May 13, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 6-seed Ohio State (33-22; 8-11 Big Ten) will play No. 3 Iowa (38-21; 14-6 Big Ten) in the single-elimination 2004 Big Ten Tournament at noon Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The winner of the Ohio State-Iowa game will face the winner of the No. 2 Illinois and No. 7 Penn State game at 5 p.m. Saturday. The championship game will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and will be broadcast by CSTV.

Ohio State softball players Kristi DeVries, Jamee Juarez and Karisa Evans were awarded All-Big Ten honors Wednesday, the conference announced. DeVries, a senior pitcher and first baseman from Corona, Calif., earned a spot on the second team as a utility player, while Juarez, a rookie pitcher and third baseman from La Puente, Calif., was the utility player on the third team. Evans, a junior outfielder from Franklin, Ohio, joined Juarez on the third team as an outfielder.

DeVries, who was a third team all-conference pick as a freshman, is 15-9 on the mound for Ohio State this season and currently is on a seven-game winning streak. Only the second player in Ohio State history to tally 600 career strikeouts, DeVries owns a 1.68 ERA this season and a 1.53 career ERA with a 58-27 overall record in four years at Ohio State. DeVries has played in 44-of-47 games this season and is batting .219 with 14 hits, five doubles and seven RBI. Juarez has started in all 53 games she has played in wearing the Scarlet and Gray. With a .303 average, Juarez leads the squad with 36 RBI and has tallied 47 hits, 25 runs, 73 total bases, 12 doubles, one triple and four homeruns. Juarez is 12-10 from the mound with one save for the Buckeyes with a 1.84 ERA. Juarez has tallied 80 assists, 39 putouts, owns a .975 fielding percentage and has stolen 8-of-10 bases for the Buckeyes.

Evans has started in 54-of-55 contests this season and is one of only two Buckeyes to compete in all 55 games. She is batting .318 with 24 runs, 68 total bases and 50 hits, which ranks second on the team. Evans has notched five doubles, two triples, three homeruns and 18 RBI. In addition to six sacrifice hits and two sacrifice flies to her name, Evans has stolen 5-of-7 bases this year. Defensively, Evans owns a .941 fielding percentage and has marked 32 putouts.

Two of the Buckeyes last three victories have been won in the sixth inning. Against Purdue, the Buckeyes laid on six runs at the top of the sixth to beat the Boilermakers and vs. Penn State, Ohio State tallied four scores at the top of the sixth to get the team’s eighth Big Ten win this season.

The 2004 senior class of P/1B Kristi DeVries, 3B Breana Pozzi and 1B/DP Beth McAbier has been a part of 160 victories while wearing the 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 April 27 tied the mark of 157 wins and the squad’s 6-4 victory at Purdue 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.

The Ohio State softball team (33-22; 8-11 Big Ten) split with Penn State last weekend in State College, Pa. The Buckeyes took game one, 4-1, and were led by senior pitcher Kristi DeVries (15-9 overall), who captured her seventh-consecutive win and tallied a two-run RBI double to aid the Ohio State offense. DeVries caught the last Penn State batter swinging at the bottom of the seventh to close the game and notched her 11th strikeout of the day and her 600th career strikeout.

Amidst two rain delays, the Ohio State softball team dropped game two, 4-2, Sunday afternoon. Ohio State and Penn State traded runs in the first inning and the Lady Lions notched one run in each of the third, fifth and sixth innings. Down 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Buckeyes rallied to score one run, but were forced to leave two runners on base to end the final regular-season game. Rookie outfielder Megan Schwab went 2-for-3 with two RBI, but it would not prove to be enough for the Buckeyes. OSU freshman pitcher Jamee Juarez fell to 12-10 overall and PSU’s Marisa Hanson (6-11) was credited with the win.

Iowa is 38-21,14-6 in the Big Ten and finished third in the Big Ten. In her 17th season at the helm, head coach Gayle Blevins won her 1,000th career game with a 9-1, six-inning victory over Coe College April 16. She became just the third Division I coach to reach 1,000 wins. The Hawkeyes are a strong hitting, pitching and fielding team, as they bat .265, own a 1.21 ERA and tally a .967 fielding average. Infielder Kylie Murray is second on the team with a .298 batting average but has the most hits (54). Leading hitter Natalie Johnson has a .308 average and leads the team with 38 runs scored. Lisa Birroci is the ace of the pitching staff with a 21-11 mark and a 0.98 ERA. Ali Arnold is the No. 2 pitcher with a 1.40 ERA and a17-10 overall record from the circle.

Ohio State and Iowa split when the two squads met earlier in the season in a doubleheader April 25. In game one, the Buckeyes beat the Hawkeyes, 5-3, at Pearl Field in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State scored three runs in the top of the seventh to send the game into extra innings and tallied two scores in the ninth to capture the come-from-behind victory. Chelsea Baker nailed a homerun to open the seventh and Natalie Hales and Meghan Rowlands scored to tie the game at 3-3. Ashley Cutcliff also hit a homerun at the top of the ninth to put the Buckeyes up, 4-3, and Karisa Evans crossed home plate to give Ohio State the 5-3 win over the Hawkeyes. Ohio State pitcher Kristi DeVries earned the victory in the circle for OSU.

