April 24, 2006

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A homestand that has included 18 of 19 games at Buckeye Field comes to an end Wednesday when the Ohio State softball team hosts Wright State at 5 p.m. in a doubleheader. The Buckeyes (32-17, 10-4 Big Ten) are 17-2 at home this season and are in sole possession of third place in the Big Ten. Wright State (6-29, 6-7 Horizon League) has won its last three series openers.

GameTracker will have the games live at

With 10 regular season games remaining, Ohio State owns the same record with which it ended the 2005 season. Six of those remaining games are on the road in the Big Ten, where the Buckeyes will aim to keep pace with leader Northwestern (11-2) and second-place Michigan (9-3).

A 6-5 extra-inning loss at Miami (Ohio) last Wednesday snapped Ohio State’s 12-game winning streak and the Buckeyes then went 2-2 last weekend in the Big Ten, getting swept by 12th-ranked Michigan before sweeping Michigan State. Following the Wright State doubleheader, OSU travels to Iowa for single games Friday and Saturday followed by a doubleheader at Wisconsin Sunday.

Ohio State is 14-3 in its last 17 games (.824 winning percentage) and is hitting .332 during that span. In Big Ten games only, the Buckeyes’ .311 average is the best in the conference, while OSU’s .277 average in all games ranks fourth in the league.

Ohio State is 17-2 at home, with its only two losses coming to No. 12 Michigan last Saturday. At Buckeye Field, OSU is batting .335 with 13 home runs and averages over six runs per game, while OSU pitchers own a 1.60 ERA and have held the opposition to a .215 batting average. Ohio State’s offensive leaders include Megan Schwab (.350, 4 HR, 24 RBI), Brittany Vanderink (.301, team-best .435 Big Ten average), Billie Carder (.299, 30 RBI), Nycole Koyano (.279, league-best 24 stolen bases) and Courtney Pruner (.237, 7 HR, 29 RBI).

The pitching staff includes Jamee Juarez (14-9, 2.63 ERA), Kim Reeder (13-7, 1.75 ERA) and Pruner (5-1, 2.95 ERA). Juarez threw her 17th career shutout Sunday in OSU’s 4-0 win over Michigan State.

OSU returns 11 letterwinners and welcomes four newcomers in 2006 for head coach Linda Kalafatis, who is in her tenth season. The Buckeyes were 32-17 overall in 2005 and finished fourth in the Big Ten with a 9-7 league mark. OSU ranked among the NCAA’s Top 13 in six categories, including scoring (8th, 5.8 runs/game).

No. 16 Northwestern, which lost twice at Ohio State April 9, remains atop the Big Ten standings with an 11-2 league mark, while No. 12 Michigan is 9-3, Ohio State is 10-4 and Iowa is 9-5. The Wildcats and Wolverines meet Sunday in Ann Arbor.

Northwestern and Michigan are the only two Big Ten teams that do not play midweek this week. This weekend, Ohio State and Penn State are at Iowa and Wisconsin, Illinois and Northwestern are at Michigan State and Michigan, and Indiana and Purdue are at Minnesota.

Head coach Linda Kalafatis won her 600th career game Sunday in game-two of Ohio State’s sweep of Michigan State. She is one of three Big Ten coaches with at least 600 wins (600-341-2, .637) and she is already OSU’s all-time wins leader with 327 wins (327-226-0, .591). Kalafatis has guided the Buckeyes to two of their three NCAA tournament appearances and to six of the program’s 10 30-win seasons.

Ohio State senior Chelsea Baker and juniors Lauren Daykin and Christina Douglas have been nominated for Academic All-America honors, sponsored by ESPN The Magazine and CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America). An all-district squad will be announced in early May, with the first-team recipients being placed on a national ballot. All three Buckeyes have a grade point average over 3.2.

Since head coach Linda Kalafatis took over the Ohio State program for the 1997 season, the Buckeyes are 92-10 in non-conference home games at Buckeye Field. Among the best season records in non-conference home games, OSU was 14-2 in 2001 and 13-1 in both 2002 and 1998. The Buckeyes were 7-0 in non-league games at Buckeye Field last year, batting .389 as a team in those games and averaging 9.7 runs per game.

Ohio State is wrapping up a homestand that has included 18 of 19 games at Buckeye Field. The most recent similar homestand was in 2004 when the Buckeyes played a stretch of 16 of 18 games at home. The longest streak of consecutive home games occurred in 1994 when Ohio State played 20 straight home games, which was nearly topped in 1998 when OSU played 16 in a row at Buckeye Field.

Ohio State’s sweep of Michigan State Sunday brought its home win total to 17 games this season at Buckeye Field, the seventh-highest figure since the facility opened in 1988. OSU’s 25 wins at home in 2001 are the school record.

