May 5, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a two-game series that will determine their seed in the Big Ten tournament next weekend, Ohio State and Penn State meet this weekend in Columbus at 6 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Buckeyes (30-16, 7-7 Big Ten) are 4-2 in their last six Big Ten games and 10-2 in their last 12 games overall, while the Nittany Lions (34-18, 10-7 Big Ten) have won four consecutive Big Ten games and are 12-4 in their last 16 games overall.

Ohio State is coming off three wins in four games earlier this week against non-conference opponents Akron Tues. (won 11-3 and 7-3) and at Pittsburgh Wed. (won 6-0, lost 5-2). The Buckeyes will depart next Wed. for the Big Ten tournament at either Northwestern (15-1 Big Ten) or Michigan (14-2), who meet for the deciding two games this weekend in Ann Arbor.

The Ohio State student radio station, KBUX, will broadcast both games of the Ohio State vs. Penn State series this weekend. Their coverage can be heard on the internet at, with Jeff Svoboda and Gavin Blair bringing the call. Also live on the web, GameTracker will be available for both games at

In national statistical rankings through May 1, Ohio State was ranked among the national leaders in six categories, including batting average (No. 7, .325), scoring (No. 10, 5.98 runs/gm.), doubles (No. 6, 1.60/gm.), triples (No. 7, .40/gm.), stolen bases (No. 19, 1.71/gm.) and slugging percentage (No. 13, .502). In individual rankings, Ohio State’s Nycole Koyano was ranked No. 3 in triples per game (.18), No. 9 in walks per game (.70) and No. 28 in runs per game (.90). Karisa Evans was No. 17 in sacrifice hits per game (.32) and Jamee Juarez was tied for No. 24 in pitching wins (21).

Six teams have already clinched a spot in the Big Ten tournament, including Northwestern (15-1 Big Ten), Michigan (13-2), Iowa (11-5), Penn State (10-7), Wisconsin (9-9) and Ohio State (7-7). Michigan State (7-9) concluded its Big Ten schedule last weekend and will wait to see how Purdue (8-10, vs. Indiana 2-16) and Minnesota (6-12, vs. Wisconsin) fare this weekend.

Ohio State is 32-23 all-time against Penn State. The two teams have split their two regular season games each of the last three years. Ohio State owns a 10-4 record against Penn State all-time at Buckeye Field and has swept PSU three times, the last of which came in 2001. The Nittany Lions have never swept the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Ohio State seniors Ashley Cutcliff, Karisa Evans, Natalie Hales, Jennifer Johnson and Meghan Rowlands will be playing their final games at Buckeye Field this weekend. Their 146 wins while at Ohio State are fourth-most in school history for one class and they have helped lead the Buckeyes to both of the school’s NCAA tournament appearances (2002, 2004). Heading into the Penn State series, these five seniors are 146-78 at Ohio State for a .652 winning percentage. Ohio State’s 2004 senior class set the all-time wins record for a class with a 162-80 (.669) record. The 2003 class ranks second with 154 wins and the 2002 class ranks third with 149 wins.

With a 6-0 win over Pittsburgh Wed., Ohio State improved to 30-15 for the ninth 30-win season in school history. Five of those 30-win seasons have come under the direction of Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State’s ninth-year head coach.

Ohio State’s double-header at Pittsburgh Wed. brought to an end the Buckeyes’ regular-season non-conference schedule. Against its final 17 non-Big Ten opponents, Ohio State was 19-3. Overall this season, Ohio State was 23-9 in non-conference games, including one win over a ranked team, that being then-No. 19 Georgia Tech (now No. 17) March 6 in Marietta, Ga.

Three Ohio State seniors have been nominated for the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-America team. Meghan Rowlands and Jennifer Johnson, both English majors, and Ashley Cutcliff, a sports and leisure studies major, all have built career grade point averages over 3.2 and will be on the all-region ballot that goes to SIDs across District IV (Ohio, Mich., Ky., Tenn., Ala.). The first-team Academic All-District IV honorees will then be on the All-America ballot.

Ohio State’s .322 overall batting average is No. 2 in the Big Ten and is among the national leaders (No. 7 as of May 1 at .325). OSU opponents are hitting .253 overall. The Buckeyes have over twice as many doubles (77-33) and over three times as many triples (17-5). Ohio State is 19-for-48 (.396) when the bases are loaded with three grand slams. OSU increases its batting average to .375 with runners in scoring position and to .495 with a runner on third base and less than two outs. Buckeye pitchers have racked up 247 strikeouts, while OSU hitters have struck out only 177.

