Oct. 9, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team concludes its 2014 fall schedule on Friday evening when it hosts Kent State for a doubleheader at Buckeye Field beginning at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

The Buckeyes split a doubleheader with 2014 Women’s College World Series participant Kentucky  on September 28 before sweeping their two games last weekend at the 14th annual Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic.

In a 4-2 win against Kentucky, sophomore Lena Springer pitched six innings of one-hit ball and Maddy McIntyre delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the fifth inning. Springer came in in relief of starter Olivia O’Reilly in the top of the second and didn’t allow a hit until the top of the seventh inning. Ohio State was also aggressive on the base paths, converting on 8-of-10 stolen base attempts.

Last weekend at the Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic, Ohio State picked up a pair of run-rule victories, defeating Eastern Michigan on Saturday, 18-2, and Bowling Green on Sunday, 8-0. Against the Eagles, McIntyre went 3-for-4 with four runs driven in while Jesse Machovina, Anna Kirk, Taylor White and Jayla Saibene each had two hits. In the circle, Shelby Hursh went four innings with five strikeouts and Springer came on to record the final three outs of the fifth inning.

A six-run sixth inning keyed Ohio State’s 8-0 win over Bowling Green on Sunday, highlighted by a RBI double from Machovina and a RBI triple from Keelia Nester. Springer struck out five batters in four innings and O’Reilly pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

The Buckeyes’ 2014-15 roster features eight newcomers (seven freshmen, one sophomore). Ohio State won’t lack for experience at key positions, however, as two first team All-Big Ten selections return in the outfield (Cammi Prantl, Taylor Watkins) and redshirt juniors shortstop Maddy McIntyre and pitcher Alex DiDomenico come back after injuries in 2014.

Eight Buckeyes – Olivia O’Reilly, Melissa Rennie, Jayla Saibene, Kirstie Fehrenbach, Audrey Plant, Rachel Middleman, Kasie Kelly and Caitlin Conard -were honored as National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athletes. Additionally, Ohio State’s team grade-point average of 3.11 qualified it as a National All-Academic Team. The Buckeyes were one of four Big Ten squads to make the list.

Cammi Prantl | Jr. | OF
First team All-Big Ten … started all 55 games … hit .329 with six home runs, 16 doubles, 34 RBI and 34 runs scored … had 22 RBI in 23 Big Ten game while hitting .406 … slugged a team-best .696 in conference games.

Taylor Watkins | Sr. | OF
First team All-Big Ten and second team All-NFCA All-Midwest Region … started all 55 games in center field and led the Buckeyes in batting (.361) … hit .405 in 23 Big Ten games with 15 runs scored and 12 RBI … seventh in Big Ten-only batting average … added 40 run scored, 28 RBI, six stolen bases, seven home runs and 10 doubles on the season.

Caitlin Conrad | Sr. | OF
Played in and started all 55 games in right field … part of the “The Cannon Crew” with Taylor Watkins and Cammi Prantl that all batted over .300 and combined for over 100 runs and RBI and added 16 assists … named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team after hitting two HR and driving in four runs in three games.

Keelia Nester | Sr. | INF
Joined the team shortly before the start of the 2014 campaign … earned the starting shortstop job in early March and ended up starting 42 games … named the team’s Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player … hit .276 with 26 runs scored and 14 RBI … batted .340 in Big Ten-only games.

Anna Kirk | So. | INF
Started 44 games, primarily at third base … hit .363 with two home runs and eight RBI at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas (2/14-2/16) … had home runs vs. Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State (2/14) … hit safely in six of the final nine games of the season.

Erika Leonard | RS-Jr. | C/DP
Started 37 games, primarily at catcher or designated player … hit .257 with 20 RBI, 11 runs scored, seven doubles and one home run.

Olivia O’Reilly | Sr. | P
Emerged as the Buckeyes’ ace … led the team in wins (17), complete games (12), shutouts (3), strikeouts (93) and innings pitched (162.1) … selected as the Buckeyes’ Pitcher of the Year … finished with a 3.02 ERA

Shelby Hursh | So. | P
Led the Big Ten in saves with seven … second on the team with 91.1 innings pitched … struck out 89 batters … tossed a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts vs. Utah Valley (2/16), the first freshman to do so since 2001.