April 23, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio – With two weeks remaining the regular season, the No. 22 Ohio State softball team (44-9, 13-3 Big Ten) is sitting atop the Big Ten Conference standings, just one game ahead of No. 12 Michigan (35-9, 12-3). The Buckeyes have eight games remaining on their 2002 schedule with five coming this week. OSU opens action at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, with a doubleheader against Wright State (9-17, 3-1 Horizon). The Buckeyes then play host to Ohio (20-20, 9-8 MAC) at 6 p.m. Friday at Buckeye Field before closing the weekend with a noon doubleheader Sunday at Indiana (12-27-1, 0-14) in Bloomington, Ind.

For the second time at home this year, a Buckeye pitcher recorded a no-hitter. Kristi DeVries was the latest to fire a no-no as Ohio State defeated Morehead State, 15-0, in the first of two games Wednesday (April 17). DeVries struck out 10 to pick up the no-hitter while raising her record to 14-1 on the year. Wendy Allen was the first to record the accomplishment after shutting down Robert Morris on March 16 in an 8-0 win.

In the April 17 USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 poll, the most recent poll released, Ohio State climbed into the No. 22 spot after a week at No. 25. When the polls are released Wednesday and following a 6-0 week with four wins in conference action and moving into the top spot in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes should attain one of the highest rankings in the history of the program.

For the second time this year, Ohio State has put together a double digit winning streak to boost its record. OSU won 13 games in a row to date.

From March 12-24, the Buckeyes ran off 14 wins in a row starting with a 4-0 defeat of Kentucky at Buckeye Field and ending with a 6-3, eight inning win over North Carolina in the final of the Georgia Tech/Buzz Classic. The streak was halted the following night in a 10 inning, 2-1 loss at Chattanooga March 25. The BuckeyesĽsup>TM current streak began on April 6 in a 6-0 win over Wisconsin at Buckeye Field and has included wins over No. 20 Iowa (twice) in Iowa City, Iowa, and nine wins at home. The record of 17 was set in 1994. GOING WHERE THEYĽsup>TMVE NEVER GONE BEFORE
Jennifer Link, a junior, recorded her first career home run in the first of two games with Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., March 31. Anna Smith, a senior, also tallied the first of her career in the same game. Kristi DeVries, a sophomore, joined the club over the weekend in dramatic fashion. With the game tied at two in the bottom of the ninth against Iowa, DeVries smoked a shot over the left field wall to plate Stacy Roth and give OSU the win, and series sweep, 4-2.

Ohio State continued its use of the long ball this past week with three more home runs added to the record total clubbed by the Buckeyes. In 53 games, OSU has blasted 48 home runs including three in its last six home games.

Kristine Himes continued the season-long home run derby with her blast against Morehead State April 17 to give her 13 on the year. Himes set the previous season standard in 2000 as a freshman when she belted a record 10. Heading into the upcoming weekend, Stacy Roth is just behind Himes for the season record after knocking her 12th of the year in a 6-5 win over Illinois April 21.

Himes and Roth have a little company in the single-season race with Wendy Allen and Sarah West knipping at their heels. Allen, after going deep once last year, has tallied nine this year and West is one behind her with eight.

Here is the up-to-date score board for career home run supremacy:

1. Kristine Himes 2000-02 29 2. Stacy Roth 1999-02 26 3. Sarah West 1999-02 20

Here is the up-to-date score board for season home run supremacy:

1. Kristine Himes 2002 13 2. Stacy Roth 2002 12 3. Wendy Allen 2002 9 4. Sarah West 2002 8 5. Four tied with 6

One reason for the success of the Buckeyes this year is attributed to how quickly they come out of the gates. In the first inning, Ohio State has outscored its opponents 59-15 and 54-4 in the second inning for a 113-19 margin. For the year, the BuckeyesĽsup>TM opponents have only scored 106 total runs compared to OSUĽsup>TMs 300. The Buckeyes also have produced more runs in the first two innings than its foes have for the year, 113-106.

In recent years, the buzz around the Big Ten Conference was will Michigan or Iowa win the conference championship and host the tournament at the end of the season. Ohio State, after a third-place finish last year, is poised to throw its hat in the ring and contend for the title as the season winds down. The Buckeyes are ahead of Michigan, based on winning percentage, for first place with a record of 13-3 (.813) in conference action. UM is second with a 10-3 mark (.769) after defeating Iowa (9-4, .692) Sunday.

Not only does Ohio State lead the conference standings this week, it also leads several team and individual categories for conference games only.

As a team, the Buckeyes are No. 1 in eight of nine categories with Iowa holding the top spot in doubles, two ahead of OSU. Pitching, the Buckeyes lead with 13 wins and 112.2 innings pitched while near the top of all the remaining categories.

Individually, Anna Smith still remains in the lead in hitting (.510), runs (15), hits (26) and triples (3). Stacy Roth is tied for the league lead with four homers and Wendy Allen leads with 36 total bases and six sacrifice bunts. AllenĽsup>TMs tiny ERA of 0.32 leads the conference and her six wins are tied for the best in the Big Ten.

The NCAA released its second round of statistics for the 2002 season and the Buckeyes remained well represented among the national leaders. As a team (through the Northwestern games, 47 total), OSU is No. 3 in batting average at .332, No. 9 in winning percentage with an .809 average on a 38-9 record, No. 12 in scoring per game at 5.38 and No. 30 in ERA at 1.50.

Individually, Anna Smith is in three categories including No. 3 in average at .481, No. 12 in stolen bases per game at 0.64 (30 in 47 games) and No. 18 in triples per contest at 0.13 (6 in 47). Stacy Roth is No. 8 in the nation in RBI per game at 1.04 per contest and Kristine Himes ranks No. 28 in homers per game at 0.26 (12 in 47). Wendy Allen rounds out the OSU contingency with the No. 26 ERA in the nation at 1.00.