In game two, Ohio State fell 4-0. Iowa scored two runs in the first and fourth innings to capture the Hawkeyes’ 11th Big Ten victory this season. Buckeye pitcher Chelsea Baker moved to 6-3 on the season and Iowa’s Lisa Birocci improved to 16-9 on the year. The Buckeyes tallied three hits for the game. Freshman Christina Douglas hit a ball that fell fair directly inside the left-field line in the second, Karisa Evans singled to left field in the third and pinch hitter Billie Jo Carder singled at the top of the seventh.

Senior Kristi DeVries has lowered her ERA from 3.78 (as of Feb. 27) to her current 1.68 ERA. DeVries has reached two milestones this season with her 500th and 600th career strikeouts. DeVries caught the final Penn State batter swinging May 8 in State College, Pa., to account for her 11th strikeout of the day and her 600th career strikeout. DeVries is only the second Buckeye pitcher to total 600 career strikeouts. Former teammate Katie Chain, who graduated last year and is the OSU record holder, notched 692 during her four-year stint at OSU. Penn State’s Shana Riggleman fell to 9-5 on the season.

DeVries’ 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 600 career strikeouts.

While Ohio State pitcher and first baseman Kristi DeVries is contributing in a major way from the mound and as a part of the Buckeye defense, she is also adding to the Ohio State offense. In Big Ten games, she is batting .320 with a team-high five doubles (tied with Jamee Juarez), four RBI and a team-leading .520 slugging percentage.

Nycole Koyano has been on fire at the plate during the Buckeyes’ last seven victories. The rookie second baseman has started all seven game and is batting .478 with a team-high 11 hits and a team-best 13 RBI. She has scored five runs, hit two doubles and has a .565 slugging percentage and a Buckeye-best .500 on-base percentage.

Jamee Juarez tallied two RBI in game one vs. Penn State May 8 and upped her career total to 36 RBI, which leads the team and broke the rookie RBI record of 35. Current team manager Kristine Himes held the previous record of 35, which she set in 2000.

Ohio State pitcher Kristi DeVries has won seven-consecutive games on the mound for the Buckeyes. Her last seven victories have come vs. Kentucky, at Illinois, at Iowa, vs. Wright State, at Purdue, at Indiana and at Penn State. In her seven consecutive wins, DeVries has seen 167 batters, pitched 45.2 innings, tallied 50 strikeouts and compiled a 1.38 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 seven 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 110 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 15 strikes from moving to No. 3 on the rookie record list.

The Ohio State softball team finished 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 May 1-2 and finished up the regular-season Big Ten schedule at Penn State last weekend.

In overall Big Ten statistics as of May 10, 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 1.70 ERA. In addition, the Buckeyes rank third among Big Ten leaders in slugging percentage (.387) and third in on-base percentage (.343). OSU is No. 4 in the Big Ten for stolen bases (67).

Individually, rookie Megan Schwab is tied for third with 13 doubles. Freshman Nycole Koyano is tied for sixth among conference leaders in runs scored (33), sixth in on-base percentage (.431), tied for third for walks (27) and tied for No. 5 in stolen bases (16). Jamee Juarez ranked tied for fifth in RBI (36). Sophomore Chelsea Baker was No. 8 with a 1.58 ERA and senior Kristi DeVries ranked ninth in the league for strikeouts (174).

-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.

-Karisa Evans, Jamee Juarez and Nycole Koyano each own a team-best 13 multi-hit games this season. Megan Schwab has 11 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 .299 (as of May 10).

-Koyano has upped her average from .105 (as of Feb. 28) to .336 (as of May 10).

-Koyano (at second base) has started all 55 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 62-23 in the first inning of games this season.

-Nycole Koyano leads Ohio State in hits (51), followed by Karisa Evans, who has 50 on the season. Jamee Juarez and Ashley Cutcliff have 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 .433 on-base percentage and leads the team with 33 runs and 16 stolen bases (of 18 attempted). Her 33 runs scored are No. 2 among Buckeye all-time freshmen leaders (five 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 (.295) has 49 hits. Schwab has 13 doubles, best on the squad. Jamee Juarez follows with 12 doubles.

-Juarez owns a team-best 36 RBI, while Schwab is next with 23.

-Ashley Cutcliff owns the best slugging percentage (.588) on the squad.

-Kristi DeVries (15-9, 1.68 ERA) owns a team-best 174 strikeouts in 150.1 innings pitched and opponents are hitting just .188 against her – a team high. Juarez (12-10, 1.84 ERA) owns 110 strikeouts and Baker is 6-3 with a 1.58 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 261-189-2 in her eighth season at Ohio State and 534-304-2 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 534-304-2 in her 16th season as a collegiate head coach and 261-189-2 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.

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.