The Buckeyes are 29-6 when scoring at least three runs and 18-2 when holding their opponents to two or fewer runs. OSU is 12-2 when scoring in the first inning and 24-6 when scoring first in the game. Ohio State is 28-3 when outhitting or having the same number of hits as its opponent.

Ohio State is 10-2 in its last 12 games, which includes a 3-1 record in Big Ten games. The Buckeyes swept Wright State Apr. 19 and Bowling Green Apr. 27 before getting back into Big Ten play against Indiana and Purdue Apr. 29-May 1. OSU swept the Hoosiers and split with the Boilermakers. Earlier this week, Ohio State took two games from Akron and went 1-1 at Pittsburgh.

During that 12-game stretch, five Buckeyes hit over .400, including Stacy Hibma (.467), Karisa Evans (.448), Nycole Koyano (.405), Chelsea Baker (.405) and Ashley Cutcliff (.400). Jamee Juarez won seven of those games (7-1, 1.45 ERA) and Chelsea Baker won three (3-1, 2.88 ERA). Ohio State out-homered its opponents 12-4 and out-doubled them 26-3.

Penn State (34-18, 10-7 Big Ten) comes to Columbus riding a six game winning streak (vs. Akron, Purdue and Indiana). Ohio State is 5-1 against those same three opponents over the last week, as well. The Nittany Lions are 5-2 in their last seven Big Ten games, including a 2-1 win over No. 1 ranked Michigan May 22.

Penn State, which ranks No. 30 in the nation in batting average (.298), is led by Ashley Esparza, who is 2nd in the Big Ten and No. 27 in the nation in batting average (.413). In the Big Ten, she ranks 4th in hits (64) and 5th in on-base percentage (.492). Jen Acunto is 12th in avg. (.374), 3rd in hits (65), and 10th in home runs (9).

The PSU pitching staff is led by the current Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, Missy Beseres, who ranks No. 28 in the nation in strikeouts per game (9.4). She posted a 3-0 record and had a 0.36 ERA and 14 strikeouts during her 19.1 innings pitched last week. For the season her overall record is 15-10 with a 1.39 ERA (7th in Big Ten) and 238 strikeouts (2nd in Big Ten). She is joined by Esparza (12-4, 1.67, 9th in Big Ten) and Jenn Reynolds (7-4, 1.69, 10th in Big Ten).

Sophomore Jamee Juarez continues to move up several categories in the Ohio State single-season and career pitching record book. Her 293 career strikeouts are fourth all-time and are closing in on No. 3 Genice Turley’s 307. Juarez owns 36 career wins, which rank sixth all-time and are two away from current Ohio State assistant coach and No. 5 Belinda (Cernava) Quisenberry’s 38. Juarez also owns 11 career shutouts, which ranks tied for No. 7.

In single-season rankings, Juarez’s 23 wins are one shy of the OSU record of 24 set by Turley in 1994. Juarez has collected 175 strikeouts this season, which rank fourth, and her 193.0 innings pitched are No. 5. Juarez owns eight shutouts in 2005, which are tied for No. 3. Juarez has started in the circle in 31 of Ohio State’s 46 games this season and has been the pitcher of record in 34 games. She has pitched 72 of the Buckeyes’ 92.2 innings against Big Ten opponents. To begin the season, Juarez was 2-4 in her first six decisions before winning nine consecutive games from Feb. 27 to March 24. She also had a six-game winning streak from Apr. 17 to May 1.

Ohio State ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten in batting (.322) and No. 2 in scoring (6.02 runs/game). OSU is No. 8 in pitching (2.98 ERA) and fielding (.955), but those rankings improve in Big Ten games to No. 5 in pitching (3.40 ERA) and No. 4 in fielding (.966) in league contests. In all games, OSU ranks tied for No. 2 in doubles (77), is No. 1 in triples (17), No. 2 in stolen bases (82) and has struck out the fewest times (177, Michigan is No. 2 at 220).

