COLUMBUS, Ohio This time next week the Ohio State softball team will be fresh off its first tournament in Las Cruces, N.M., and gearing up for week No. 2 of the 2009 season. For now, however, it’s all about practice for the Buckeyes as they prepare for their season opener against Cleveland State at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Hotel Encanto Invitation hosted by New Mexico State.

“Practice is going really well right now,” senior captain Kim Reeder said. “The defense is getting better every day and the hitters are saying they are doing well in the cages, so everyone is working hard at this point and we’re really excited and ready to play.”

Junior Megan Miller added: “I think our defense is stepping up every day in practice and we’re just getting better and better. You can see it in every aspect of our game.”

Following the opener vs. Cleveland State, Ohio State plays UMKC Friday afternoon at 2 before facing Ohio University at 7 p.m. Saturday and Colorado State and New Mexico State at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively, Sunday.

For a complete preview of the Buckeyes’ 2009 season, check back to Wednesday.