May 6, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Winners of eight of their last nine games, the Ohio State softball team begins postseason play on Thursday in the opening round of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. Seeded seventh, the Buckeyes will take on 10th-seeded Penn State at Northwestern’s Sharon J. Drysdale Field on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. (CST). If Ohio State advances, it will face second-seeded Nebraska on Friday, also at 1:30 p.m.

Ohio State finished the regular season 28-24 overall and 13-10 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes won eight of their final nine games, including a doubleheader victory over Penn State, a three-game sweep of Northwestern and two of three last weekend at Iowa.

At the plate, senior Evelyn Carrillo leads the way with a .380 average, 34 RBI, 20 runs scored and a .552 slugging percentage. In Big Ten play, she hit .458 with 17 RBI, five home runs and a .708 slugging percentage. Cammi Prantl (.325, 14 2B, 33 runs, 31 RBI), Taylor Watkins (.361, 37 runs, 28 RBI) and Caitlin Conrad (.325, 35 RBI, 37 runs, .584 slugging percentage) also provide all-around offensive production. In Big Ten play, Carrillo, Prantl, Watkins and senior Leesa Gresham (.423 in 15 games) all hit over .400.

In the circle, Ohio State is led by Olivia O’Reilly (15-8, 3.01 ERA, 87 Ks) and Shelby Hursh (5-8, 4.39 ERA, Big Ten-leading seven saves). Last week, O’Reilly won three games while Hursh picked up two saves.

Penn State finished 5-18 in Big Ten play and tied with 11th place. It received the 10th seed based on winning two of three games during the regular season against Indiana. Earlier this year, Ohio State took both games of a doubleheader against the Nittany Lions, winning by scores of 3-1 and 3-0, respectively.

Lexi Knief leads the way for Penn State with a .382 average, seven doubles and 12 RBI. Teammate Kasie Hatfield has driven in a team-best 27 runs while also hitting .309. In the circle, Marlaina Laubach is 9-17 with a 3.55 ERA.

Ohio State holds a 9-8 record all-time in the Big Ten Tournament. The Buckeyes won the 2007 tournament in Columbus with a 2-1 victory over Northwestern. Last year, Ohio State was the eight seed and defeated ninth-seeded Iowa in the opening round, 8-4, before falling to top-seeded Michigan in the quarterfinals.

BTN will provide live coverage of the tournament quarterfinals, semifinals and final, while Thursday’s opening round will be streamed on the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN). Fans can also follow @OhioState_SB on Twitter for in-game updates and a link to live stats for each game Ohio State plays will be available at

A look at the Buckeyes’ the top performers over the last 15 games:

Taylor Watkins – .422, 10 R, 7 RBI, 3 HR
Evelyn Carrillo – .417, 6 RBI, 3 2B
Cammi Prantl – .356, 11 RBI, 4 2B, 1 HR
Leesa Gresham – .444, 2 2B, 2 HR

Top pitchers:
Olivia O’Reilly – 7-4, 3.69 ERA, 26 Ks
Shelby Hursh – 4 saves, 3.64 ERA, 30 Ks

Ohio State 3, Penn State 1
Olivia O’Reilly earned her team-leading 10th win of the year by pitching six scoreless innings while Taylor Watkins provided what proved to be the game winning run in the third inning with a solo home run to left center field.

Ohio State 3, Penn State 0
Shelby Hursh pitched her third complete game of the season, limiting Penn State to just three hits while striking out nine. At the plate, senior Evelyn Carrillo hit a solo home run, the 200th hit of her career, while Watkins had a pair of doubles in the winning effort.

Senior Evelyn Carrillo is climbing her way up the career lists in hits and runs batted in. The senior from Corona, Calif., has played in 209 career games and currently ranks 10th in hits (207), just seven shy of 10th place. Her 146 RBI are good for fifth place.

Career Hits
1. Anna Smith (1999-02) – 243
8. Krinon Clark (1991-94) – 215
9. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.) – 213

Career RBI
1. Sam Marder (2007-10) – 191
4. Courtney Pruner (2006-10) – 158
5. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.) – 147

A look at where the Buckeyes stack up amongst their Big Ten counterparts:

Batting average………………. 5th, .290
Runs……………………………… 5th, 237
Hits……………………………….. 5th, 388
RBI……………………………….. 5th, 221
Doubles…………………………… 3rd, 77

Big Ten-only games:
Batting average………………. 4th, .314
ERA……………………………… 8th, 4.38
Runs……………………………… 5th, 110
Hits……………………………….. 4th, 184

Additionally, several individuals rank among the Big Ten leaders – Evelyn Carrillo is second in Big Ten-only batting average (.458) while Cammi Prantl is sixth and Taylor Watkins is seventh. Prantl has a league-best 11 doubles in conference play. Olivia O’Reilly is 12th in opposing batting average (.254).

Cammi Prantl has 14 doubles on the year, the seventh most in single season school history.
Evelyn Carrillo has 62 hits on the year, the 14th most in single season school history.
Caitlin Conrad reached the 40 runs scored mark for the year, the 13th most in single season school history.

• Last week against Pittsburgh and Iowa, Gresham hit .538 (7-of-15) with a .538 slugging percentage and .571 on base percentage.
• Ohio State finished 13-10 in the Big Ten and tied for sixth. It is the most conference wins and best regular season finish since 2010.

