to see if their season will end in April for the first time in program history.

WATCH THE BUCKEYES IN HD FRIDAY
The Buckeyes will make their final regular-season appearance on the Big Ten Network Friday at Wisconsin when the network televises the game against the Badgers live in High Definition. Amanda Scott and Leah Secondo will call the action. Ohio State is 2-2 on the Big Ten Network this season and 5-2 on television the last two seasons.

BUCKEYES BACK ON WINNING TRACK
After sweeping Ball State Wednesday, Ohio State takes a modest three-game winning streak on the road this weekend, which marks the first time the Buckeyes have won back-to-back games since mid-March. Ohio State posted winning streaks of five, six and seven games this season and was 22-6 after beating Iowa in its Big Ten opener, but the Buckeyes then went on a 4-14 skid through last Sunday.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE HOSTS
Wisconsin is 14-37 overall and 2-14 in the league (11th place). The Badgers are 4-7 at Goodman Diamond in Madison this season. Wisconsin ranks 11th in the Big Ten in hitting (.208 team average), ninth in pitching (3.35 ERA) and eighth in fielding (.959 fielding percentage).

Minnesota is 23-14 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten (tied for fourth). The Gophers are 5-4 at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium in Minneapolis this season. Minnesota leads the Big Ten in fielding percentage (.973) and ranks ninth in hitting (.247) and seventh in pitching (2.94 ERA).

FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES ONLINE
In addition to watching the Buckeyes take on Wisconsin Friday night in Madison, fans can follow live stats of all four games this weekend at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Also, the two games at Wisconsin will include a live radio broadcast online at www.UWBadgers.com.

THE BUCKEYES ON THE ROAD
Ohio State is 7-4 in true road games this season, including 2-2 in the Big Ten (split at Indiana and Purdue). Those marks are better than the Buckeyes’ record at home, which is 8-12 overall and 3-9 in the league.

Of note, Ohio State is 3-0 in road night games this season, with wins at Stetson, Florida International and UNLV. The Buckeyes play at Wisconsin at 6 p.m. CT Friday.

Ohio State statistical leaders in road games this season:

Sam Marder   .423 (11-26), 4 HR, 10 R, 12 RBI
Brittany Vanderink   .378 (14-37), 0 HR, 5 RBI
Tory Haddad   .286 (10-35), 1 HR, 9 RBI
Kim Reeder   4-2, 2.24 ERA, 41 K, 40.2 IP

MARDER CAN SWING IT…
Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder was named a finalist for the Amateur Softball Association’s Collegiate Player of the Year Award April 11. She is one of only five sophomores among the 25 finalists. The list will be narrowed to 10 May 7, then down to three May 21.

Predominantly a catcher, Marder leads the Buckeyes with a .468 average overall (second in Big Ten), seven doubles, 13 home runs (third in Big Ten), 49 RBI (fourth in Big Ten), 48 walks (leads Big Ten), an .839 slugging percentage (leads Big Ten) and a .617 on base percentage (second in Big Ten).

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.

…AND SHE’S GOT A CANNON
Marder has thrown out 19 base runners attempting to steal this season, which is the most by an OSU catcher since those statistics are available in 1998. The previous high was 15 by Jaime Chenevey in 1999.

Marder threw out one base stealer in two attempts Wednesday against Ball State. As of Monday, Marder’s 18 caught-stealing total were the highest in the Big Ten, ahead of the 15 by Illinois’ Lana Armstrong.

Marder had allowed 23 steals this season, meaning opponents are successful a little better than 50-percent of the time (55%). That success rate is the lowest against Big Ten catchers who have had at least 20 attempts against them. As of Monday, Iowa’s Emily Nichols (20 allowed in 32 att.) and Indiana’s Tory Yamaguchi (24 allowed in 38 att.) were tied for second behind Marder with a 63-percent success rate against them.

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 22-6 after five southern tournaments, two home nonconference wins and a 4-3 win over Iowa in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten opener, marking the program’s second-best 28-game start. Since then, however, the Buckeyes are 7-14 to see their record now stand at 29-20 overall. Their 5-11 Big Ten record has them in ninth place.

Ohio State is batting .266 overall (sixth in Big Ten) and opponents are batting .252. OSU pitchers own a 2.76 staff ERA (fifth in Big Ten) and have struck out 278 batters in 334.2 innings. THe Buckeyes rank 11th in the Big Ten in fielding (.943).

Leading the Buckeyes at the plate is a pair of 2007 first-team All-Big Ten selections, including sophomore Sam Marder (.468, 13 HR, 49 RBI) and senior Brittany Vanderink (.363, 38 R, 16-18 SB). In the circle are junior Kim Reeder (15-14, 2.29 ERA) and sophomores Megan Miller (8-4, 3.46) and Lindsay Bodeker (6-2, 1.23 ERA).