Ohio State has three of the conference’s Top 10 on base percentage leaders, as Nycole Koyano ranks fourth (.475), Karisa Evans ranks fifth (.473) and Jamee Juarez ranks ninth (.455). Megan Schwab owns the No. 7 slugging percentage (.648). Koyano is tied for the Big Ten lead in triples (7), ranks No. 4 in walks (29) and No. 7 in stolen bases (15, Brittany Vanderink is No. 8 with 14). Evans is tied for the league lead in sacrifice bunts (12). Among Big Ten pitchers, Juarez ranks No. 3 in wins (23) and No. 7 in strikeouts (175).

Chelsea Baker (.377, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 6-3, 3.93 ERA) had an eight-game hitting streak from Apr. 16-30, during which she went 12-for-23 (.522) with a home run, four doubles and six RBI. In her four games this week she is 5-for-13 (.385) with seven RBI. She had a career-high four RBI vs. Akron May 3. Baker’s avg. is No. 2 on the team and her .459 avg. with runners on base is also No. 2.

Liz Caputo (.360, 4 HR, 19 RBI) is batting .472 (17-for-36) in her last 14 games to raise her average to fifth-best on the team. She enters the weekend with a career-best six-game hitting streak. Her .480 avg. in Big Ten games is best on the squad. Caputo’s four home runs are tied for second in OSU history for HR by a freshman. 13 of her 19 RBI have come with two outs (tied for team lead). She was a perfect 6-for-6 in the double-header at Minnesota Apr. 3 with a home run. Caputo hit two home runs Feb. 27 vs. Long Island, one of which was a grand slam, to set an OSU freshman record with seven RBI.

Billie Jo Carder (.311, 3 HR, 25 RBI) owns a team-best .468 avg. (22-for-47) with runners in scoring position and 13 of her RBI have come with two outs, tied for tops on the team. She has at least one hit in nine of her last 12 games and has 11 RBI during that stretch. In Big Ten games she has driven in a team-high 14 runs. Carder went 4-for-7 in the double-header vs. Illinois Apr. 17 with four RBI in game two. She had a career-high four hits in a 12-7 win over Marshall 3/20. Her grand slam against Mississippi St. 3/6 helped led to an 11-0 win.

Ashley Cutcliff (.429, 5 HR, 18 RBI) was nominated for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors Apr. 19. Her avg. is best on the team and she increases it to a team-best .472 (17-for-36) with runners on base. Eight times in her career has she collected three hits in a game, including three times in 2005. Cutcliff’s 14 career home runs, the most recent of which came Wed. at Pittsburgh, are 4th-most in OSU history.

Christina Douglas (.280, 4 HR, 29 RBI) is tied for the team-lead in doubles (11) and ranks No. 2 in RBI. Her 12 RBI in Big Ten games is also No. 2. She went 4-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI at Minnesota Apr. 3 and had six RBI vs. Marshall March 20. Douglas was named to the all-tournament team of the Buckeye Invitational March 18-20 after hitting .500 (4-for-8) in the event with two doubles, a grand slam and eight RBI.

Karisa Evans (.352, 1 HR, 20 RBI) is batting .435 (20-for-46) in her last 16 games. In Big Ten games, her .343 avg. is No. 4 on the team. She leads Ohio State in sacrifice bunts with 12, which is tied for second in the Big Ten and ranks No. 17 in the country. Her success rate of advancing runners in best on the team, both in Big Ten games (.789) and in all games (.662). Her career batting average of .336 is eighth-best in school history.

Nicole Gragson (1-2, 5.25 ERA) has been charged with only two earned runs in her last six appearances (8.2 IP). She threw a three strikeout inning at Wright State Apr. 19. She pitched six solid innings against Iowa (now ranked No. 18) March 6 in the championship game of the Buzz Classic.

Natalie Hales (.203, 1 HR, 3 RBI) went 2-for-3 vs. Illinois Apr. 17 and 1-for-3 vs. Indiana Apr. 30. She hit her fourth career home run March 23 in OSU’s 6-1 win at Cal State Fullerton.

Stacy Hibma (.327, 5 HR, 12 RBI) had a career-best six-game hitting streak from Apr. 19-May 4, during which time she batted .500 (7-for-14). She went 2-for-3 with a homer at Wright State Apr. 19 and hit another homer, her fifth of the season, Wed. at Pittsburgh. She hit two home runs vs. Boston 3/5.