Ohio State sophomore Stephanie Hill is from Centerville, Ohio, about 20 miles from the Wright State campus in Fairborn, Ohio. Four WSU players are from the surrounding Dayton area.

Ohio State is 21-1 all-time against Wright State and owns an 18-game winning streak over the Raiders. OSU is 14-0 against Wright State at Buckeye Field. Ohio State swept a doubleheader at WSU last year, winning 14-2 and 7-3.

Wright State (6-29, 6-7 Horizon League) lost its first 22 games of the season but has recovered to go 6-6 in its last 12 games. The Raiders are 0-5 against the Big Ten this year and their two games at Ohio State Wednesday serve as their final non-conference games of the season. Picked fifth in the Horizon League preseason coaches poll, Wright State has seven starters back from its 2005 team that went 15-24 overall and 6-11 in the conference. Amanda Cody, a first-team all-league pick a year ago, leads the Raiders with a .419 average and five home runs.

Ohio State pounded out 25 hits, including four home runs, in a sweep of Wright State April 19, 2005, in Fairborn by scores of 14-2 and 7-3. Pitchers Jamee Juarez and Chelsea Baker got the wins and then-senior Ashley Cutcliff homered in both games.

Brittany Vanderink, then a freshman, had her first career three-hit game in the opener as the top of the Buckeyes’ lineup, which also included Nycole Koyano and Baker, went a combined 7-for-10. Stacy Hibma and Liz Caputo also homered in the opener and Baker hit what remain her two career sacrifice flies. Ohio State jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the nightcap as Vanderink doubled and then-senior Karisa Evans went 3-for-4.

Ohio State has had at least six hits in its last six games, which matches its longest such streak of the season. In their first six-plus hit streak, the Buckeyes scored at least seven runs in a school-record five consecutive games.

Ohio State has led after four innings in 28 games this season and has won all them except one, that coming in game-one vs. Michigan last Saturday. OSU led 1-0 after four innings but lost 3-2. When taking a lead into the seventh inning, however, the Buckeyes are 21-0. When scoring at least three runs, Ohio State is 26-4.

Megan Schwab has two hits in her last three games to give her a team-leading 14 multiple-hit games this season. Billie Carder has at least two hits in eight of her last 15 games to give her 13 multiple-hit games. Brittany Vanderink has at least two hits in six of her last 11 games and 10 total for the season.

Last Wednesday at Miami Courtney Pruner became the third OSU freshman since 1997 to hit two home runs in a game. The other two were eventual OSU all-time home run leader Kristine Himes vs. UNC-Greensboro in 2000 and Liz Caputo vs. Long Island last year. Pruner’s seven multiple-RBI games are tied for best on the team with Jamee Juarez.

Among the Buckeyes hot at the plate as of late are Megan Schwab (.583 in last four games), Brittany Vanderink (.533 in last four games), Carder (.412 in last 11 games), Christina Douglas (.478 in last eight games) and Nycole Koyano (.429 in last 10 games).

Last Tuesday against IUPUI, for the first time since junior Jamee Juarez arrived at Ohio State, the Buckeyes swept a doubleheader without Juarez throwing a pitch. In fact it was just the third time OSU won twice on the same day without Juarez getting the win in either game. The other two occasions were March 12, 2004, in wins over Winthrop and North Carolina A&T and three weeks ago when Pruner had both wins, including one in relief of Juarez, in the sweep of then-No. 15 Northwestern April 9. Chelsea Baker’s walk-off home run against Northwestern April 9 was the first for a Buckeye since April 21, 2002, when Chrissy Fowler’s solo blast beat Illinois 6-5 at Buckeye Field in a game that Ohio State trailed 5-0.

See page 4 of this complete release for player bios.

In Big Ten statistics as of April 24, Ohio State ranked fourth in the Big Ten in batting (.277 avg.), fifth in pitching (2.28 ERA) and 10th in fielding (.956 pct.). OSU’s 11 triples are most in the league and it ranks second in runs scored (221) and stolen bases (67). In Big Ten games only, the Buckeyes rank first in batting (.311), fourth in pitching (2.33) and sixth in fielding (.966).

Individually, Megan Schwab ranked seventh in batting average (.350) and ninth in on-base percentage (.439). Nycole Koyano ranked first in stolen bases (24), fifth in runs (33) and seventh in walks (22). Billie Carder and Courtney Pruner tied for the league lead in triples (3). Among Big Ten pitchers, Kim Reeder ranked 10th in ERA (1.75) and ninth in strikeouts (127). Jamee Juarez ranked ninth in innings pitched (151.1), seventh in strikeouts (156), third in games started (24) and 10th in wins (14).

In Big Ten games only, the Buckeyes have three of the top 10 averages, including Brittany Vanderink (3rd, .435), Schwab (9th, .378) and Carder (10th, .375).

### GO BUCKS! ###