Anna Smith is the all-time stolen base leader at Ohio State with 92 and is 33-for-38 this year. Jennifer Link is climbing the records ladder in the same category with a 23-for-27 performance in 2002. Her career total is up to 49 which is No. 3 on the all-time ledger. Cheryl Palaroan (1996-99) is second on the list with 56.

As a team, the Buckeyes have swiped 95 bases this year. The record mark of 98 was set last year and OSU could break that mark in 2002.

Anna Smith is closing in on yet another Buckeye single season record. She has recorded 82 hits in her 160 at bats in 2002 and is hitting at a .512 clip. Smith is currently ahead of all-time leader Greta SlagleĽsup>TMs .449 average in the 1979 season with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Ohio State is 32-4 this year in games it scores the first run. The Buckeyes also are 29-3 when they are involved in a three-run decision or greater.

When Ohio State travels to Dayton, Ohio, Wednesday to battle Wright State, it will be the first time Chrissy Fowler has been back the university to play ball. As a freshman in 1998, Fowler played for the Raiders before transferring to OSU. In that season, WSU lost to the Buckeyes twice and have dropped four more since then, with Fowler sporting the Scarlet and Gray against her former team. Fowler played in 38 games for the Raiders and hit at a .239 clip with 21 hits and four doubles as a first year player.

Several milestones for the Ohio State program have or will be reached this year. When the Buckeyes defeated Campbell, 12-1, at the Buzz Classic, OSU recorded the 650th win in the history of the program. The Buckeyes hold a lifetime record of 674-663-4 (.503) and have broken the .500 mark for the first time since 1984 when the program was 210-188-2 (.525).

After visiting Wright State (Dayton) and Indiana (Bloomington) this week, Ohio StateĽsup>TMs total travel milage will be 15,110.8. OSUĽsup>TMs road trips have included such far away destinations as Los Angeles, twice, Houston, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Tenn., East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Mich., Iowa City, Iowa, Evanston, Ill., Bloomington, Ind. and Dayton, Ohio, twice.

Linda Kalafatis is in her sixth season with OSU and has complied a 189-139 (.561) record in six seasons leading the Buckeyes. In her 13 years in the collegiate coaching ranks, Kalafatis has posted a 462-254-2 (.639) mark including stints with her alma mater California (Pa.) and Akron. At California, Kalafatis led her teams to five Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference titles and a 175-53-1 (.764) record. With the Zips, her teams went 98-62-1 (.608) in three years. Kalafatis earned her degree in business administration and marketing from CU in 1988 and added a masterĽsup>TMs degree in geography and regional planning in 1991.

In OSUĽsup>TMs 10-0, five inning defeat of Marshall in the first game of a doubleheader April 3, Buckeye coach Linda Kalafatis earned the 450th win in her career. In her 13 year career, she has compiled a 464-254-2 (.644) record.

KalafatisĽsup>TM 150th victory in her OSU coaching career came in the BuckeyesĽsup>TM 5-1 defeat of McNeese State at the Tournament of Champions in Northridge, Calif., to open the year. The 175th win in her career came in OSUĽsup>TMs 2-1, nine inning defeat of Michigan State in the conference opener for both squads. Kalafatis stands 191-139 (.579) as the BuckeyesĽsup>TM head coach. This is not the only time she has surpassed the 175 win plateau. As a coach at her alma mater, California (Pa.), she amassed a 175-53-1 record.

Wright State is 9-19 on the year but hold fourth place in the Horizon league with a 3-3 record. The Raiders are 2-0 at home after having several scheduled dates postponed and/or cancelled because of the weather. Amy Price leads the way for WSU with a .389 average on 29-of-81 hitting this year and her 41 total bases are tops.

Leading the pitching staff is Kristin Bultnick and her 2.46 earned runs average. Bultnick is 8-9 on the year while leading the team with 97 strike outs. She has thrown 116.1 innings of work with no other pitcher putting in more than 57 innings.

The Bobcats enter the 53rd meeting in the series with a 20-20 overall record and a 9-8 mark in the MAC after dropping its last five games in a row. Tiffany Bolton leads the team on offense with a .361 average on 43-of-119 hitting and a 10 doubles. She is second on the team in RBI with 14 and tied for third with two homers.

From the circle, Val Wood has the team-best ERA at 1.86 and is second to Heather Hagen in strike outs, 91-88. Wood is 6-7 with 31 appearances for a staff with an ERA of 2.41.

Indiana enters the weekend in search of its first Big Ten win of the year after getting off to an 0-14 start with an overall record of 12-27-1. Stormy Hanson is tops on the team with a .376 average on 47-of-125 hitting and leads the team with 11 doubles, two triples and seven home runs.

Katie Witham holds a staff-best 3.23 ERA and is second in wins with a 5-8 record. Heather Stillians leads the staff with six wins (6-9) and strike outs with 38.

Ohio State swept Illinois, 6-5 in eight innings and 5-2. Chrissy Fowler hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Buckeyes the win in game one and OSU got out to an early 5-0 lead and fended off a late Illini comeback in the bottom of the seventh for its 13th win in a row.

Buckeye Field, the outdoor home of the Ohio State softball team, stands as one of the more picturesque yards in the Big Ten. The all-dirt infield gives way to a well-kept outfield and warning track with fences at 190 feet in left and right field and 220 to straight away center. Equipped with field tarps, a press box, two spacious dugouts and full sound capabilities, the field comfortably seats 500 fans.

Ohio State concludes its regular season with three games, including the final home game at Buckeye Field in 2002. The Buckeyes play host to the Akron Zips at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2, before traveling to State College, Pa., May 4 and 5 for two games with Penn State at 1 p.m. both days.