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No. 20 Ohio State at the UNLV Invitational
March 7-9, 2008
Eller Media Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.

SCHEDULE (ALL-TIME SERIES)
Friday
   3:45 p.m. PT vs. Oregon (OSU leads 5-2)
   8:15 p.m. PT at UNLV (UNLV leads 2-0)
Saturday
   3:45 p.m. PT vs. New Mexico St. (tied 3-3)
   8:15 p.m. PT vs. Portland St. (OSU leads 3-0)
Sunday
   11 a.m. PT -at UNLV

OHIO STATE TRAVEL PLANS
The Buckeyes will fly Southwest Airlines from Columbus at 5:40 p.m. ET Thursday to Las Vegas, landing at 7:15 p.m. PT. The team will stay at the Embassy Suites Convention Center and return Sunday with a 6:05 p.m. PT departure (Southwest) and a scheduled 12:55 a.m. ET (Monday) arrival in Columbus.

IF YOU GO
All games of the UNLV Invitational will be played at Eller Media Stadium, which has a chair-back capacity of 770. For more information log on to UNLVRebels.com.

IF YOU’RE SCORING AT HOME
Live Stats: OhioStateBuckeyes.com  and UNLVRebels.com
For More Information: Game notes, recaps, box scores, etc., available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

FIVE WARM-UP PITCHES
1. The Buckeyes collected 46 hits in Palm Springs two weeks ago, marking their highest hit total in four trips to the Classic. 
2. Ohio State is 11-4 overall and ranked No. 20 in the NFCA USA Today poll and No. 22 in the USA Softball ESPN.com poll. 
3. In Ohio State’s starting batting order, only two returning starters have started every game this season (Sam Marder and Brittany Vanderink).
 4. Both times the Buckeyes have gone to Las Vegas the trip came during the season following a Big Ten championship (1991, 2008).
5. In June, a $5.9 million renovation project will begin at Buckeye Field, which opened in 1988.

SETTING THE SCENE
COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Following its only scheduled off weekend until early May, the 20th-ranked Ohio State softball team travels to Las Vegas this weekend for five games at the UNLV Invitational.

Eller Media Stadium, which has been the site of 16 of UNLV’s 23 games so far this season, will serve as the home field for the event.

Friday, the Buckeyes (11-4) will take on Oregon (12-8) at 3:45 p.m. PT and UNLV (13-8-1) at 8:15 p.m. PT. Saturday, Ohio State will face Portland State (7-13) at 3:45 p.m. PT and New Mexico State (9-12) at 8:15 p.m. PT. The Buckeyes will wrap up the tournament at 11 a.m. PT Sunday in a rematch with UNLV.

Ohio State is coming off a 3-2 record at the Palm Springs Classic Feb. 22-24 that included wins over No. 26 Fresno State and No. 23 Cal State Fullerton. The Buckeyes are 3-1 on opponent’s home fields so far this season and 8-3 at neutral sites.

Following the Capital Classic in Sacramento, Calif., next weekend, Ohio State will kick off a 16-game home stand against Houston March 18.

IT’S VEGAS, BABY
Ohio State is making its second trip to Las Vegas and first since 1991. Both times the Buckeyes have played in Vegas it followed a Big Ten championship season. In 2008, however, Ohio State will be seeking a better performance in Vegas than in 1991 when the Buckeyes went 0-5.

FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES ONLINE
Live statistics of Ohio State’s five games this weekend will be available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com. In addition, check out OhioStateBuckeyes.com for tournament previews, recaps, box scores, photo galleries and much more.

BUCKEYES RANKED No. 20/22
This week in the national polls, Ohio State is ranked No. 20 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 22 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 57-30 all-time when ranked.

LEADERS IN PALM SPRINGS
In the Buckeyes’ last tournament, freshman Brittany Goodchild led Ohio State with a .529 batting average (9-17) in Palm Springs, marking the first time a Buckeye batted over .500 in the four years Ohio State has been going to the Classic. Junior Kim Reeder had the decision in four of the Buckeyes’ five games, going 2-2 with a 1.33 ERA.

Brittany Goodchild –  .529 (9-17), 7 R, 2 RBI
Brittany Vanderink –  .400 (8-20), 5 R, 2 RBI
Sam Marder –  .389 (7-18), HR, 6 RBI
Kim Reeder –  2-2, 1.33 ERA, 21.0 IP, 12 K
Lindsay Bodeker –  1-0, 1.24 ERA, 11.1 IP, 4 K

ROAD TRIPPIN’
The Buckeyes are playing in their fourth 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 (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.

MORE NOTES FROM PALM SPRINGS
Ohio State cranked out 46 hits in five games at the Palm Springs Classic, which are the most in the four years the Buckeyes have participated in the Classic. The previous team-high hit total in Palm Springs was 39 last year. The Buckeyes had 30 hits in 2005 and 23 in 2006.

