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Buckeyes are 31-22 overall and will be score checking this weekend to see if they will qualify for Big Ten tournament May 8-10

Ohio State vs. Ohio University
April 30, 2008 Doubleheader, 5 p.m.
Buckeye Field

ALL-TIME SERIES
Ohio State is 35-20 all-time against Quenjana Adams’ Ohio Bobcats, including 11-4 at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes last played the Bobcats in Athens during the 2003 season, winning both games of the doubleheader, 6-1 and 9-1. Ohio State has won the last five meetings dating back to 1998.

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

FIVE WARM-UP PITCHES
1. To make the Big Ten tournament next weekend, the Buckeyes must see Michigan sweep Penn State and Purdue sweep Indiana this weekend. Ohio State is off this weekend.
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 (school record 57) and on base percentage (.630), ranks second in slugging percentage (.826) and average (.470), third in home runs (13) and fourth in RBI (52).
3. Senior Brittany Vanderink leads the Big Ten lead in hits (67), ranks sixth 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 –
The regular season comes to an end Wednesday for the Ohio State softball team as the Buckeyes host Ohio University in a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.

Now 31-22 overall, Ohio State wrapped up Big Ten play last weekend, going 2-2 on the road at Wisconsin and Minnesota to finish league play with a 7-13 mark. That puts the Buckeyes in ninth place, meaning they will need some help this weekend from a couple Big Ten teams as league play ends to be among the eight-team conference tournament field next week (see later note).

The Bobcats are 22-21 overall and 7-11 in the Mid-American Conference. OU is 6-11 on the road, while Ohio State is 8-12 at home.

LISTEN TO THE BUCKEYES ONLINE
Log on to www.OhioStateSports.net to listen to both games of the doubleheader against Ohio University Wednesday night. Josh Ellis and Gabe Norris will have the call and will stay on the air live between games with a special program. In addition, fans can follow live stats of both games at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

LAST HURRAH FOR CAPUTO, VANDERINK AT BUCKEYE FIELD
Seniors Liz Caputo and Brittany Vanderink will play the final home games of their career Wednesday. Both have had great success at Buckeye Field, as Caputo owns a .336 (47-140) career average at home and Vanderink is right behind at .335 (80-239).

The doubleheader Wednesday will also mark the final games at current Buckeye Field, which will be torn down in June as a $5.9 million renovation project gets underway (see later note and page 12 in the complete PDF release).

THE BIG TEN PICTURE
After winning the Big Ten and hosting the conference tournament last season, the Buckeyes need a couple things to happen this weekend to qualify for the Big Ten tournament next week. First, Michigan (16-2 Big Ten) needs to sweep Penn State (6-10 Big Ten) in University Park, Pa., and second, Purdue (7-9 Big Ten) must sweep Indiana (6-12 Big Ten) in a split-city series.

This season marked Ohio State’s turn in the Big Ten scheduling rotation to be without a travel partner. The last weekend of the Big Ten season is when the travel partners play each other, explaining why the Buckeyes do not play this weekend.

THE BUCKEYES AT HOME
Ohio State has won three in a row at home but is only 8-12 at Buckeye Field overall. Ohio State was 21-2 at home in both 2007 and 2006 and had won 25 regular seasons home games in a row 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.

Ohio State statistical leaders at home this season:

Sam Marder   .488 (21-43), 4 HR, 11 R, 12 RBI
Brittany Vanderink   .265 (18-68), 9 R, 4-5 SB
Dee Dee Hillman   .259 (14-54), 8 R
Kim Reeder   4-8, 3.53 ERA, 78 K, 83.1 IP

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
In traveling to Ohio State Wednesday, the Bobcats’ final road trip will mark its first action against a Big Ten opponent this season. However, OU and the Buckeyes share a 3-3 record against common opponents. Both teams swept Ball State in doubleheaders, but the Bobcats dropped two games to Eastern Michigan and split with Marshall. The Buckeyes defeated the Eagles, but were swept by Marshall in a doubleheader.

