Ohio State at FIU Combat Classic Tournament
Feb. 11-13, 2011
Tournament Central:
 FIU Softball Complex (300), Miami, Fla.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 22/24 Ohio State softball team opens the 2011 season Friday-Sunday at the FIU Combat Classic Tournament in Miami, Fla. The Buckeyes will play five games at the classic, beginning with a game vs. Kentucky at 4 p.m. Friday at the FIU Softball Complex.

Ohio State plays tournament host FIU at 6 p.m. following its game vs. the Wildcats. The Buckeyes will face Memphis at 10 a.m. and North Florida at 4 p.m. Saturday before concluding the weekend vs. DePaul at 9 a.m. Sunday.

A link for live stats can be found on the Ohio State softball page and at the FIU Combat Classic tournament page (Click here for complete tournament schedule – home team listed second).

Ohio State vs.

Kentucky: 8-4, last meeting in 2010; The Buckeyes defeated the Wildcats, 5-3, in the NCAA Columbus Regional May 22 at Buckeye Field.

FIU: 2-2, last meeting in 2008; Ohio State split two games vs. the Golden Panthers during the 2008 FIU tournament. In game one, Ohio State defeated FIU, 16-4, Feb. 16 before falling, 7-1, to the Golden Panthers Feb. 17. 

Memphis: 0-0; Saturday’s game vs. the Tigers will be first the two times have met in program history.

North Florida: 0-1; last meeting in 2010; North Florida defeated the Buckeyes, 1-0, March 20 at USF ‘The Game’ Tournament in Clearwater, Fla. in the only meeting in program history between the two teams.

DePaul: 4-0; last meeting n 2003; Ohio State defeated the Blue Demons, 4-3, Feb. 22, 2003 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga. 


  • Ohio State returns 11 letterwinners and five starters from its 2010 squad that went 39-14 and 16-2 in the Big Ten, finishing tied for second in the league.
  • The Buckeyes have made four NCAA appearances in the last five years, including their first run in program history to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009. Ohio State also made the tournament in 2006 and 2007.
  • Last season the team recorded the fifth-most wins in program history with 39 victories, collecting 310 runs, 417 hits and 276 RBIs.
  • The Scarlet and Gray won six games vs. ranked opponents, including wins over then-No. 5 UCLA (7-0) Feb. 28 and then-No. 2 and conference rival Michigan (5-3) April 28.

This is Ohio State’s first return to the FIU Tournament since the 2008 campaign. The Buckeyes went 3-2 at the 2008 FIU Tournament Feb. 15-17.

2008 FIU Tournament Results
W, 9-0 vs. Providence – Feb. 15
L, 4-6 vs. Georgia – Feb. 15
W, 8-0(5 inn) vs. Illinois State – Feb. 16
W, 16-4 vs. FIU – Feb. 16
L, 1-7 vs. FIU – Feb. 17

Head coach Linda Kalafatis enters her 15th season at the helm of the Buckeyes as one of the most successful coaches in the Big Ten and the NCAA. She is one of four conference coaches with more than 700 career wins, placing her among the Top 30 active coaches in the country. The 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year, Kalafatis is third among current Big Ten coaches in number of victories – with five fewer years coaching experience than her nearest colleague.

The Buckeyes have won 30 or more games in nine of Kalafatis’ 14 seasons in Columbus and in each of the last seven seasons. Also the Big Ten coach of the year in 2002, she has guided Ohio State to six of the program’s seven NCAA tournament appearances (2002, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’10), including its first trip to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009.

Kalafatis enters the 2011 season with a 493-298 (.623) record in 14 years at Ohio State, which marks the best win total and winning percentage in program history. In 22 years as a collegiate head coach, including stops at her alma mater California (Pa.) and Akron, she owns a record of 766-413-2 (.649).

Ohio State opens 2011 with five-consecutive early-season tournaments on the road, playing 25 road games before hosting a Big Ten series vs. Iowa March 26-27 in Columbus. The Buckeyes went 16-9 during their early tournament season in 2010, including four wins vs. ranked opponents.

Since 2000, Ohio State has won 419 games, which is the third-highest win total in the Big Ten during that time. The Buckeyes own a .664 winning percentage, good for third in the league.

The 210 squad recorded 39 wins, the fifth-most in school history, and advancing to the program’s fourth NCAA regional appearance in the last five years. Ohio State has notched 30 or more wins for seven-consecutive seasons- the longest 30-win stretch in Buckeye history.

Last season, the Buckeyes spent 13-consecutive weeks in the national rankings, spanning from Feb. 12 when they debuted at No. 14 through the final week of the regular season May 15.  

The 13 weeks spent in the Top 25 was the second-longest streak in program history. Previously, the 2009 squad spent 14-consecutive weeks in the rankings.  

Ohio State is 135-60 all-time when ranked, including 57-14 at home when owning a Top 25 mark. 

Senior outfielder Dee Dee Hillman and junior shortstop Alicia Herron were named co-captains of the 2011 Buckeye squad, head coach Linda Kalafatis announced this offseason. 

“While we have many kids that provide good leadership and stability for the team, I think these two young ladies stood out to their teammates,” Kalafatis said. “It was clear that these two have the characteristics that the team felt was necessary to lead the 2011 Buckeyes.”

