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No. 24 Ohio State vs. Marshall
March 31, 2008 Doubleheader
Buckeye Field Columbus, Ohio

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State is 5-0 all-time against Marshall. Their last meeting was in the 2005 Buckeye Invitational, which the Buckeyes won 14-7.

IF YOU’RE SCORING AT HOME
Live Audio: www.OhioStateSports.net
Live Stats: www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
For More Information: Game notes, recaps, box scores and photos available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

FIVE WARM-UP PITCHES
1. Ohio State is 5-0 all-time against Marshall and 109-12 in non-conference games at Buckeye Field under Linda Kalafatis.
2. The Buckeyes’ 23-8 record is the program’s second-best record after 31 games (26-5 in 2002). 
3. Ohio State checked in a No. 23 in the first national RPI rankings last week.
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 or 9 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 –
In the first of four midweek nonconference doubleheaders scheduled in April for the Ohio State softball team, the 24th-ranked Buckeyes host Marshall at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Ohio State is 23-8 overall and is coming off a 2-2 weekend at home in Big Ten play, splitting two games each with Iowa and Illinois.

After starting the season 8-6, Marshall has dropped seven in a row and 13 of its last 15 to see its record slip to 12-23 overall. The Thundering Herd is 4-7 in Conference USA action.

Ohio State is now 4-2 at Buckeye Field this season, which represent its last six games to begin a 14-game home stand. After hosting Marshall Wednesday, the Buckeyes welcome Michigan State and 16th-ranked Northwestern this weekend.

LISTEN TO THE BUCKEYES ONLINE
Log on to www.OhioStateSports.net to listen to the Ohio State student radio station’s broadcast of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against Marshall live from Buckeye Field. Josh Ellis will have the call.

In addition, live statistics for both games will be available at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

IN MEMORY OF MARSHA PRUNER
The Buckeyes will wear “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.

OHIO STATE AT BUCKEYE FIELD
Ohio State is 109-12 (.901) in nonconference games at Buckeye Field since 12th-year head coach Linda Kalafatis took over the program in 1997. The Buckeyes have won 32-consecutive regular-season nonconference home games in a streak that dates back to April 21, 2004 when Kentucky nipped Ohio State, 4-3.

Ohio State is 319-125 (.721) all-time at Buckeye Field since the facility opened in 1988. That mark includes a 126-99 (.561) record in Big Ten games and a 183-26 (.876) record in non-league games.

Now 4-2 at home this season, Ohio State is 46-6 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.

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

A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEKEND
Ohio State opened Big Ten play at home last weekend against Iowa and Illinois. The Buckeyes won their opener, 4-3, Friday over the Hawkeyes on a game-tying home run by Sam Marder and a walk-off single by Liz Caputo. Iowa rebounded with a 1-0 win Saturday, marking the first time since May 1, 2005, against Purdue that Ohio State had been shut out at home.

In a doubleheader against Illinois Sunday, the Buckeyes dropped the first game, 4-3, but came back to win a wild nightcap, 11-10. The second game marked the highest scoring Big Ten game in the history of Buckeye Field.

LAST SEVEN HAVE BEEN NAIL-BITERS
Ohio State’s last seven games have all been decided by one run. The Buckeyes are 5-2 in those last seven games and 9-3 in one-run games overall this season.

MORE ON THE 11-10 WIN OVER ILLINI
The 21 runs scored in the 11-10 win over Illinois Sunday are the most combined runs scored in a Big Ten game at Buckeye Field, which opened in 1988. The previous record was 18 runs in a 16-2 loss to Purdue in 1999.

The game also marked the first time Ohio State allowed 10 runs in a home game but still won. Previously, the most runs allowed in a home win was eight in a 13-8 win over Toledo April 11, 2006. Overall, the last time Ohio State gave up 10 runs but still won was March 5, 2005 against Boston University at the Buzz Classic in Georgia, a 13-10 win.

The 11 runs scored by Ohio State are its most in a Big Ten game since a 13-4 win over Michigan State April 23, 2006. The 10 runs allowed by Ohio State in the game are the most in a Big Ten game since a 10-2 loss at Northwestern April 5, 2003.

All 10 Illini runs came on four home runs in the nearly three-hour affair, but Illinois committed six errors and walked 11 OSU batters. The Buckeyes capitalized on those walks five of the OSU batters who walked scored and four drew walks with the bases loaded to force home a run.

3-FOR-4 IN 16 PLATE APPEARANCES?
In four Big Ten games last weekend, Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder came to the plate 16 times but went 3-for-4 officially. She was intentionally walked seven times and 10 times altogether, was hit by a pitch and had a sacrifice fly to account for her 16 plate appearances.

Iowa intentionally walked Marder six times and she hit a game-tying home run the only time the Hawkeyes threw to her. Marder’s blast tied the game Friday, 3-3, in the bottom of the seventh and the Buckeyes won it on a walk-off single five batters later. In the second game of a doubleheader against Illinois Sunday, Marder delivered the game-winning RBI in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly in an 11-10 win. In nine plate appearances against the Illini, Marder was walked three times and went 2-for-3 officially.

