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Buckeyes (16-4) head to Capital Classic for games against Nevada, Sacramento State, Cal, Northern Colorado and Colorado State

No. 19/21 Ohio State at the Capital Classic
March 14-16, 2008
Sacramento Softball Complex
Sacramento, Calif.

SCHEDULE (ALL-TIME SERIES)
Friday
   10 a.m. PT vs. Nevada (OSU lead 3-0)
   3 p.m. PT at Sacramento State (SSU leads 4-2)
Saturday
   10 a.m. PT vs. Cal (Cal leads 4-3)
   12:30 p.m. PT vs. Northern Colorado (NCU leads 3-2)
Sunday
   9 a.m. PT vs. Colorado State (OSU leads 3-1)

OHIO STATE TRAVEL PLANS
The Buckeyes will fly United Airlines from Columbus at 3:26 p.m. ET Thursday to Sacramento, landing at 8:13 p.m. PT. The team will stay at Larkspur Landing and return Monday morning at 6:45 a.m. ET via US Air with a red-eye connection in Las Vegas.

IF YOU GO
All games of the Capital Classic will be played at the three-field Sacramento Softball Complex on Longview Drive. For directions log onto www.HornetSports.com.

IF YOU’RE SCORING AT HOME
Live Stats: Not Available
For More Information: Game notes, recaps, box scores, etc., available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

FIVE WARM-UP PITCHES
1. The Buckeyes’ 16-4 record ties the program’s best record after 20 games (2002).  
2. Ohio State is ranked No. 19 in the NFCA USA Today poll and No. 21 in the USA Softball ESPN.com poll. 
3. The Buckeyes are batting .302 as a team compared to .212 by their opponents. OSU pitchers own a 1.33 ERA, while opposing pitcher have a 3.39 ERA.
4. In Ohio State’s regular batting order, only three returning starters are back this season (lead-off batter Brittany Vanderink, No. 3 hitter Sam Marder and No. 8 hitter Liz Caputo.
5. In June, a $5.9 million renovation project will begin at Buckeye Field, which opened in 1988.

SETTING THE SCENE
COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Coming off five wins in five games at the UNLV Invitational last weekend in Las Vegas, the 19th-ranked Ohio State softball team plays its last of five-consecutive road tournaments this weekend at the Capital Classic in Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento State serves as host of the seven-team event, which has a predetermined schedule with no championship bracket. All games will be played on three fields at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
The Buckeyes are 16-4, which ties the program record for best record after 20 games. Friday, they will face Nevada (16-8) at 10 a.m. PT and Sacramento State (10-10) at 3 p.m. PT. Saturday, Ohio State will face California (20-9) at 10 a.m. PT and Northern Colorado (6-20) at 12:30 p.m. The weekend will conclude Sunday when the Buckeyes take on Colorado State (13-3) at 9 a.m. PT.
Following the Capital Classic, Ohio State is scheduled to play its next 16 games at home, beginning when Houston visits Buckeye Field next Wednesday for a 2 p.m. doubleheader.

BUCKEYES AT THE CAPITAL CLASSIC
Ohio State is making its third trip to the Capital Classic in Sacramento, Calif. The Buckeyes made previous trips to the Classic in 1996 and 1998. Ohio State is 7-6 all-time in the event.

FOLLOWING THE BUCKEYES
Live statistics will not be available for Ohio State’s five games this weekend in Sacramento. Following each game, check out OhioStateBuckeyes.com for game recaps and box scores.

BUCKEYES RANKED No. 19/21
This week in the national polls, Ohio State is ranked No. 19 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 21 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.

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 62-30 all-time when ranked.

BUCKEYES WIN BIG IN VEGAS
Ohio State is coming off a perfect 5-0 record at the UNLV Invitational in Las Vegas last weekend. The Buckeyes beat Oregon 7-0, UNLV 2-1, New Mexico State 3-1, Portland State 4-2 and UNLV again, 5-1.

UNLV was 13-3-1 at home this season before suffering two losses to Ohio State.

For the second-consecutive tournament, a freshman led the Buckeyes in batting as Dee Dee Hillman posted a team-high .419 average (5-for-12). In the circle, junior Kim Reeder went 3-0 with two saves and a 0.59 ERA in 23.2 innings.

