May 6, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team (32-21; 7-10 Big Ten) finishes the regular season at Penn State with games slated for 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in College Park, Pa. The Buckeyes have accumulated an overall mark of 32-21 and a conference record of 7-10, which puts OSU in sixth place among current Big Ten standings. The top eight teams in the conference will compete in the 2004 Big Ten Tournament, which will be held at the first-place team’s home field May 13-16. Michigan is currently atop the Big Ten with a 17-3 league record.

The 2004 senior class of P/1B Kristi DeVries, 3B Breana Pozzi and 1B/DP Beth McAbier has been a part of 159 victories while wearing scarlet and gray, which gives the three student-athletes the record for the winningest class in Ohio State history. An 11-1 win vs. Wright State last Wednesday (April 27) tied the mark of 157 wins and the squad’s 6-4 victory at Purdue Friday (May 1) put them alone as the record holders. The senior class of 2003 held the previous record of 157 career victories. This season marks the third-consecutive season the Buckeye senior class has broken the school’s wins record.

After an 11-1 midweek victory in five innings over Wright State, the Ohio State softball team beat Purdue, 6-4, last Friday night in West Lafayette, Ind., and split with Indiana in a doubleheader Sunday. The Saturday afternoon game vs. the Boilermakers was cancelled because of inclement weather. With the 6-4 win at the Varsity Softball Complex in West Lafayette, Ind., the senior class of Kristi DeVries, Beth McAbier and Breana Pozzi became the winningest class in OSU history. The Buckeyes scored the first run for either team by tallying six runs at the top of the sixth inning to take a 6-0 lead. Purdue fought back by notching two runs each in the bottom of the sixth and seven innings, but the Buckeyes held on for their sixth conference win this season. Senior pitcher DeVries won her fifth-consecutive game and freshman pitcher Jamee Juarez notched her first save of the season. Purdue’s Brooke Baker fell to 16-11 for the year.

The Buckeyes beat the Hoosiers, 4-3, in game one at the Varsity Softball Complex in Bloomington, Ind. After three innings with no runs for either squad, Ohio State tallied three scores at the top of the fourth and one at the top of the fifth. Indiana answered when Kim Richards nailed a homerun at the bottom of the fifth and the Hoosiers tacked on two more runs at the bottom of the sixth, but the Buckeyes held on for their seventh conference victory of the season. Ohio State pitcher DeVries won her sixth-consecutive game and Indiana’s Megan Roark moved to 10-10 on the season.

Game two would prove to not be as kind to the Ohio State squad, as the Buckeyes fell 4-1 in game two in Bloomington. Catcher Natalie Hales nailed a homerun at the bottom of the fifth to tie the game, but Indiana responded with three runs in the top of the sixth to capture the Big Ten victory. The Hoosiers tallied 14 hits compared to Ohio State’s four hits. Buckeye pitcher Juarez fell to 12-9 on the season and Indiana’s Heather Stillians improved to 6-3. IU’s Mariangee Bogado was credited with her fourth save of the season.

Penn State is 24-31 overall and 7-11 in the Big Ten, which is currently tied with Michigan State for the seventh-place spot in the conference. The Lady Lions are led at the plate by Jen Williams and Meghan Wolfer, who are batting .333 and .317, respectively. Williams leads the team in runs (26), hits (58) and stolen bases with a whopping 33-of-37 attempted for the season. Leigh Murray, who bats .294, has racked up a team-best 20 RBI and a team-leading six homeruns. Kate Gentile, Barbie Pierce and Meghan Wolfer round out the offense for the Lady Lions. Gentile has 19 RBI, seven doubles and two homeruns; Pierce hits .221 with 34 hits, a team-high eight doubles and 18 RBI. On the mound, Shana Riggleman is 9-4 with a 1.65 ERA, while Missy Beseres is 10-16 with a 2.04 ERA. Marisa Hanson has thrown 16 games this season and has accumulated a 5-11 overall mark with a 2.11 ERA. Head coach Robin Petrini is in her eighth season at the helm of the PSU program. Petrini has made four-consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament and has made an appearance in four of the last five Big Ten tournaments.