Ohio State’s outfield of Caitlin Conrad, Cammi Prantl and Taylor Watkins have been dubbed “The Cannon Crew” (TCC) partly because the first letters of their first names spell TCC and also because they have combined for 16 outfield assists thus far. The group is also lethal at the plate:

Caitlin Conrad – .325, 35 RBI, 7 HR, 13 2B
Cammi Prantl – .325, 31 RBI, 14 2B, 33 R
Taylor Watkins – .361, 37 R, 28 RBI, 7 HR

Collectively, the group is hitting .336 with 94 RBI, 110 runs scored, 36 doubles, 13 stolen bases and 20 home runs.

The Buckeyes finished 12-2 at home this year, outscoring their opponents 85-45 (an average of 6.1 runs per game). Ohio State had a team batting average of .343 at Buckeye Field with 23 doubles, 16 home runs and a .545 slugging percentage. In the circle, opponents batted just .216 vs. Buckeye pitchers. Olivia O’Reilly went 9-2 at home with a 1.88 ERA.

The best home records over the last 10 years:
2010………………………….. 14-1 (.933)
2006………………………….. 21-2 (.913)
2007………………………….. 21-2 (.913)
2014………………………….. 12-2 (.857)
2005………………………….. 13-4 (.765)

Evelyn Carrillo hit .529 (9-for-17) with a HR, 4 RBI and a .765 slugging percentage.
Taylor Watkins hit .467 with 3 HR, 7 runs scored, 2 2B, 4 RBI and a 1.200 slugging percentage while Cammi Prantl drove in a team-best six runs.
• In the circle, Olivia O’Reilly was 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA and two complete games.
• Shelby Hush went 2-0 with a shutout (3-0 vs. Penn State) and struck out 17 batters in 16.2 innings. She also got a save in Saturday’s 8-7 win vs. Northwestern.

Taylor WatkinsJr.CFTucson, Ariz.
In 23 Big Ten games, is batting .405 with 15 runs scored, 12 RBI and four home runs … is fourth in B1G-only batting average … named College Sports Madness Big Ten Player of the Week after hitting .467 last week with four RBI, three home runs and a 1.200 slugging percentage last week … has a 1.000 fielding percentage with five assists from center field … on the year, is hitting .361 with 37 runs scored and 28 RBI.

Evelyn CarrilloSr.1BCorona, Calif.
Leads the Buckeyes in batting average (.380) … is hitting .458 in B1G-only games, second best in the league … has 34 RBI and 20 runs scored … second on the team with six home runs … in Ohio State’s Big Ten-opening series vs. Michigan State, hit .700 with two home runs and five RBI … has a .988 fielding percentage and was a member of the 2013 Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

Cammi PrantlSo.LFAshville, Ohio
Is slugging a team-best .696 in B1G-only games … has 22 RBI in 23 B1G games … is hitting .406 in Big Ten games with a league-best 11 doubles and three home runs … has started all 52 games and is batting .325 with 33 runs scored 31 RBI and 14 doubles … seven assists from left field.

Caitlin ConradJr.RFRichwood, Ohio
First member of this year’s 30/30 club with 40 runs scored and 35 RBI … currently ranks 11th in the Big Ten in slugging (.584) and 12th in total bases (90) … tied for the team lead in home runs (seven) … is hitting .325 with 13 doubles.

Several Buckeyes are enjoying significant statistical improvements at the plate from 2013 to 2014, including senior Melaina Saalfeld, junior Caitlin Conrad and sophomore Jayla Saibene.

Player                                   2013       2014       Diff.
Caitlin Conrad..                 .285        .325        +.040
Melaina Saalfeld               .193        .233        +.040
Jayla Saibene…                 .214        .250        +.036

The Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule will once again test Ohio State against some of the nation’s elite. In all, OSU will play at least 16 games against teams that qualified for last year’s NCAA Tournament, including eight against squads that advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Additionally, Ohio State plays 15 games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Top 25 poll. Nine of those games are against Top 10 teams.

• Despite losing two of three games, Ohio State outscored Purdue, 12-6
Cammi Prantl hit a team-best .444 over the weekend with a double, two RBI and a .500 on base percentage.
Olivia O’Reilly limited the Boilermakers to just 10 hits over 17.2 innings.

Junior Olivia O’Reilly is enjoying a season for the Buckeyes as she leads team in every major pitching category, including wins (13), ERA (2.95), strikeouts (86) and complete games (12). Two weeks ago, she pitched 25.2 innings and gave up just six earned runs while registering three complete games and two shutouts.

A season-high crowd of 1,598 filled Buckeye Field on Sunday, marking the largest home crowd in at least 10 years. The top attendance figures in that span:

4/13/14 vs. Purdue – 1,598
4/11/09 vs. Illinois – 1,277
4/7/12 vs. Michigan – 1,217
4/27/14 vs. Northwestern – 1,194
5/19/07 vs. Cal State Fullerton – 1,175
5/2/12 vs. Iowa – 1,147
5/9/09 vs. Penn State – 1,105

• The Buckeyes’ top four hitters (Conrad, Watkins, Prantl, Carrillo) combined to go 21-for-41 (.512) with seven doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI.
• As a team, Ohio State hit .386 in the series.
• 13 of Ohio State’s 34 hits vs. the Hoosiers were for extra bases.

Ohio State’s offense posted several impressive numbers in its Big Ten-opening sweep of Michigan State. As a team, the Buckeyes hit .432 with 38 total hits, nine doubles, one triple and five home runs. Additionally, several players enjoyed big weekends, including:

Evelyn Carrillo……….. .700, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Cammi Prantl……….. .600, 3 2B, 6 runs
Keelia Nester………… .571, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Caitlin Conrad… .455, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 HR