May 1, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team will take its season-best six game winning streak to Iowa City, Iowa, this weekend for a three-game set with the Hawkeyes. Game one of the series is set for Friday at 7 p.m. EST with single games also schedule for Saturday (3 p.m. EST) and Sunday (2 p.m. EST).

Ohio State takes a season-best six-game winning streak to Iowa City following last week’s doubleheader wins over Penn State, a sweep of No. 25 Northwestern and a win Wednesday against Pittsburgh.

Offensively, the Buckeyes are led by the combination of Evelyn Carrillo (.375, 33 RBI), Taylor Watkins (.365, 37 runs scored, 27 RBI), Cammi Prantl (.314, 14 2B, 30 runs scored, 29 RBI) and Caitlin Conrad (.331, 38 runs, 34 RBI). At shortstop, Keelia Nester has emerged as a viable offensive weapon, batting .299 overall and .368 in Big Ten games.

In the circle, junior Olivia O’Reilly continues to be the Buckeyes’ ace. Last week, she went 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched. Freshman Shelby Hursh also had a solid week, picking up two wins and a save while striking out 17 over 16.2 innings.

Iowa stands at 15-27-1 overall and 8-12 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes played a pair of games this week prior to hosting the Buckeyes (Tuesday vs. Western Illinois and Wednesday vs. Northern Iowa).

The Hawkeyes’ primary offensive weapon is shortstop Megan Blank, who is batting .352 with 24 RBI eight doubles and 18 runs scored. Leftfielder Brianna Luna checks in with a .319 average and 12 RBI.

Kayla Massey has pitched 170.0 of the Hawkeyes’ 277.2 innings and is 9-15 with a 2.68 ERA and 106 strikeouts.

All three games on this weekend’s series can be seen on BTDN (subscription required). Additionally, live updates will also be available on the team’s official Twitter account, @OhioState_SB, and a link to live stats for each game can be found on the calendar tab of

The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes have met 102 pervious times with Iowa holding a 64-38 advantage. The two teams met last year in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament, an 8-4 win for the Buckeyes. In 2012, the Hawkeyes took two of three games in Columbus.

A look at the Buckeyes’ the top performers over the last 15 games:

Taylor Watkins – .455, 12 R, 10 RBI, 4 HR
Evelyn Carrillo – .375, 10 RBI, 2 HR
Cammi Prantl – .326, 10 RBI, 4 2B, 2 HR
Keelia Nester – .429, 1 2B, 1 3B

Top pitchers:
Olivia O’Reilly – 7-4, 3.16 ERA, 29 K
Shelby Hursh – 2-2, 5.20 ERA, 29 K

Melanie Nichols, a fifth-year senior, is looking to work her way up the career record books for wins and strikeouts. In 2010, she made an instant impact as a freshman, going 21-3 with a 1.92 earned-run average of a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Nichols redshirted in 2011 while recovering from an injury and returned in 2012 to start 25 games (12-9, 3.45 ERA, 82 K). In 2013, Nichols went 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 51 Ks. Currently, she ranks sixth in all-time in wins (43) and sixth in strikeouts (303).

Career wins
1. Kim Reeder (2006-09) – 77
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.) – 43

Career Strikeouts
1. Jamee Juarez (2004-07) – 747
5. Genice Turley (1994-95) – 307
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.) – 303

In addition, senior Evelyn Carrillo is also climbing her way up the career lists in hits and runs batted in. The senior from Corona, Calif., has played in 205 career games and currently ranks 10th in hits (208), just two shy of ninth place. Her 146 RBI are good for fifth place.

Career Hits
1. Anna Smith (1999-02) – 243
9. Nycole Koyano (2004-07) – 210
10. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.) – 208

Career RBI
1. Sam Marder (2007-10) – 191
4. Courtney Pruner (2006-10) – 158
5. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.) – 146

A look at where the Buckeyes stack up amongst their Big Ten counterparts:

Batting average – 5th, .286
Runs – 5th, 222
Hits – 5th, 357
RBI – 5th, 206
Doubles – 1st, 75

Big Ten-only games:
Batting average – 3rd, .308
ERA – 7th, 4.55
Runs – 6th, 95
Hits – 4th, 153

Additionally, several individuals rank among the Big Ten leaders – Evelyn Carrillo is second in Big Ten-only batting average (.459) while Taylor Watkins is fifth. Cammi Prantl is tied for fourth with 14 doubles. Caitlin Conrad is 11th in the conference in slugging percentage (.607) and Olivia O’Reilly is 12th in opposing batting average (.249).

Ohio State’s outfield of Caitlin Conrad, Cammi Prantl and Taylor Watkins have been dubbed “The Cannon Crew” (TCC) partly because the first letters of their first names spell TCC and also because they have combined for 19 outfield assists thus far. The group is also lethal at the plate:

Caitlin Conrad    .331, 34 RBI, 7 HR, 13 2B
Cammi Prantl     .314, 29 RBI, 14 2B, 30 R
Taylor Watkins  .365, 37 R, 27 RBI, 7 HR

Collectively, the group is hitting .337 with 90 RBI, 110 runs scored, 38 doubles, 12 stolen bases and 20 home runs.