Ohio State Leaders in Las Vegas:
Dee Dee Hillman: .417 (5-12), 4 R
Sam Marder: .375 (6-16), 2 HR, 6 RBI
Brittany Vanderink: .333 (5-15), 6 R, 4-4 SB
Kim Reeder: 3-0, 2 S, 0.59 ERA, 23.2 IP, 17 K

ROAD TRIPPIN’
The Buckeyes are playing in their fifth of five-consecutive early-season tournaments that will take 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 (March 14-16).

Ohio State is scheduled to take on Houston March 18 in its 2008 home opener. The Buckeyes are 42-4 at home the last two seasons.

Of note, the first two weeks of the season marked the first time Ohio State is playing in Florida twice in the same season.

OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE
Despite the fact the Buckeyes have only three field starters and one starting pitcher back from their 2007 Big Ten champion team, they are 16-4 overall, which ties the program record for the best 20-game start.

Ohio State is batting .302 overall, which leads the Big Ten, and opponents are batting only .212. The Buckeyes own 25 extra-base hits (opponents have 15) and are out-scoring their opponents 16-3 in the first inning and 43-7 in the first three innings combined.

OSU pitchers own a 1.33 staff ERA and have struck out 106 batters in 136.2 innings.

Ohio State got off to a 6-0 start, which is most likely the best start in program history (four seasons are missing from the 1970s). The Buckeyes take another six-game winning streak into the Capital Classic this weekend.

Leading the Buckeyes at the plate is a pair of 2007 first-team All-Big Ten selections, including sophomore Sam Marder (.475, 7 HR, 31 RBI) and senior Brittany Vanderink (.457, 24 R, 11-11 SB). In the circle are junior Kim Reeder (8-3, 0.89 ERA) and sophomores Lindsay Bodeker (4-1, 1.29 ERA) and Megan Miller (4-0, 2.50 ERA).

Ohio State has 11 letterwinners back from its 2007 squad that went 40-18 and 14-2 in the Big Ten, winning both the league’s regular-season and conference championships. Only three starters from that team are back in the OSU batting lineup this season, however, and Reeder is the lone starting pitcher back.

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, OPPONENTS CONNECTIONS…
Ohio State junior Kim Reeder is from Salinas, Calif., and freshman Nic Perales is from San Jose, which are both about a two-hour drive from Sacramento. This weekend will mark the closest to Reeder’s hometown the Buckeyes have played in her career at Ohio State.

At Notre Dame High School in Salinas, Reeder was a high school teammate of two Sacramento State Hornets – senior infielder Teri Ann Caoagan and senior shortstop Amy Tompkins. Reeder was a travel ball teammate of Nevada sophomore Kelsey Starr.

Perales was a travel ball teammate of three players on the Cal roster, including freshman utility player Valerie Arioto, sophomore pitcher Marissa Drewrey and freshman utility player Sanoe Kekahuna. OSU sophomore Sam Marder played on a U-23 travel ball team with Cal sophomore infielder Christina Schallig.

A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION
The Buckeyes begin the Capital Classic Friday against a Nevada team that is currently 16-8 this season. The Wolf Pack returns eight starters and 15 letterwinners from its 2007 team that went 28-31 overall. Freshman catcher Noelle Micka was named Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week earlier this week with a .425 average and 1.000 slugging percentage.

Friday night Ohio State will take on Sacramento State, which holds a 10-10 overall record this season.  The Hornets are returning eight starters including junior catcher Jamie Schloredt, who led the Hornets last season in batting average (.361), home runs (7), RBIs (31), total bases (85), slugging percentage (.590), on-base percentage (.432) and multiple-hit games.

California (20-9) is coming off a 8-4 victory vs. Sacramento State Tuesday. The Golden Bears have won 12 of their last 14 games dating back to Feb. 23. Sophomore outfielder Shannon Houston had her first career grand slam in the win over Sacramento. The Bears are returning 10 starters (includes two pitchers) and 12 letterwinners this season.

Northern Colorado is returning three starters and seven letterwinners. The Bears are currently 6-20 and are coming off four straight losses at Nebraska, but had won three of four prior to that. Sophomore right fielder Jessie Schoepflin leads the team in runs (12) and hits (30).