The Buckeyes had 15 hits in each of their last two games in Palm Springs (vs. Oregon State and Fordham). Previously, Ohio State had never posted more than 12 hits in a game in Palm Springs. It marked the first that the Buckeyes collected 15 or more hits in back-to-back games since 2005 when they had 15 hits in the second game of a doubleheader against Illinois April 17 and 16 hits in their next game at Wright State April 19. Among available records, it marked the first time Ohio State had ever notched back-to-back 15-hit games with neither of them being a home game.

Of note, all 30 of those hits vs. Oregon State and Fordham were singles.

OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE
The defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes are batting .320 overall with 22 extra-base hits compared to a .219 average and 11 extra-base hits for their opponents. Ohio State pitchers own a 1.45 staff earned run average and have thrown nine complete games in 15 outings.

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).

Leading the Buckeyes at the plate is a pair of 2007 first-team All-Big Ten selections, including sophomore Sam Marder (.511, 5 HR, 25 RBI) and senior Brittany Vanderink (.491, 18 R, 7-7 SB). In the circle are junior Kim Reeder (5-3, 1.04 ERA) and sophomores Lindsay Bodeker (4-1, 1.29 ERA) and Megan Miller (2-0, 2.94 ERA).

On paper, Ohio State has 11 letterwinners and six starters 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 four of those regulars were in the batting lineup last year, however, and only two of them are in the lineup regularly this season.

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 freshman Karisa Medrano is from Albuquerque, N.M., which is about 200 miles north of the New Mexico State campus in Las Cruces. Medrano played travel ball with NMSU sophomore Angie Ortega. OSU junior Kim Reeder played travel ball with UNLV junior Brittany Meade.

Ohio State assistant coach Ali Viola was a college teammate at Nebraska with Portland State assistant Tobin-Echo Hawk.

A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION
The Buckeyes begin the UNLV Invitational Friday against an Oregon team that went 44-19 last year and 2-2 at NCAA regionals. Seven starters are back but shortstop Jenn Stalling, who batted .481 with 14 homers and 73 RBI last season, is redshirting to compete with the Canadien Olympic team. After a 3-5 start, the Ducks have won six of seven games and are 12-8 overall.

Friday night and Sunday morning Ohio State will take on host UNLV, which is already 12-3-1 at home this season. The Rebels have seven field starters and two pitchers back from their 2007 team that went 37-27 and finished second in the Mountain West Conference. Sophomore Jaci Hull leads UNLV with a .444 average and eight homers.

Portland State (7-13) is coming off a 4-2 at No. 25 Washington Sunday in Seattle to snap a four-game skid. Five field starters are back for the Vikings (23-24 in 2007) along with both pitchers, who are led by senior Mandy Hill (5-7, 3.28 ERA).

New Mexico State went 31-27 last year and 15 Aggies are back in 2008, including senior Stephanie Herrera, who leads the squad with a .574 average so far this season. All but two of her 35 hits this season have been singles and she is 12-for-14 in the stolen base department. Junior Kim Watson is 7-7 in the circle with a 2.53 ERA.

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 (385-254, .603) and is one of three Big Ten coaches with more than 650 career wins (658-369-2, .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 .511 average, five homers and 25 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 14 of Ohio State’s 15 games this season and owns multiple hits in nine of those games. A .491 hitter this season and .355 career hitter, she is 5-for-5 this season with the bases loaded and leads the team with a .630 average with runners on base, a .650 average with runners in scoring position and a .724 success rate advancing runners.

A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Vanderink is a career 53-for-56 base stealer and she ups her career batting average to .411 in Big Ten games.

SHORT HOPS…
The Buckeyes are 10-2 this season when they score first and 9-1 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 51 consecutive games. The previous record of 28 consecutive games without being shut out was set in 2006.

Ohio State is batting .320 overall as a team, but the Buckeyes up that to .337 when runners are on base. Ohio State has driven in 32 of its 74 runs (43 percent) with two outs.

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
In five of the last eight games the Ohio State starting lineup has included only two regulars from its 2007 Big Ten championship team. Senior Brittany Vanderink and sophomore Sam Marder have started all 15 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 2-0 at night this season and 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.

Sophomore Sam 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 312 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.

IN THE CAREER RECORD BOOK
Brittany Vanderink ranks fifth all-time at Ohio State in stolen bases (53), tied for sixth in career batting average (.355) and fourth in triples (10). On the OSU career home run list, sophomore Sam Marder is tied for fifth with 15 and junior Courtney Pruner, who will miss her junior season is tied for seventh with 14.

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.

### OhioStateBuckeyes.com ###

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