Ohio State pitcher Kristi DeVries has won six-consecutive games on the mound for the Buckeyes. Her last six victories have come vs. Kentucky, at Illinois, at Iowa, vs. Wright State, at Purdue and at Indiana. In her six consecutive wins, DeVries has seen 140 batters, pitched 38.2 innings, tallied 39 strikeouts and compiled a 1.45 ERA.

Sophomore Chelsea Baker is 10-for-10 when it comes to stealing bases. She is one of five Buckeyes to have attempted at least 10 stolen bases this season and the only one with a perfect record. Last season, Baker attempted one and was caught trying to steal that base.

Rookie Nycole Koyano is holding her own as the squad’s leader with 16-of-18 stolen bases on the year. Sixteen stolen bases is an Ohio State freshman record. Baker and Koyano are the only two Buckeyes to have stolen 10 ore more bases this season.

Senior pitcher Kristi DeVries, who has won the last six games she has started, blanked Illinois April 23, 1-0, for her 25th career shutout, which is just one shutout away from the Ohio State record of 26 held by Katie Chain (2000-03).

Ohio State won its first extra-inning game April 17 when it beat Michigan State, 8-7, in eight innings and tallied a second extra-inning victory when the Buckeyes beat the Hawkeyes of Iowa, 5-3, in game one April 25. Previously, Ohio State dropped a nine-inning game vs. Massachusetts Feb. 29 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga., and lost to Minnesota in 10 innings, 1-0, during the Big Ten opener April 2 at Buckeye Field in Columbus, Ohio.

With seven strikeouts in the 8-7 Buckeye win over Michigan State April 17, freshman pitcher Jamee Juarez had tallied 102 total strikeouts this season. She now has 107 total strikeouts and is ranked No. 4 on the all-time rookie records list. Juarez is only the fourth freshman pitcher in Buckeye history to reach the 100 strikeouts milestone and is 19 strikes from moving to No. 3 on the rookie record list.

The Ohio State softball team will finish Big Ten play on the road the final three weekends of conference competition. The Buckeyes traveled to Illinois and Iowa April 23-25, Purdue and Indiana last weekend and finish up the regular-season Big Ten schedule at Penn State this weekend.

In overall Big Ten statistics as of May 3, Ohio State boasted the league’s third-best offense with a .272 batting average and are fifth with a pitching staff that had tallied a 1.69 ERA. In addition, the Buckeyes rank fourth among Big Ten leaders in slugging percentage (.389) and fourth in on-base percentage (.344). OSU is No. 4 in the Big Ten for stolen bases (66).

Individually, rookie Megan Schwab was tied for fourth with 12 doubles. Freshman Nycole Koyano is tied for sixth among conference leaders in runs scored (32), tied for fifth in on-base percentage (.437), third for walks (27) and tied for No. 5 in stolen bases (16). Jamee Juarez ranked tied for fifth in RBI (34). Sophomore Chelsea Baker was No. 8 with a 1.52 ERA and senior Kristi DeVries ranked ninth in the league for strikeouts (163).

-With a stolen base vs. Dayton April 7, Nycole Koyano set an Ohio State record for stolen bases by a freshman with 13. She has 16 for the season. The previous record of 12 was set by Candace Kollen in 1995.

-Sophomore Stacy Hibma’s home runs April 6 and 7 were her first of the season. Her second homer, a two-run shot vs. Dayton, accounted for her first career multi-RBI game.

-Juarez owns a team-high 34 RBI, which is closing in on the Ohio State record for RBI by a freshman, held by Kristine Himes with 35 in 2000.

-Karisa Evans, Jamee Juarez each own a team-best 13 multi-hit games this season. Nycole Koyano has tallied 12 multi-hit outings and Megan Schwab has 10 for the year.

-With a homerun vs. Butler last Tuesday, Chelsea Baker extended her hitting streak to nine games, which ended a game later but ranks as the best on the team this season. Baker has improved her batting average from .100 (as of March 6) to .298 (as of May 3).

-Koyano has upped her average from .105 (as of Feb. 28) to .336 (as of May 3).

-Koyano (at second base) has started all 53 games this year.

-Juarez’s 12 pitching wins rank fifth in Ohio State history for wins by a freshman. The record is 16 and is held by senior Kristi DeVries (2001).