Ohio returns 14 players from last year’s 27-31 squad and are led offensively by freshman Melissa Bonner (.349 avg., 22 RBI) and sophomore Shalene Petrich (.341 avg., 22 runs). In the circle, the Bobcats have two 10-plus game winners in senior Michelle Sauter (11-9, 2.22 ERA) and freshman Emily Wethington (10-9, 2.59 ERA).

FIVE YEARS IN A ROW WITH 30 WINS
The Buckeyes’ win at Wisconsin last Saturday was their 30th of the season, marking the fifth-consecutive year Ohio State notched at least 30 wins. That is the longest 30-win streak in school history. The Buckeyes have won at least 30 games eight times under 12th-year head coach Linda Kalafatis.

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 is among the Big Ten and national leaders with a .470 average overall (second in Big Ten), eight doubles, 13 home runs (third in Big Ten), 52 RBI (fourth in Big Ten), 57 walks (leads Big Ten), an .826 slugging percentage (second in Big Ten) and a .630 on base percentage (leads 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 20 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 20 caught-stealing total were the highest in the Big Ten, ahead of the 14 by Indiana’s Tory Yamaguchi.

Marder had allowed 23 steals this season, meaning opponents are successful a little better than 50-percent of the time (54%). That success rate is the lowest against Big Ten catchers who have had at least 20 attempts against them. As of Monday, Illinois catcher Lana Armstrong had the second-lowest stolen base success rate at 62-percent (16 SB, 26 att.).

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 9-16 to see their record now stand at 31-22 overall. Their 7-13 Big Ten record has them in ninth place.

Ohio State is batting .262 overall (sixth in Big Ten) and opponents are batting .253. OSU pitchers own a 2.75 staff ERA (fifth in Big Ten) and have struck out 293 batters in 361.0 innings. The Buckeyes rank 11th in the Big Ten in fielding (.944).

Leading the Buckeyes at the plate is a pair of 2007 first-team All-Big Ten selections, including sophomore Sam Marder (.470, 13 HR, 52 RBI, school-record 57 walks) and senior Brittany Vanderink (.362, 38 R, 16-18 SB). In the circle are junior Kim Reeder (17-15, 2.35 ERA) and sophomores Megan Miller (8-5, 3.31) and Lindsay Bodeker (6-2, 1.23 ERA).

The Buckeyes are 23-4 this season when leading or tied after four innings. Ohio State is 21-8 when scoring first and 22-3 when outhitting its opponent.

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).

VANDERINK MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Ohio State senior Brittany Vanderink continues to move up the OSU career hits and runs scored lists. She now owns 126 career runs and 215 career hits. On the runs list, she ranks fifth (three away from fourth) and on the hits list she is tied for fifth (with Krinon Clark, 1991-94).

Vanderink is a .345 career hitter (sixth all-time) and is a career 62-for-67 base stealer (fourth all-time). As of Monday she led the Big Ten in hits with 67, ranked third in runs (38) and was 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 (405-272, .599) and is one of three Big Ten coaches with more than 650 career wins (676-385-2, .637).

Eight 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 4/28)
In Big Ten statistics as of Monday, Ohio State ranked sixth in batting average (.262), fifth in pitching (2.75 ERA) and 11th in fielding (.944).

Sophomore Sam Marder leads the league in walks (57) and on base percentage (.630), ranked second in average (.470), ranked third in home runs (13) and slugging percentage (.826) and fourth in RBI (52).

Senior Brittany Vanderink ranked first in hits (67), sixth in runs (38) and tied for third in stolen bases (16). Junior Kim Reeder ranked fourth in innings pitched (211.2), sixth in strikeouts (191), seventh in wins (17) and ninth in ERA (2.29).

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Sophomore Sam Marder has been walked a school record 57 times this season, including 37 times in Big Ten games in 77 plate appearances. In league games, Marder is 16-35 (.457) officially with four home runs and a .740 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
Wisconsin           8      2    3-6, 2B, RBI
Minnesota           9      7    1-2, 2 RBI (GW)

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.

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 last Monday (4/21), 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 fifth in hits (215). 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 (50) and strikeouts (482) and sixth in innings pitched (554.0).

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.

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.

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.

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).

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