18-10 Buckeyes host Bobcats at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Buckeye Field

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After posting two home wins vs. Wisconsin last Saturday, the No. 21 Ohio State softball team remains in Columbus to host a Wednesday doubleheader vs. Ohio starting at 5 p.m. before playing Butler at 4 p.m. Friday at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes enter the week with an 18-10 ledger while the Bobcats own a 5-18 record and the Bulldogs are 21-4 on the year.

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Ohio State leads Ohio, 38-20, in the all-time series record. Last year, the Buckeyes defeated the Bobcats, 12-3, in a neutral site meeting at the New Mexico State Tournament in Las Cruces, N.M. In 2008, Ohio State swept Ohio, 7-3 and 3-0, in a doubleheader in Columbus April 30.

Under head coach Linda Kalafatis, the Buckeyes are 9-1 against the Bobcats.

Ohio State owns a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series vs. Butler with all three meeting come during Kalafatis’ term. The two programs last met in 2004 for a doubleheader April 6 where the Buckeyes swept the Bulldogs, 10-0 and 8-0, in Columbus.

– Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the squad, batting .453 with a team-leading 39 hits. The shortstop has started all 28 Buckeye games and has 21 RBI, six doubles and four home runs.
– Senior catcher Sam Marder leads the squad with 22 RBI this season and has 168 in her career to hold No. 1 in the all-time program record book. Marder also is the all-time home run leader (54) and walks (194).
– All three Ohio State pitchers are seeing a lot of time on the mound with freshman Melanie Nichols throwing 78.2 innings, Megan Miller 53.0 and Lindsay Bodeker 49.1. The pitching corps has an ERA of 2.44 while its opponents have combined for a 4.99 ERA.
– With eight wins, 59 strikeouts and a 1.87 ERA, Nichols leads the Buckeye pitchers.
– Ohio State returns 14 letterwinners and seven starters from its 2009 squad that went 47-11 and 16-4 in the Big Ten, finishing second in the league.
– The Buckeyes have made three NCAA appearances in the last four years, including their first run in program history to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009. Ohio State also made the tournament in 2006 and ’07.
– Last season the team recorded the second-most wins, runs and RBI in program history with a 47-11 ledger, 329 runs scored and 293 RBI. OSU also recorded the second-most shutouts in program history with 23, one shy of the record.

The Buckeyes are 5-1 in their last six games after the squad swept Wisconsin in a Big Ten doubleheader last Saturday, 6-4 and 12-4 (5), at Buckeye Field.

Ohio State’s loss came at Central Florida, a 3-0 defeat March 24. Prior to falling to the Knights, the Scarlet and Gray blew past Cornell, 18-0, in five innings in a neutral site meeting.

Paced by a 2-for-3, three RBI performance by shortstop Alicia Herron, the Buckeyes took a 6-4 victory over Wisconsin in game one of a doubleheader last Saturday at Buckeye Field. Herron dropped a two-out, two-run home run, to tie the game at three in the bottom of the third before hitting an RBI double in the sixth to give Ohio State its first lead. A two-run home run to center by senior Whitney Cooper helped the Buckeyes to their 6-4 victory.

In game two, Herron finished 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored while senior tri-captains Sam Marder, Courtney Pruner and Cooper each went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. For Marder, the two RBI gave her yet another Ohio State batting record as she takes over sole possession of the No. 1 spot on the all-time career RBI list with 168. The Calabasas, Calif., native also owns the Buckeye all-time career home run (54) and walks (194) records.

The Buckeyes are currently second in the Big Ten with a .643 winning percentage while Michigan (24-5) leads the league with a .828.

Sophomore Alicia Herron leads the league with a .453 batting average while senior Sam Marder leads the Big Ten with a .840 slugging average. Marder also ties for the conference lead in home runs with 11 this season.

Alicia Herron was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week Monday after leading Ohio State to a sweep of Wisconsin at Buckeye Field last Saturday. The Cypress, Calif., native batted .833 while tying for the team-lead with five hits and four RBI vs. the Badgers.