-The Buckeyes have out-scored their opponents 61-22 in the first inning of games this season.

-Nycole Koyano leads Ohio State in hits (49), followed by Karisa Evans, who has 48 on the season. Jamee Juarez and Ashley Cutcliff has nailed a team-high four homeruns, which leads OSU, followed by Evans, Chelsea Baker, Natalie Hales and Megan Schwab, who all have hit three dingers this season.

-Koyano is batting .336 with 12 RBI and a .437 on-base percentage and leads the team with 32 runs and 16 stolen bases (of 18 attempted). Her 32 runs scored are No. 2 among Buckeye all-time freshmen leaders (six from the record of 38 held by Candace Kollen) and her 16 stolen bases is a record for a rookie Buckeye softball player.

-Megan Schwab (.288) has 46 hits. Schwab has 11 doubles, best on the squad.

-Juarez owns a team-best 34 RBI, while Schwab is next with 21.

-Ashley Cutcliff owns the best slugging percentage (.609) on the squad.

-Kristi DeVries (14-9, 1.71 ERA) owns a team-best 163 strikeouts in 143.1 innings pitched and opponents are hitting just .187 against her. Juarez (12-9, 1.80 ERA) owns 107 strikeouts and Baker is 6-3 with a 1.52 ERA.

With the Buckeyes’ 8-0 win vs. Dayton in the first game of a double-header April 7, Ohio State head coach Linda Kalafatis collected her 250th win at the helm of the Buckeye softball program. Already Ohio State’s all-time wins leader, Kalafatis has improved to 260-188-2 in her eighth season at Ohio State and 533-303-2 overall in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

The 2003 season provided Ohio State head coach Linda Kalafatis with a pair of prestigious accomplishments. A 4-1 win vs. Toledo April 9 was Kalafatis’ school-record 221st while at Ohio State, surpassing the previous record of 220 set by Gail Davenport from 1989-1996. Then April 30 a 6-0 win vs. Marshall gave Kalafatis her 500th career victory as a collegiate head coach. Kalafatis is now 533-303-2 in her 16th season as a collegiate head coach and 260-188-2 in her eighth season at the helm of the Ohio State program.

Former Buckeye standout Chrissy Fowler has joined the Ohio State softball coaching staff. Fowler, a 2002 OSU graduate, was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes from 2000-02 in the outfield and was an integral part of Ohio State’s record-setting teams in 2001 and 2002 that finished 46-18 and 55-14, respectively. In 2000, she was named the team’s scholar athlete of the year and earned the Buckeye spirit award. In 2001 she was named the team’s most improved player.

Fowler, who graduated with degrees in sociology and women’s studies, is a native of Utica. Fowler will be coaching the Buckeye outfielders in place of Drema Neal, who is on medical leave.

Senior Kristi DeVries has lowered her ERA from 3.78 (as of Feb. 27) to her current 1.71 ERA. Her ninth and final strikeout at No. 15 Fresno State March 26 was her 500th career strikeout, making her just the second pitcher in Ohio State history to reach the 500 strikeout plateau. Katie Chain holds the record with 692 from 2000-03. DeVries has a total of 589 career strikeouts.

Ohio State junior Ashley Cutcliff and freshman Jamee Juarez both were named to the nine-member Buckeye Invitational All-Tournament Team. Cutcliff batted .833 (5-for-6) during the weekend with three RBI, while Juarez batted .556 (5-for-9) with a double, triple and four RBI. Juarez also went 1-0 on the mound with a 0.00 ERA in nine innings pitched.

Ohio State’s Chelsea Baker and Megan Schwab both were named to the all-tournament team of the Winthrop Invitational March 12-14.

Baker went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 15.0 innings during the tournament and tossed a one-hit shutout vs. Furman Saturday. She also was impressive with the bat, hitting .467 (7-for-15) with a double and home run.

Schwab batted .412 (7-for-17) during the weekend with two doubles, a home run and six RBI. Her home run, a leadoff homer vs. Jacksonville State, was her second of the season and her 4-for-4 performance vs. tournament host Winthrop was her second such perfect effort of the season.