The Buckeyes are 23-3 this season when leading or tied after four innings. Ohio State is 21-6 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 junior pitcher Kim Reeder played travel ball with Wisconsin senior catcher Joey Daniels. OSU sophomore pitcher Megan Miller played travel ball with Wisconsin sophomore pitcher/infielder Letty Olivarez. OSU sophomore first-baseman Tory Haddad played travel ball with Wisconsin freshman outfielder Ashley Hanewich.

VANDERINK MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Ohio State senior Brittany Vanderink continues to move up the OSU career hits and runs scored lists. Last weekend, she moved past former Buckeye Megan Schwab (2004-07) on both lists. Vanderink now owns 126 career runs and 210 career hits. On the runs list, she now ranks fifth (three away from fourth) and on the hits list she is tied for sixth (with Nycole Koyano, 2004-07).

Vanderink is a .345 career hitter (sixth all-time) and is a career 62-for-67 base stealer (fourth all-time). Entering the weekend, she currently leads the Big Ten in hits with 62, ranks third in runs (38) and is tied for third in stolen bases (16).

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 (403-270, .599) and is one of three Big Ten coaches with more than 650 career wins (674-383-2, .637).

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 IN THE BIG TEN (AS OF 4/24)
In Big Ten statistics as of Thursday, Ohio State ranked sixth in batting average (.266), fifth in pitching (2.76 ERA) and 11th in fielding (.943).

Sophomore Sam Marder led the league in walks (48) and on base percentage (.617), ranked second in average (.468) and slugging percentage (.839), ranked third in home runs (13) and fourth in RBI (49).

Senior Brittany Vanderink ranked first in hits (62), third in runs (38) and tied for third in stolen bases (16). Junior Kim Reeder ranked fourth in innings pitched (195.2), fifth in strikeouts (180), eighth in wins (15) and ninth in ERA (2.29).

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Sophomore Sam Marder has been walked this season 48 times already, including 28 times in Big Ten games. Marder is 12-27 (.444) officially against conference opponents with four home runs and a .733 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
Michigan State    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
Michigan          6         1   0-4, 1 HBP, 3 K
Penn State       10         1   5-9, 1 HR, 1 RBI

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.

BUCKEYES AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
In the latest national statistics report released Monday, Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder ranked fourth in the nation in on base percentage (.614), second in walks per game (0.96), sixth in batting average (.467), ninth in slugging percentage (.842), 20th in RBI per game (1.0) and 28th in home runs (13).

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

IN THE OSU CAREER RECORD BOOK
Senior Brittany Vanderink ranks fourth all-time at Ohio State in stolen bases (62), sixth in career batting average (.345), tied for fourth in triples (11), fifth in runs scored (126) and tied for sixth in hits (210). On the OSU career home run list, sophomore Sam Marder is third with 23 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 (48) and strikeouts (471) and sixth in innings pitched (538.0).

THE BUCKEYES AT NIGHT
Ohio State is 8-5 at night this season (4-0 on the road, 4-5 at home). Sophomore Sam Marder leads the offense in night games with a .515 average (17-33), four home runs and 14 RBI, while senior Brittany Vanderink is batting .429 (18-42). Junior Kim Reeder is 4-3 at night this season with a 2.61 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.

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

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.

BUCKEYES RANKED FOR EIGHT WEEKS
The April 7 polls 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.

OHIO STATE AT BUCKEYE FIELD
Ohio State is 323-135 (.705) all-time at Buckeye Field since the facility opened in 1988. That mark includes a 127-106 (.545) record in Big Ten games and a 186-29 (.865) record in non-league games.

Now 8-12 at home this season, Ohio State is 50-16 at Buckeye Field overall the last three seasons combined. 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.

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.

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.

MARDER, REEDER EARN BIG TEN’S FIRST WEEKLY AWARDS
The Buckeyes swept the Big Ten’s first weekly awards Feb. 12 as Kim Reeder was named the pitcher of the week and Sam Marder was named the player of the week. In leading Ohio State to a perfect 5-0 record at the Stetson Lead-Off Classic Feb. 8-10, Reeder went 2-0 with a 0.56 earned run average and Marder batted .462 with a home run and eight runs batted in.

AWARD WINNERS RETURN
Ohio State head coach Linda Kalafatis was named the 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year and welcomes back three Buckeyes who earned All-Big Ten honors last season. Sophomore Sam Marder and junior Courtney Pruner were first-team honorees last season, while senior Brittany Vanderink was a second-team selection. Marder earned her award at catcher and she will also see innings at first base in 2008. Pruner was the league’s pick in right field, but she is expected to play first base this season if she returns from offseason surgery (see previous note). Vanderink returns at second base and was named the Buckeyes’ 2008 captain.
In addition, Marder was named first-team all-region by the NFCA, while Vanderink was a second-team choice.

Among returning Buckeyes who received postseason team awards is Marder, who became the first freshman to earn the team’s Offensive Player of the Year award. She was also named the Rookie of the Year, while pitcher Kim Reeder earned the Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor. Pruner was named the Most Improved Player and Whitney Cooper took home the Buckeye Spirit Award.

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 326 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