The Buckeyes finished 12-2 at home this year, outscoring their opponents 85-45 (an average of 6.1 runs per game). Ohio State had a team batting average of .343 at Buckeye Field with 23 doubles, 16 home runs and a .545 slugging percentage. In the circle, opponents batted just .216 vs. Buckeye pitchers. Olivia O’Reilly went 9-2 at home with a 1.88 ERA.

The best home records over the last 10 years:
2010       14-1 (.933)
2006       21-2 (.913)
2007       21-2 (.913)
2014       12-2 (.857)
2005       13-4 (.765)

Evelyn Carrillo hit .529 (9-for-17) with a HR, 4 RBI and a .765 slugging percentage.
Taylor Watkins hit .467 with 3 HR, 7 runs scored, 2 2B, 4 RBI and a 1.200 slugging percentage while Cammi Prantl drove in a team-best six runs.
• In the circle, Olivia O’Reilly was 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA and two complete games.
• Shelby Hush went 2-0 with a shutout (3-0 vs. Penn State) and struck out 17 batters in 16.2 innings. She also got a save on Saturday vs. Northwestern.

Taylor Watkins • Jr. • CF • Tucson, Ariz.
In 20 Big Ten games, is batting .422 with 15 runs scored, 11 RBI and four home runs … is fourth in B1G-only batting average … named College Sports Madness Big Ten Player of the Week after hitting .467 last week with four RBI, three home runs and a 1.200 slugging percentage last week … has a 1.000 fielding percentage with 10 assists from center field … on the year, is hitting .365 with 37 runs scored and 27 RBI.

Evelyn Carrillo • Sr. • 1B • Corona, Calif.
Leads the Buckeyes in batting average (.375) … is hitting .459 in B1G-only games, second best in the league … has 33 RBI and 18 runs scored … third on the team with five home runs … in Ohio State’s Big Ten-opening series vs. Michigan State, hit .700 with two home runs and five RBI … has a .987 fielding percentage and was a member of the 2013 Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

Cammi Prantl • So. • LF • Ashville, Ohio
Is slugging a team-best .741 in B1G-only games … has 20 RBI in 20 conference games … is hitting .397 in Big Ten games with a league-best 11 doubles and three home runs … has started all 49 games and is batting .314 with 30 runs scored 29 RBI and 14 doubles … five assists from left field.

Caitlin Conrad • Jr. • RF • Richwood, Ohio
First member of this year’s 30/30 club with 38 runs scored and 34 RBI … currently ranks 11th in the Big Ten in slugging (.607) and 12th in total bases (88) … tied for the team lead in home runs (seven) … is hitting .331 with 13 doubles.

Several Buckeyes are enjoying significant statistical improvements at the plate from 2013 to 2014, including senior Melaina Saalfeld, junior Caitlin Conrad and sophomore Jayla Saibene.

Player                                   2013       2014       Diff.
Caitlin Conrad                    .285        .331        +.046
Melaina Saalfeld               .193        .241        +.048
Jayla Saibene                     .214        .247        +.033

The Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule will once again test Ohio State against some of the nation’s elite. In all, OSU will play at least 16 games against teams that qualified for last year’s NCAA Tournament, including eight against squads that advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Additionally, Ohio State plays 15 games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Top 25 poll. Nine of those games are against Top 10 teams.

• Despite losing two of three games, Ohio State outscored Purdue, 12-6
Cammi Prantl hit a team-best .444 over the weekend with a double, two RBI and a .500 on base percentage.
• Olivia O’Reilly limited the Boilermakers to just 10 hits over 17.2 innings.

Junior Olivia O’Reilly is enjoying a season for the Buckeyes as she leads team in every major pitching category, including wins (13), ERA (2.95), strikeouts (86) and complete games (12). Two weeks ago, she pitched 25.2 innings and gave up just six earned runs while registering three complete games and two shutouts.

A season-high crowd of 1,598 filled Buckeye Field on Sunday, marking the largest home crowd in at least 10 years. The top attendance figures in that span:

4/13/14 vs. Purdue – 1,598
4/11/09 vs. Illinois – 1,277
4/7/12 vs. Michigan – 1,217
4/27/14 vs. Northwestern – 1,194
5/19/07 vs. Cal State Fullerton – 1,175
5/2/12 vs. Iowa – 1,147
5/9/09 vs. Penn State – 1,105

• The Buckeyes’ top four hitters (Conrad, Watkins, Prantl, Carrillo) combined to go 21-for-41 (.512) with seven doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI.
• As a team, Ohio State hit .386 in the series.
• 13 of Ohio State’s 34 hits vs. the Hoosiers were for extra bases.

Ohio State’s offense posted several impressive numbers in its Big Ten-opening sweep of Michigan State. As a team, the Buckeyes hit .432 with 38 total hits, nine doubles, one triple and five home runs. Additionally, several players enjoyed big weekends, including:

Evelyn Carrillo – .700, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Cammi Prantl – .600, 3 2B, 6 runs
Keelia Nester – .571, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Caitlin Conrad – .455, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 HR

Entering the 2014 season, Ohio State returns eight of its top 10 hitters and all five of its pitchers. In total, 79.1 percent of its RBI total returns, 77.6 percent of its runs returns, 87.5 percent of its stolen bases and 82.2 percent of its total bases return.