Senior Kristi DeVries tossed a six-inning perfect game in Ohio State’s 8-0 mercy rule win vs. Wright State March 6 at the Dayton Flyer Invitational. DeVries set down all 18 Raider batters she faced, striking out a season-high 10 hitters and retiring the remaining eight batters with four ground-outs and four pop-outs. The Big Ten named her the league’s Pitcher of the Week for her efforts.

The game marked DeVries’ 20th career shutout (ranked 2nd all-time) and second career no-hitter, with her first coming April 17, 2002 vs. Morehead State. She took a perfect game into the seventh inning vs. Robert Morris as a freshman (March 20, 2001) but allowed a hit in the seventh inning.

Seven starters return for the Buckeyes in 2004, including senior P/1B Kristi DeVries (.288, 15 RBI, 12-8, 1.33 ERA), junior OF Karisa Evans (.345, 13 2b, 17 RBI), junior 1B/DP Ashley Cutcliff (.280, 5 HR), sophomore SS Billie Jo Carder (.271), junior OF Meghan Rowlands (.192), senior 1B/DP Beth McAbier (.185) and junior IF Jennifer Johnson (.169). A total of 13 letterwinners return.

Senior P/1B Kristi DeVries and senior 3B Breana Pozzi have been selected as co-captains for the 2004 Buckeyes. DeVries is already near the top of most Ohio State pitching records and also has been a solid contributor at the plate for the Buckeyes, as well. Pozzi, who heads into the 2004 season as the starter at third base, has proven to be a spark at the plate for Ohio State. Nagging injuries hampered her junior season after she batted .329 with 12 RBI as a sophomore.

The 2003 senior class left Ohio State as the winningest class in the history of the program. 3B Kristine Himes, 2B Jennifer Link, IF Elizabeth Kacsanek, OF Rogeanna Hottinger, OF Amy Ellis, C Annie Dedic and P Katie Chain racked up 157 victories while wearing scarlet and gray.

Chain set career records at Ohio State for innings pitched (677.1), wins (67), strikeouts (692) and shutouts (26). She and Link received All-America honors in 2002, while Himes belted a school-record 41 career home runs.

The Ohio State softball program is looking to return to their winning ways under the direction of head coach Linda Kalafatis, who is in her eighth season at the helm of the Buckeye program. A combination of new talent, experienced leaders, versatility and lights at Buckeye Field for the first time in program history should prove to add up to an exciting softball season in Columbus.

Ohio State finished 55-14 in 2002 but saw its record slip to 26-23 last season.

“We were not pleased with the second half of our season (last year) and I think that really has motivated our team,” Kalafatis said. “I think we have some very determined young ladies.”

In addition to a freshman class that will contribute immediately, Kalafatis is confident in her senior class, which consists of DeVries, McAbier and Pozzi.

“We have three seniors who are all capable of having their best seasons yet,” Kalafatis said. “So far they have provided good leadership for our team and they have the potential to leave as the winningest class in Ohio State softball history, like the two previous senior classes did.”

The pitching mound will have one of the Buckeyes’ leaders and all-time best pitchers this year in DeVries, who ranks second in career wins and strikeouts at Ohio State. The infield is perhaps where the most experience and the most versatility lies on the Buckeye squad. Returnees include DeVries, who doubles as a pitcher and first base player, McAbier, who led the team with 211 putouts last year at first base, Carder and Johnson, who shared time at shortstop last season, and Pozzi, who split time between third base and shortstop. A pair of catchers, junior Natalie Hales and sophomore Stacy Hibma, played in 16 and 28 games, respectively, last year. Rowlands, who played left field last season, will shift to center field this season and will be joined by returning starter junior Karisa Evans, who batted a team-high .345 in 2003.

Ohio State fashioned a perfect 9-0 record during the fall over two weekends of tournament play. Once again Ohio State hosted the Ohio Collegiate Charity Classic, which raised nearly $10,000 for breast cancer research. Kalafatis’ squad won the event with a 5-0 record for the third consecutive year. A week later, the Buckeyes were a flawless 4-0 at the Wright State Fall Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.

The top eight teams in the conference will compete in the 2004 Big Ten Tournament, which will be held at the first-place team’s home field May 13-16. Michigan is currently atop the Big Ten with a 17-3 league record. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 6 with a 7-10 record heading into this weekend’s games at Penn State.