Diamond 9 Citrus Classic Up Next for Ohio State

Erika Leonard
Erika Leonard

Feb. 26, 2014


The Last Meeting
Ohio State3
March 8, 2007
Clearwater, FL
The Last Meeting
Notre Dame3  
Ohio State1(8 inn.)
March 3, 2012
Orlando, FL
Buckeyes Lose In Extra Innings
Ohio State dropped a 3-1 extra-inning loss to Notre Dame Saturday evening in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando

COLUMBUS, Ohio - On hiatus since winning three of five games at the Easton Desert Classic, the Ohio State softball team returns to action this weekend at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.  Just as they have in their first two tournaments, the Buckeyes will face a challenging slate that includes three ranked opponents.

Ohio State is 4-6 overall after winning three of five games in Las Vegas, Nev. at the Easton Desert Classic. The Buckeyes topped Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State and Utah Valley. Against Utah Valley, freshman Shelby Hursh pitched a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts, becoming the first Buckeye to toss a no-no since Lindsay Bodeker against Eastern Michigan in 2009.

Offensively, junior Caitlin Conrad continues to lead the charge. The Richwood, Ohio, native is batting .429 with nine RBIs, four doubles, a triple and two home runs. Evelyn Carrillo, who hit .615 in five games at the Desert Classic, leads the team in hits with 13 and had added eight RBIs. Newcomer Erika Leonard, a transfer from Florida State, checks in with a .407 average and eight RBIs.

On the mound, junior Alex DiDomenico is 2-1 with a 2.58 ERA and a team-high 18 strikeouts. Hursh earned two wins in Las Vegas and has a 3.07 ERA with 17 strikeouts.


Record: 5-9
Last Weekend: Went 3-1 at the Hilltopper Spring Fling in Bowling Green, Ky. Defeated Belmont, Canisius and Miami (Ohio). Lost to Western Kentucky.
Top Hitter: Marina Groenewgen, .321, 11 RBIs, 1 HR, 1 2B
Top Pitcher: Madelyn Lynch-Crumrine, 3-4, 3.34 ERA, 21 Ks

Record: 5-8
Last Weekend: Went 0-5 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. Lost to San Diego State, Cal Poly, BYU, Missouri and Oregon.
Top Hitter: Elise Fortier, .333, 11 RBIs, 3 2B, 3 HR
Top Pitcher: Michele Daubman, 3-5, 2.92 ERA, 13 Ks

Record: 16-0
Last Weekend: Went 4-0 at the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. Defeated Indiana and Troy (twice).
Top Hitter: Kelsey Stewart, .393, 21 runs scored, 18 RBI, 2 2B, 2 3B
Top Pitcher: Hannah Rogers, 6-0, 1.08 ERA, 36 Ks

Notre Dame
Record: 10-3
Last Weekend: Went 4-2 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Fla. Defeated Pacific, BYU, UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton. Lost to California and Oregon.
Top Hitter: Karley Wester, .436, 11 runs scored, 10 RBI
Top Pitcher: Laura Winter, 6-2, 2.11 ERA, 51 K

2014 Record: 7-3
Last Weekend: Went 3-2 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. Defeated Arizona, Fordham, San Diego State. Lost to UCLA and Baylor.
Top Hitter: Emily Crane, .346, 11 RBI, 2 2B
Top Pitcher: Tori Finucane, 4-2, 1.05 ERA, 22 K

The Buckeyes' non-conference schedule will once again test Ohio State against some of the nation's elite. In all, OSU will play at least 16 games against teams that qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament, including eight against squads that advanced to the Women's College World Series. Additionally, Ohio State plays 15 games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Top 25 poll. Nine of those games are against Top 10 teams. Below is Ohio State's all-time record against team's currently in the nation's power conferences, including the Pac-12, Big XII, Big East, SEC and ACC.

ACC: 25-30
Pac-12: 22-63
SEC: 22-38
Big East: 15-3
Big XII: 11-19

Melanie Nichols, a fifth-year senior, is looking to work her way up the career record books for wins and strikeouts. In 2010, she made an instant impact as a freshman, going 21-3 with a 1.92 earned-run average of a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Nichols redshirted in 2011 while recovering from an injury and returned in 2012 to start 25 games (12-9, 3.45 ERA, 82 K). In 2013, Nichols went 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 51 Ks. Currently, she ranks tied for seventh all-time in wins (39) and sixth in strikeouts (277).

Career wins
1. Kim Reeder (2006-09) - 77
7. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.) - 39

Career Strikeouts
1. Jamee Juarez (2004-07) - 747
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.) - 279

Senior Evelyn Carrillo was the biggest star for the Buckeyes from the plate in five games at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. she hit .615 (8-for-13) with seven RBIs, 11 total bases and three doubles. Against Long Beach State, she went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, two doubles and a run scored. The four hits matches her career high, which was last set last season against Purdue.