Colorado State is off to its best start in school history with a current record of 13-3. The Rams recorded a .311 batting average in its first 13 games with 23 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs. Sophomore Ashley Munoz is the current Mountain West Conference Player of the Week after batting .556 with two doubles and two home runs last weekend against Utah.

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 (390-254, .603) and is one of three Big Ten coaches with more than 650 career wins (663-369-2, .641).

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).

MARDER NAMED TO PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder, who leads the Buckeyes with a .475 average, seven homers and 31 RBI so far this season, was named to the Amateur Softball Association’s watch list for the Collegiate Player of the Year Jan. 31. Marder is one of only nine sophomores on the list. A list of 25 finalists will be announced by the ASA April 9.

Predominantly a catcher, Marder led the Buckeyes last season 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.

The list includes only five from the Big Ten, with three of those being sophomores. A native of Calabasas, Calif., Marder upped her average to .367 in Big Ten games last season to help lead Ohio State to a 14-2 league record and the conference championship. She was also named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team for her efforts in the Buckeyes’ three-game sweep of the league postseason tournament.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Senior captain Brittany Vanderink has hit safely in 18 of Ohio State’s 20 games this season and owns multiple hits in 10 of those games. A .457 hitter this season and .354 career hitter, she is 11-for-11 this season with the bases loaded and leads the team with a .606 average with runners on base, a .625 average with runners in scoring position and a .681 success rate advancing runners.

A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Vanderink is a career 57-for-60 base stealer and she ups her career batting average to .411 in Big Ten games.

SHORT HOPS…
The Buckeyes are 14-2 this season when they score first and 12-1 when leading after four innings.

Since being no-hit and shut out by Virginia Tech All-American Angela Tincher March 11, 2007 in Clearwater, Fla., the Buckeyes have scored at least one run in a program-record 56 consecutive games. That doubles the previous record of 28 consecutive games without being shut out was set in 2006.

Ohio State is batting .302 overall as a team, but the Buckeyes up that to .322 when runners are on base.

In the Buckeyes’ 16-4 win at Florida International Feb. 16, they broke the school record for runs on an opponent’s home field. The previous record was 14 runs at Wright State in a 14-2 win April 19, 2005. The 16-run outburst is six runs more than ever scored on a “southern” school, topping the 10 runs scored in an 11-10 loss at Loyola Marymount March 24, 2005.

The 2007 Buckeyes tied the school record for walks in a season (176) and set the school record for walks per game in a season (3.03).

NEW FACES IN THE OSU LINEUP
Senior Brittany Vanderink and sophomore Sam Marder have started all 20 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.

The 2008 Ohio State roster includes 13 freshman and sophomores. There are three juniors and two seniors.

THE BUCKEYES AT NIGHT
Ohio State is 4-0 at night this season, with three of those wins coming on the home their of their opponent. Sophomore Sam Marder leads the offense in night games with a .643 average (9-14), two home runs and nine RBI, while senior Brittany Vanderink is batting .538 (7-13). Junior Kim Reeder and sophomore Megan Miller are both 2-0 with an ERA under 1.90 at night this season.

The Buckeyes went 9-3 in night games last season, including 4-0 at home, 1-1 on the road (at UAB, Kim Reeder no-hitter, loss at Akron) and 4-2 at neutral sites. Three of the night wins at home were in the postseason, including wins over Penn State and Purdue in the Big Ten tournament and Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA Regionals. The other home night win was April 18 when Jamee Juarez perfect game against IUPUI. Marder batted .423 (11-26) with two homers and 13 RBI in those 12 night games to rank second on the team to Courtney Pruner. In the circle, junior Kim Reeder was 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA.

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.

A TOP PROGRAM ADDS MORE
Since 2000, the Buckeyes have won 317 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.

MARDER, REEDER EARN BIG TEN’S FIRST WEEKLY AWARDS
The Buckeyes swept the Big Ten’s first weekly awards Tuesday 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 last weekend, Reeder went 2-0 with a 0.56 earned run average and Marder batted .462 with a home run and eight runs batted in.

### OhioStateBuckeyes.com ###

 

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