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Ohio State (27-20) wraps up eight-game home stand against Cardinals (30-24); Buckeyes on the road at Wisconsin and Minnesota this weekend

Ohio State vs. Ball State
Doubleheader
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Buckeye Field – Columbus, Ohio

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State is 11-6 all-time against Ball State, including 1-1 at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes last played the Cardinals in the 2005 Buckeye Invitational, which Ohio State won, 10-2.

IF YOU’RE SCORING AT HOME
Live Audio: www.OhioStateSports.net
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 (45) and slugging pct. (.842), ranks second in on base percentage (.614) and batting average (.467), third in home runs (13) and fourth in RBI (47).
3. Senior Brittany Vanderink ranks second in the Big Ten lead in hits (59), tied for third in runs (37) and tied for third in stolen bases (15).
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 –
An eight-game home stand comes to an end Wednesday when the Ohio State softball team hosts Ball State at 5 p.m. in a doubleheader at Buckeye Field.

Last weekend, the Buckeyes played their final home Big Ten games of the season and, at 5-11 in the league, will need to have a good showing at Wisconsin and Minnesota this coming weekend to be one of the eight teams that will qualify for the Big Ten tournament May 8-10.

Ohio State is 27-20 overall, but just 6-12 at home. Ball State is 30-24 overall and 7-6 in true road games.

Following the Ball State twin bill Wednesday and games at Wisconsin (6 p.m. CT Friday on Big Ten Network/noon CT Saturday) and Minnesota (noon CT Sunday, doubleheader), the Buckeyes host Ohio University at 5 p.m. next Wednesday in their final games of the regular season. The Big Ten schedule wraps up that weekend (May 3-4), but with it being Ohio State’s turn in the conference rotation to not have a travel partner, the Buckeyes will not play. Instead, if they have not already clinched a spot in the Big Ten tournament, the Buckeyes will be score checking to see if their season will end in April for the first time in the history of the program. 

LISTEN TO THE BUCKEYES ONLINE
Log on to www.OhioStateSports.net to listen live to the doubleheader between Ohio State and Ball State Wednesday at Buckeye Field. Josh Ellis and Gabe Norris will have the call.

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

THE BUCKEYES AT HOME
Ohio State’s 6-12 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. The Buckeyes then split a doubleheader with Kentucky last Wednesday.

Ohio State statistical leaders at home this season:

Sam Marder:   .487 (19-39), 4 HR, 11 R, 10 RBI
Dee Dee Hillman:   .280 (14-50), 8 R
Kim Reeder:   3-8, 3.85 ERA, 69 K, 76.2 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 .467 average overall (second in Big Ten), six doubles, 13 home runs (third in Big Ten), 47 RBI (fourth in Big Ten), 45 walks (leads Big Ten), an .842 slugging percentage (leads Big Ten) and a .614 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 18 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.

As of Monday, Marder’s 18 caught-stealing total is the highest in the Big Ten, ahead of the 15 by Illinois’ Lana Armstrong.

Marder has allowed 22 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. Iowa’s Emily Nichols (20 allowed in 32 att.) and Indiana’s Tory Yamaguchi (24 allowed in 38 att.) are tied for second 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 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 6-14 to see their record now stand at 27-20 overall. Their 5-11 Big Ten record has them in ninth place.
Ohio State is batting .267 overall (sixth in Big Ten) and opponents are batting .257. OSU pitchers own a 2.88 staff ERA (sixth in Big Ten) and have struck out 265 batters in 320.2 innings.

Leading the Buckeyes at the plate is a pair of 2007 first-team All-Big Ten selections, including sophomore Sam Marder (.467, 13 HR, 47 RBI) and senior Brittany Vanderink (.360, 37 R, 15-17 SB). In the circle are junior Kim Reeder (14-14, 2.37 ERA) and sophomores Lindsay Bodeker (6-2, 1.23 ERA) and Megan Miller (7-4, 3.76).

The Buckeyes are 21-3 this season when leading or tied after four innings. Ohio State is 19-6 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
Two Ball State Cardinals are from Ohio, including senior first-baseman Amanda Pick (Cincinnati/McAuley) and freshman utility player Jen Moore (Canton/Jackson). Three Buckeyes are from the Cincinnati area (Lakota West graduates Leah Ledford, Lindsay Bodeker and Rachael Shepherd) and one Buckeye is from Akron (Ellet graduate Courtney Pruner).

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Ball State enters its non-conference clash against Ohio State with a 3-1 record against Big Ten teams this season, including three-straight wins over Indiana (2) and Purdue. The Cardinals are led offensively by Alicia Barkley, who is tops on the team in average (.298) and hits (53). Though Ball State is hitting .250 as a team, it has four players with 20 or more stolen bases. In the circle, Tiffany Garofano (11-11, 2.13 ERA) and Elizabeth Milian (14-10, 2.35 ERA) rank No. 1 and 2 for the Cardinals.

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 owns 125 career runs and 207 career hits. On the runs list, she now ranks fifth (one past Schwab), and on the hits list she is tied for seventh (with Schwab).

Vanderink is a .344 career hitter (sixth all-time) and is a career 61-for-66 base stealer (fourth all-time). She currently ranks second in the Big Ten in hits this season with 59 and is tied for third in both runs (37) and stolen bases (15).

OHIO STATE AT BUCKEYE FIELD
Ohio State is 321-135 (.709) all-time at Buckeye Field since the facility opened in 1988. That mark includes a 127-106 (.550) record in Big Ten games and a 184-29 (.876) record in non-league games.

Now 6-12 at home this season, Ohio State is 48-16 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.

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 (401-270, .606) and is one of three Big Ten coaches with more than 650 career wins (672-383-2, .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 IN THE BIG TEN (AS OF 4/21)
In Big Ten statistics as of Monday, Ohio State ranked sixth in batting average (.267) and pitching (2.88 ERA) and 11th in fielding (.943).

Sophomore Sam Marder led the league in slugging percentage (.842) and walks (45), ranked second in average (.467) and on base percentage (.614) and ranked fourth in RBI (47).

Senior Brittany Vanderink ranked second in hits (59) and tied for third in both runs (37) and stolen bases (15). Junior Kim Reeder ranked fourth in innings pitched (188.2), seventh in strikeouts (171), eighth in wins (14) and ninth in ERA (2.37).

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Sophomore Sam Marder has been walked this season 45 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 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.

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), sixth in runs scored (125) and seventh in hits (207). 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 (47), fourth in strikeouts (462) and seventh in innings pitched (531.0).

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.

THE BUCKEYES AT NIGHT
Ohio State is 6-5 at night this season (4-0 on the road, 2-5 at home). Sophomore Sam Marder leads the offense in night games with a .517 average (15-29), four home runs and 12 RBI, while senior Brittany Vanderink is batting .429 (15-35). Junior Kim Reeder is 3-3 at night this season with a 3.00 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.

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.

### OhioStateBuckeyes.com ###

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