A native of Defiance, Ohio, Hillman started 46 games in 2010, leading the team with 42 runs and had the team’s third-best batting average (.345). In 148 at-bats, the Buckeye outfielder had 51 hits, good for second-most on the squad. A 2010 Third Team All-Big Ten honoree, Hillman had a .401 on base percentage with six stolen bases last season. Defensively, the 2009 First Team All-Big Ten selection had a .976 fielding percentage, while only committing one error.

Herron, a native of Cypress, Calif., started all 53 games a season ago, powering the Buckeyes at the plate with a .749 slugging percentage. The 2010 First Team All-Big Ten honoree led the Scarlet and Gray in multiple offensive categories, including batting average (.415), at-bats (171), hits (71), RBI (50), doubles (15), triples (3), total bases (128) and stolen bases (10). The shortstop also was second in runs (41) and home runs (12). Herron is currently fifth on the all-time program home run list with 26 in just two complete seasons with the Buckeyes.

Alicia Herron
, a junior co-captain, was selected to the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List, the Amateur Softball Association of America announced last week.

Known for her power at the plate, the Buckeye shortstop led Ohio State in multiple categories last season, including batting average (.415), at bats (171), hits (71), doubles (15), triples (3), RBIs (50) and total bases (128). The 2010 First Team All-Big Ten honoree, Herron started all 53 games for the Scarlet and Gray, collecting 21 multi-hit games as a sophomore.

During her rookie campaign, Herron broke the Ohio State freshman home run record with 14 and tied the program record with a seven RBI game. The native of Cypress, Calif., Herron is fifth on the all-time home runs list with 26 in her career.

Ohio State welcomes eight newcomers to the 2011 squad, including five infielders, two pitchers and one outfielder. Joining the infield are freshmen Melaina Saalfeld (2B, Modesto, Calif.); Evelyn Carrillo (1B, Corona, Calif.), Leesa Gresham (1B, Fresno, Calif.), Melissa Rennie (C, Wellington, Ohio) and sophomore Cara Longworth (C, Massillon, Ohio). Joining the pitching staff are freshmen Audrey Plant (P, Upper Arlington, Ohio) and Kasie Kelly (P, Wooster, Ohio). Sophomore Alyson Mott (OF, New Albany, Ohio) joins the outfield unit.

Danielle Henderson
, Olympic gold medalist and a three-time collegiate All-American, was named assistant coach, Ohio State softball head coach Linda Kalafatis announced this past summer.  Henderson, the 1999 Honda Award winner, given to the nation’s top softball player, from the University of Massachusetts (1996-99) completes the staff of Kalafatis and former Nebraska All-American Ali Viola.

Danielle Henderson had a terrific college playing career at UMass and also with the 2000 Gold Medal winning USA Olympic Team which I’m sure will lead to a terrific coaching career,” Kalafatis said. “She will work primarily with our pitchers to develop a young staff and will also be an integral part of our offensive attack since our hitters will be facing a great pitcher almost daily. Danielle’s experience as an Olympian competing with and against the best in the world no doubt helped shape her into the player and now the coach she is.”

Henderson is considered one of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, rewriting the softball record book in her four seasons on the mound. A four-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and a four-time A-10 Tournament Most Outstanding player, Henderson finished her career second all-time on the NCAA’s strikeout list with 1,343 in her four-year career. She was also the nation’s leader in strikeouts per seven innings in both 1998 and 1999.

A veteran Ohio State squad advanced to the NCAA regional for the fourth time in five years and finished with a 39-14 overall record, including a 16-2 mark in Big Ten play. The 2010 senior class of Lindsay Bodeker, Whitney Cooper, Sam Marder, Megan Miller, Courtney Pruner and Rebecca Schultz end their careers with 159 wins which ties for second in the OSU record book on the all-time winningest class list.

The Buckeyes opened the year with a 4-1 appearance at the Marriott Houston Hobby Classic to claim the tournament title before finishing second at the Hatter Invitational after playing Alabama, the eventual No. 1 seed of the 2010 NCAA Championship. Ohio State posted a 7-0 shutout of then-No. 5 UCLA Feb. 28 after Bodecker jammed the Pac-10 squad into 15 groundouts. Alicia Herron was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week March 29 after leading Ohio State to a sweep of Wisconsin, batting .833 and recording four RBI.

From April 11-28, Ohio State recorded a 10-game win streak with freshman pitcher Melanie Nichols recording the ‘W’ in seven games. Nichols won five-consecutive games for the Buckeyes, including Ohio State’s first victory over No. 2 Michigan since the 2003 season.  Nichols was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was joined by Marder, Pruner and Herron as First Team All-Big Ten honorees. Junior outfielders Brittany Goodchild and Dee Dee Hillman also were named third-team selections.

Marder became the most decorated Buckeye in program history as the only three-time All-American. She finished her Buckeye career as the all-time record holder for home runs (61), RBI (191), walks (232) and intentional walks (56).

The Buckeyes will travel to their second tournament of 2011 at the South Alabama Tournament Feb. 18-20 in Mobile, Ala.