Freshman Anna Kirk celebrated Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 by hitting her first-career home runs in back-to-back games against Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State. Against CSUN, she belted a two-run homer to left field that gave Ohio State a 9-0 lead. Her three-run homer against Long Beach State gave OSU an 8-4 lead in the top of the fifth. Overall, Kirk batted .308 with eight RBIs on the weekend.

Ohio State 9, Cal State Northridge 0
Eight different players collected hits for Ohio State, including sophomore Cammi Prantl (2-for-2, two RBIs) and Caitlin Conrad (2-for-3, 2 RBIs). Additionally, Kirk connected on a two-run home run in the fourth inning to break it open.

The Buckeyes scored twice in the first and second innings, highlighted by a two-run home run from Prantl in the second. In the fourth, Kirk's two-run home run cleared the left field fence. Junior pitcher Alex DiDomenico went five innings, allowing just three hits while striking out six to earn her second win of the season.

Ohio State 10, Long Beach State 8
Evelyn Carrillo went 4-for-4 with three runs batted in to pace the Buckeye offense, which also received contributions from Erika Leonard (2-for-4, two RBI) and Conrad (3-for-4, two RBI, three runs scored).

Ohio State went ahead for good with five runs in the fifth inning, keyed by a three-run home run to center field from Kirk. The Buckeyes tacked on two important insurance runs in the sixth inning when Carrillo doubled down the left field line and Conrad laced an RBI double to right center field.

In the seventh, Long Beach State hit a solo home run to make the score 10-8 and notched a double with two outs to keep its hopes alive. The next batter singled up the middle and the runner tried to score from second but was thrown out by Taylor Watkins to end the game.

Florida 19, Ohio State 2
Top-ranked Florida erupted for 15 runs on nine hits in the second inning to break the game open. The biggest blow was a grand slam off the bat of third basemen Stefanie Tofft. Ohio State was able to get two runs on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Sophomore Cammi Prantl led off the inning with a double down the left field line and later scored on an RBI double from Evelyn Carrillo. Freshman Anna Kirk singled up the middle to bring home Jayla Saibene, who was in to pinch run for Carrillo.

Oregon 9, Ohio State 0
The Buckeyes were no-hit by Oregon's Cheridan Hawkins, who went six innings and struck out four for the Ducks. Oregon broke the game open with four runs in the top of the second, keyed by a three single and an Ohio State error. The Ducks tacked on two more runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, including a solo home run from Courtney Ceo.

Ohio State 8, Utah Valley 0
Freshman Shelby Hursh pitched a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts as Ohio State (4-6) defeated Utah Valley, 8-0, to close out play on Sunday at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.

Offensively, redshirt sophomore Erika Leonard went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in. Evelyn Carrillo also had two hits and a pair of RBIs. Freshman Anna Kirk, Leesa Gresham, Jayla Saibene also contributed RBIs.

Entering the 2014 season, Ohio State returns eight of its top 10 hitters and all five of its pitchers. In total, 79.1 percent of its RBI total returns,   77.6 percent of its runs returns, 87.5 percent of its stolen bases and 82.2 percent of its total bases return.

Ohio State is 23-13 at Buckeye Field over the past two years, and in 2014 it will host 13 games on its home field. The home schedule include:

Michigan State - March 21-23
Ohio (DH) - April 9
Purdue - April 11-13
Penn State (DH) - April 23
Northwestern - April 25-27

Several Buckeyes rank among the conference's statistical leaders, including:

Caitlin Conrad - Batting Avg. (7th), Slugging Percentage (2nd), On Base Percentage (8th), Doubles (5th)
Alex DiDomenico - ERA (7th)

Cammi Prantl, a second team All-Big Ten selection in 2013, made an instant impact for the Buckeyes last year. She led OSU in several offensive categories, including batting average (.346), at bats (188) and hits (65). Her name is littered throughout the single-season freshman records:

At bats: 3rd, 188
Batting average: 5th, .346
Hits: 2nd, 65
Doubles: 4th, 12
RBI: 7th, 31
Runs: 1st, 40
Stolen bases: 5th, 10

Fans can follow Ohio State softball on the web and through social media via the following outlets:

Website: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Twitter: @OhioState_SB
Facebook: Facebook.com/OhioStateSoftball
Instagram: Instagram.com/ohiostate_sb

Four members of the Ohio State softball team, three current and one former, were named 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athletes. Brittany Mills, who graduated last May with a bachelor's degree in economics, was honored along with current Buckeyes Melissa Rennie (insurance major), Audrey Plant (communication major) and Olivia O'Reilly (biology major). The award is bestowed upon any player submitted by a member coach who achieved a 3.50 grade point average or higher during the 2012-13 academic year. Additionally, Rennie was also named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, which recognizes student-athletes with at least a 3.7 grade-point average.