BUCKEYES RANKED FOR EIGHTH WEEK
For a program-record tying eight-consecutive week, the Buckeyes are ranked in the nation’s Top 25. Ohio State also was ranked in the Top 25 for eight-straight weeks in 2003.

Ohio State is ranked No. 24 in the nation this week in the USA Today/NFCA poll coaches poll and No. 28 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Last week, Ohio State was ranked No. 22 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 27 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 69-34 all-time when ranked, including 25-5 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.

MARDER LEADS NATION IN RBI
In the first national statistics report March 23, Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder led the nation in runs batted in with 40. She now owns 42, which is already tied for fourth in a single-season at Ohio State and are 24 shy of the record.

In that report, Marder, who is on the USA Softball Preseason Player of the Year Watch List, ranked third in the nation in batting average (.482), eighth in slugging percentage (.867), 10th in on base percentage (.549) and she is tied for 15th in home runs (9).

In the same national report, senior Brittany Vanderink ranked 31st in batting average (.423) and junior Kim Reeder ranked 27th in earned run average (0.98).

Log on to www.NCAAsports.com for the complete report.

23-8 IS SECOND-BEST START
Ohio State’s 23-8 record is the second-best 31-game start in program history. The 2002 Buckeyes were 26-5 after 31 games and went on post a 55-14 overall record.

A GLANCE AT THE GUESTS
Marshall dropped three games at home to Central Florida in a Conference USA series last weekend and is 12-23 overall. The three game series last weekend split up a stretch of 12 of 15 games on the road for the Thundering Herd.

The Herd finished the 2007 campaign with a 32-26 record and returns 14 letterwinners, who are led by three-time All-American Rachel Folden and junior Rachael Sofie. Folden, the team’s top hitter last season with a .408 average and 14 home runs, is once again leading the Herd with a .413 average and 18 doubles. Sofie is currently hitting .364 with 13 RBIs. Junior Autumn Mitchell leads Marshall in the circle with a 5-3 record and a 3.14 ERA. She has struck out 51 batters in 51.1 innings pitched.

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 23-8 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.

Ohio State is batting .291 overall and opponents are batting .228. OSU pitchers own a 1.94 staff ERA and have struck out 169 batters in 212.2 innings. 

Leading the Buckeyes at the plate is a pair of 2007 first-team All-Big Ten selections, including sophomore Sam Marder (.494, 10 HR, 42 RBI) and senior Brittany Vanderink (.393, 32 R, 13-14 SB). In the circle are junior Kim Reeder (12-5, 1.23 ERA) and sophomores Lindsay Bodeker (6-2, 1.24 ERA) and Megan Miller (5-1, 3.92 ERA).

The Buckeyes are out-scoring their opponents 23-10 in the first inning and 65-30 in the first three innings combined. The Buckeyes are 19-2 this season when leading or tied after four innings. Ohio State is 17-4 when scoring first.

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).

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.

OSU, OPPONENTS CONNECTIONS…
Despite its close proximity to Ohio, only one Marshall player hails from the Buckeye State. Rachel Schmidt, a junior first baseman for the Herd, played at Marlington High School in Alliance, Ohio.

STANTON COACHING A BUCKEYE
Marshall head coach Shonda Stanton is also the field manager for the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch League. Former Buckeye Jamee Juarez (2004-07) played for the Racers last summer under the direction of Stanton and the duo helped lead Akron to a 26-17 record.

Juarez set five career pitching records in her four years with the Buckeyes, including wins (76), strikeouts (747), shutouts (27), innings pitched (746.1) and appearances (147).  She also set the single season record for strikeouts (240) and saves (5).

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 (397-258, .606) and is one of three Big Ten coaches with more than 650 career wins (670-373-2, .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).

MARDER NAMED TO WATCH LIST
Ohio State sophomore Sam Marder 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. The list includes only five from the Big Ten, with three of those being sophomores.

Predominantly a catcher, Marder leads the Buckeyes with a .494 average, five doubles, 10 home runs, 42 runs batted in, 25 walks, a .897 slugging percentage and a .593 on base percentage. Her RBI total leads the nation.

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.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Senior captain Brittany Vanderink has hit safely in 26 of Ohio State’s 31 games this season and owns multiple hits in 14 of those games. A .393 hitter this season and .349 career hitter, she is 13-for-14 this season in stolen bases and leads the team with a .519 average with runners on base and a .525 average with runners in scoring position.

A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Vanderink is a career 59-for-63 base stealer and she ups her career batting average to .3891 in Big Ten games.

IN THE CAREER RECORD BOOK
Senior Brittany Vanderink ranks fourth all-time at Ohio State in stolen bases (59), fourth in career batting average (.349), tied for fourth in triples (11) and sixth in runs scored (118). On the OSU career home run list, sophomore Sam Marder is tied for third with 20 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 (45), fourth in strikeouts (385) and eighth in innings pitched (461.0).

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 31 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 BUCKEYES AT NIGHT
Ohio State is 5-0 at night this season, with four of those wins coming on the home of their opponent. Sophomore Sam Marder leads the offense in night games with a .667 average (10-15), three home runs and 10 RBI, while senior Brittany Vanderink is batting .529 (9-17). Junior Kim Reeder and sophomore Megan Miller are both 2-0 with an ERA under 1.86 at night this season.

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.

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.

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).

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