In game one, Herron launched a two out, two run home run to tie the game at 3-all. She then gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game when she hit an RBI double in the fifth inning leading Ohio State to a 6-4 win over the Badgers. With a home run, a double, four RBI and three runs scored in the finale against the Badgers, she brought her weekly totals to 10 hits in 17 at bats, one home run, seven runs scored, five RBI, a stolen base and an .824 slugging percentage.

Sophomore Alicia Herron has to be happy she is leading the team with a .453 batting average after batting .833 at home vs. Wisconsin last Saturday. The Cypress, Calif., native went 5-for-6 against the Badgers scoring three runs and adding four RBI.

During Ohio State’s seven-game spring break trip in Florida March 19-24, Herron hit .478, scoring a team-high six runs and adding three RBI. In addition, she successfully stole a team-best three bases.

The Buckeyes are 10-1 when scoring in the first inning in 2010. Ohio State took an 8-3 lead vs. Wisconsin in game two of a doubleheader last Saturday en route to a 12-4 five inning victory.

In Florida, the Scarlet and Gray took a 6-0 lead vs. Cornell March 24 and posted the gamewinning run vs. South Florida March 23 in the first inning en route to two of its three wins during spring break.

Senior catcher Sam Marder notched her 11th home run of the season vs. South Florida to propel Ohio State to a 1-0 victory.

The Buckeyes have seen six players combine for 28 home runs this season with Marder recording a team-high 11 in 28 games while boosting her Ohio State all-time career record to 54. Senior Courtney Pruner, who has 31 homers in her career and sits at No. 3 all-time in the history books, has knocked five over the fence this season as has classmate Whitney Cooper.

The Scarlet and Gray pitching corps has allowed its opponents to hit just 11 home runs so far this season.

Freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols came in prepared for Division I NCAA fast pitch softball. The rookie leads Ohio State with eight wins, 59 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.87 in 78.2 innings pitched. Nichols’ first loss of the season came to Central Florida March 24 as the Knights scored one earned and two unearned runs in a 3-0 defeat of the Buckeyes.

With 59 strikeouts, freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols took over the team lead in the category, pitching in a team-high 78.2 innings. Redshirt junior Lindsay Bodeker is second with 47 (49.1 IP) while senior pitcher Megan Miller has 33 (53.0 IP).

Senior catcher Sam Marder was inducted into the inaugural sandwich club at Sloopy’s, a restaurant in Ohio State’s new student union, March 16.

From June 2010 until June 2011, Ohio State students will be able to order a Sam Marder Bistro Turkey at Sloopy’s. For her athletic and academic laurels, Marder was selected out of more than 200 applications for the honor. In total, 13 sandwiches are being named each year at the restaurant.

The Bistro Turkey is a delicious sandwich of turkey, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and A1 steak sauce on a marble rye.

Two-time All-American Sam Marder has been walked 23 times this season, including seven intentional. She has been walked 194 times in her career, the most in Buckeye history. Since she joined Ohio State in 2007, Marder has been put on base intentionally 45 times – by far the most in school history dating back to the 1998 season. The second-most times a Buckeye had been intentionally-walked in a career in the last decade is six.

Of Ohio State’s 28 home runs, five have been leadoff homers and three have come in the sixth inning. The Buckeyes are 4-1 when they have an individual hit a leadoff home run.

Last season, the Buckeyes spent 14-consecutive weeks in the national rankings, spanning from Feb. 20 when they debuted at No. 23 through the NCAA Super Regional May 22 as they concluded the season with the highest ranking in program history at 12th.

The 14 weeks spent in the Top 25 set an Ohio State record for consecutive weeks in the polls. Previously, the 2003 and 2008 squads had maintained a Top 25 ranking for eight-consecutive weeks.

Ohio State, currently ranked 21st in the NFCA and 23rd in the USA Softball Collegiate polls, is 116-58 all-time when ranked, including 45-13 at home when owning a Top 25 mark.