Stephanie Hill (3 ab, .000) has entered the game as a pinch runner 27 times this season, most on the team. She has scored 14 runs and has six stolen bases.

Jennifer Johnson (.042, 0 HR, 2 RBI) owns 83 fielding assists, second-most on the team, and has committed just one error in 48 fielding chances in Big Ten play. She was nominated for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors Apr. 19. Johnson has started 43 games at shortstop this season, the most of any Buckeye at any one position. She has started in 157 games as a Buckeye, the most among active players.

Jamee Juarez (.363, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 23-11, 2.10 ERA) has been the starting pitcher in 31 of OSU’s 46 games and in all but one Big Ten game. She has been the pitcher of record in 34 games. Juarez ranks 4th on the OSU all-time strikeout list (293) and second on the single-season wins list (record is 24). Juarez won nine consecutive games from Feb. 27-March 24. Juarez had an 11 game hitting streak from March 6-April 3. Juarez was named to the all-tournament team of the Buckeye Invitational when she pitched OSU to each of its three wins in the event and batted .556 (5-for-9). She has been named the Big Ten Player of the Week twice in 2005.

Nycole Koyano (.354, 1 HR, 15 RBI) led the nation in triples as of Apr. 24 with .21 per game (now ranks 3rd, .18). As of May 1, she ranked No. 9 in the country in walks per game with .70 and was No. 28 in runs per game with .90. Her triples total is third-most in a season at OSU and her walks are tied for fifth-most. She owns a .886 career stolen base percentage (31-for-35, team-high 15 SB in 2005) and set the OSU freshman stolen bases record last year with 16. Koyano was named to the all-tournament team of the Buckeye Invitational March 18-20. She set an OSU single-game record in the Buckeyes’ season-opening 8-0 win vs. Rutgers with two triples.

Nicole Lancaster (.238, 0 HR, 1 RBI) hit her second double of the season Apr. 27 vs. BGSU. She had a career-best day March 5 against SDSU when she went 2-for-2 with two runs scored, an RBI and a double.

Meghan Rowlands (.217, 1 HR, 6 RBI) has played in 188 games as a Buckeye, most among active players. Her bases-loaded hit against Akron Tues. gave OSU an eight-run mercy rule win. She went 2-for-3 against Michigan State Apr. 9 and doubled against Wright State Apr. 19. She had five hits in her first 12 at bats this season, including the game-winning RBI vs. Pittsburgh, Feb. 19. Rowlands was nominated for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors Apr. 19.

Megan Schwab (.376, 7 HR, 33 RBI) leads the team in multiple hit games (14) and multiple RBI games (11) as well as HR and RBI and is tied for the team-lead in doubles (11). She is 3-for-3 with the bases loaded and is batting a team-best .471 with runners in scoring position. Schwab went on a 10 game hitting streak from March 6-26, during which time she hit .612 (19-for-31). Twice this season she has hit two home runs in a game. She was named to the all-tournament team of the Buzz Classic March 4-6 and the Buckeye Invitational March 18-20.

Andrea Tribuzi (0-0, 6.00 ERA) made two pitching appearances in the Buzz Classic and has eight on the season. She pitched one inning of shutout relief Apr. 19 at Wright State.

Brittany Vanderink (.318, 0 HR, 10 RBI) owns a .429 avg. with runners in scoring position (12-for-28), which is No. 5 on the team, and her .381 avg. in Big Ten games ranks No. 3 on the team. Vanderink is 14-for-15 in the stolen base department, which ranks No. 2 for stolen bases in a season by a freshman (Koyano set the record last season with 16). Her four triples this season are tied for the most-ever by a freshman at OSU. She is 7-for-13 (.538) as a pinch hitter, including 4-for-5 (.800) in Big Ten games.

Ohio State head coach Linda Kalafatis is in her ninth season at the helm of the Buckeyes’ softball program in 2005. She is already OSU’s all-time wins leader with 293 victories in Columbus (293-208-0, .582), and her overall record stands at 566-323-2 (.639) in 17 years as a collegiate head coach. Kalafatis has guided Ohio State to the NCAA tournament in two of the last three years and was named the 2002 Big Ten Coach of the Year. She is assisted by former Buckeyes Belinda Quisenberry and Chrissy Fowler.

### Go Bucks! ###