April 18, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After playing 10 consecutive Big Ten games, the Ohio State softball team takes a step away from league action Tuesday for a double-header at Wright State. The Buckeyes (20-14, 4-6 Big Ten) will play midweek non-conference games for the remaining three weeks of the regular season, beginning with the trip to Fairborn, Ohio, to meet the Raiders (11-13, 3-5 Horizon).

Ohio State is coming off a split with Illinois in Columbus Sunday, while Wright State took two of three games at Cleveland State. Following the OSU-WSU double-header, the Buckeyes will remain on the road for Big Ten games at No. 16 Northwestern Friday and Saturday and at No. 1 Michigan Sunday in a double-header that will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

ESPN’s new college sports affiliate, ESPNU, has announced it will televise both games of the Ohio State at Michigan double-header this Sunday. ESPNU is available with Direct TV’s sports package on channel 609. The television coverage will mark the Ohio State softball team’s first-ever appearance on national TV.

The Buckeyes hold a 19-1 advantage in the overall series against Wright State, including 2-0 in Fairborn. During the 2004 season the two teams faced off twice, once at the Dayton Flyer Invitational and later in the season in Columbus. Both games ended with OSU victories after five innings with final scores of 8-0 and 11-1. The game in Dayton featured a perfect game by Ohio State’s Kristi DeVries, now a student-assistant coach for OSU.

The Buckeyes’ offense is nationally ranked in several categories this season. In national statistical rankings through games of April 10, Ohio State ranked No. 2 in the country in scoring offense (6.71 runs per game) and No. 7 in batting average (.325). OSU was ranked tied for fourth in doubles per game (1.71), fourth in triples per game (.50), 10th in slugging percentage (.505), 19th in stolen bases per game (1.75) and 27th in home runs per game (.86). In individual rankings, Ohio State’s Nycole Koyano garnered the highest ranking with No. 2 in triples per game (.21). She also ranked No. 3 in walks per game (.83) and 27th in runs per game (.93). Megan Schwab was also ranked in three categories, including No. 26 in batting average (.420), No. 15 in RBI per game (1.07) and 23rd in slugging percentage (.773). Karisa Evans ranked No. 9 in sacrifice hits per game (.37) and Jamee Juarez was tied for 30th in wins per game (.652).

Ohio State is 4-6 in the Big Ten and currently in the No. 7 spot in the conference standings. The Buckeyes were swept at Wisconsin (3-7 in Big Ten, No. 9), swept Minnesota (3-7, No. 8), split with Michigan State (6-6, No. 4), were swept by 20th-ranked Iowa (8-4, No. 3) and split with Illinois (1-11, No. 11). The top eight teams qualify for the Big Ten tournament May 12-14, which will be hosted by the regular season champion.

Ohio State’s .324 batting average overall is tied for best in the Big Ten and is among the national leaders. OSU ups that to .327 in league games, which is No. 3 in the conference. OSU opponents are hitting .266 overall and .306 in league play. In all games, the Buckeyes have nearly twice as many doubles (51-30) and nearly three times as many triples (14-5).

Ohio State is 16-for-41 (.390) when the bases are loaded with three grand slams. OSU increases its .324 batting average to .366 with runners in scoring position and to .477 (31-for-65) with a runner on third base and less than two outs. Buckeye pitchers have racked up 182 strikeouts, while OSU hitters have struck out only 131 times and have nearly twice as many walks (111 to 69).

The Buckeyes are 19-5 when scoring at least three runs and 12-2 when holding their opponents to two or fewer runs. OSU is 8-2 when scoring in the first inning and 17-6 when scoring first in the game. Ohio State is 19-3 when outhitting or having the same number of hits as its opponent.

Wright State (11-13, 3-5 Horizon) won two of three games at Cleveland State in Horizon League play last weekend. Wright State, a traditional non-conference opponent for Ohio State both in the fall and the spring, started out the 2005 season 3-0 but is 8-13 since the strong start. The Buckeyes defeated the Raiders twice in five innings last season and own a 19-1 advantage in the all-time series.

Wright State returns 14 letterwinners and seven starters from its 2004 team that finished 16-43-1 overall and 2-18 in the Horizon League. A pair of Raiders are hitting over .400, including Amanda Cody (.468) and Kristen Farley (.413). Cody’s 17 RBI are a team high followed by Stephanie Salas (.254) in a close second with 13. WSU has just five home runs this season but has knocked 26 doubles. Jessica Lander (4-6, 4.18 ERA, 38 K, 57 IP) and Cody (5-6, 4.62 ERA, 74 K, 72.2 IP) lead the Raider pitching staff.

Ohio State’s .324 overall batting average and 14 triples are tied for best in the Big Ten. OSU’s .327 average in Big Ten games only is third behind Michigan (.342) and Northwestern (.336). Ohio State has struck out the fewest times in all games and in Big Ten games only. The Buckeyes rank No. 2 in stolen bases (58 in all games, 13 in Big Ten). In all games, the Buckeyes rank No. 9 in team pitching and No. 8 in team fielding, but up both those rankings to No. 6, respectively, in Big Ten games.

Individually, Megan Schwab owns the Big Ten’s No. 7 batting average (.392) and No. 5 slugging percentage (.696). She is tied for eighth in home runs (7) and her .490 on base percentage ranks ninth behind teammates Jamee Juarez (No. 4, .490) and Nycole Koyano (No. 5, .479). Koyano is tied for the league-lead in triples (6) and is tied for No. 2 in walks (26). Juarez also ranks No. 10 in batting average (.390) and Karisa Evans is No. 3 in sacrifice hits (11). Among Big Ten pitchers, Juarez ranks No. 7 in innings pitched (144.2) and her 28 appearances are eighth. Her 16 wins are tied for fourth and her 131 strikeouts are eighth. In Big Ten games only, three Buckeyes are among the league’s batting average leaders, including Ashley Cutcliff (No. 7, .455), Liz Caputo (No. 8, 450) and Juarez (No. 10, .409). Cutcliff and Caputo rank sixth and eighth, respectively, in slugging percentage (.682, .650), while Christina Douglas and Billie Jo Carder rank No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, in RBI (12, 11). Carder’s four doubles are tied for second-most in the Big Ten, as are Evans’ seven walks. Four of Evans’ sacrifices have come in league games, which are tied for the Big Ten lead.

### Go Bucks! ###