Buckeyes Off To Citrus Classic In Orlando

Go Buckeyes! Buckeyes head to Florida
Go Buckeyes!
Buckeyes head to Florida
Go Buckeyes!

Feb. 29, 2012

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SETTING THE STAGE The Ohio State softball team (9-5) continues the 2012 season Friday-Sunday at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.

On Friday, Ohio State will face Georgetown at 12:15 p.m. and Longwood at 2:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Buckeyes square off against Notre Dame at 4:45 p.m. and Hofstra at 7 p.m. Ohio State concludes the Citrus Classic Sunday with a game against Pitt at 9 a.m.

QUICK HITS • Ohio State needs just 2 more victories to register 1000 wins in program history. • The Buckeyes are on a two-game win streak entering the Citrus Classic. • Vanessa Spears currently has a 14-game reached base streak • Alicia Herron is now third among OSU career home run (39) leaders and fourth in RBI (144) • Ohio State returns 13 letterwinners and five starters from its 2011 squad. • Nine newcomers join the Buckeye roster for this season, seven of them freshmen. • The Buckeyes have made four NCAA appearances in the last six years, including their first run in program history to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009. Ohio State also made the tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2010.


• Georgetown: this will be the first meeting between the Buckeyes and the Hoyas • Longwood: this will be the first meeting between the Buckeyes and the Lancers • Notre Dame: 3-4; last meeting in 2010; the Buckeyes lost 12-5 March 6 at Riverside, California • Hofstra: 1-1; last meeting in 2009; the Buckeyes were 2-0 winners in a game at the NFCA Leadoff Classic February 27 • Pitt: 8-2; last meeting in 2011; Ohio State split a doubleheader in Columbus April 6, winning 4-3 in the opener and losing the second contest 5-2

CATHEDRAL CITY CLASSIC Ohio State was 3-1 in action at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs. Mikayla Endicott pitched the Buckeyes to shutout wins over Fresno State (3-0) and Cal State Fullerton (9-0) and the senior also got the win against Colorado State in a time-shortened 9-8 Buckeye victory. At the plate, Danielle LeBeau hit .400 with 5 RBI, and Melissa Rennie hit .500 with a 3-run homer.

IN LAS VEGAS The Buckeyes posted a 4-1 record in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, with wins over Idaho State, Long Beach State, San Jose State and host UNLV. Outfielders Taylor Watkins and Vanessa Spears led the Buckeyes at the plate. Watkins hit .500 in 3 games, with a double and 3 RBI. Spears, who hit .438 in 5 games, tallied 7 hits and 2 RBI. Shortstop Alicia Herron accounted for 18 total bases, hitting 3 home runs and a double among her 7 hits. Mikayla Endicott posted a 3-1 record in the circle over the weekend, with a 1.99 ERA.

AT THE DOT Ohio State was 2-3 in the Dot Richardson tournament held at the National Training Center. Vanessa Spears hit .538 for the weekend, with 7 hits and 2 RBI. Alicia Herron accounted for 6 hits, a home run, 2 triples and 5 RBI. Melanie Nichols was 2-1 in the circle in 15 innings pitched.

ON THE ROAD Ohio State opens the 2012 campaign with five early-season tournaments on the road, playing 25 road games before hosting a Big Ten series vs. Indiana March 24-25 in Columbus. The Buckeyes were 2-3 in opening-weekend action at the Dot Richardson NTC tournament in Clermont, Fla.; 4-1 in action at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas; and 3-1 in the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs.

AT THE HELM Head coach Linda Kalafatis, in her 16th season at the helm of the Buckeyes, is one of the most successful coaches in the Big Ten and the NCAA. She is one of four conference coaches with more than 700 career wins, placing her among the Top 30 active coaches in the country. The 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year, Kalafatis is third among current Big Ten coaches in number of victories - with five fewer years coaching experience than her nearest colleague.

The Buckeyes have won 30 or more games in nine of Kalafatis' 15 seasons in Columbus and in seven of the last eight seasons. The Big Ten coach of the year in 2002, she has guided Ohio State to six of the program's seven NCAA tournament appearances (2002, `04, `06, `07, `09, `10) including the Buckeyes' first-ever trip to the NCAA Super Regional in 2009.

Kalafatis now holds a 516-340 (.603) record starting 16 seasons at Ohio State, which marks the best win total and winning percentage in program history. She recorded her 500th Buckeye win last season in a 4-1 decision over Harvard. In 24 years as a collegiate head coach, including stops at her alma mater California (Pa.) and Akron, she owns a record of 788-455-2 (.634).

Assisting Kalafatis in coaching the Buckeyes are associate head coach Ali Viola (seventh season), assistant coach Danielle Henderson (second season) and volunteer coach Dana Degan (first season).

BUCKEYE TRI-CAPTAINS Three Buckeyes - Alicia Herron, Megan Coletta and Melanie Nichols - serve as team tri-captains for the 2012 campaign.

Herron, a senior shortstop from Cypress, California, is a fourth-year starter who has earned all-Midwest Regional and all-Big Ten honors. The Buckeyes' leading hitter as a sophomore (.415) and junior (354), she was the 2010 Big Ten batting champion.

Coletta, a junior third baseman from Fullerton, California, is a third-year starter for the Buckeyes, with a .245 career batting average and 44 RBI.

Nichols, a redshirt sophomore pitcher from San Jacinto, California, was the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, compiling a 21-3 record and 1.92 ERA in 36 appearances. Nichols took a medical redshirt last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

BUCKEYE NEWCOMERS Ohio State welcomes nine newcomers to the 2012 squad, including an infielder, a catcher, four pitchers and three outfielders.

Joining the outfield are freshmen Caitlyn Conrad (Richwood, Ohio), Anne McGowan (Seattle, Wash.) and Taylor Watkins (Bonney Lake, Wash.). Freshman Shelby Pickett (Temecula, Calif.) is a Buckeye catcher, while freshman Maddy McIntyre (San Diego, Calif.) joins the infield unit.

New pitchers for Ohio State include senior Mikayla Endicott (a transfer from Oregon and a native of Roseburg, Ore.), junior Danielle LeBeau (from Palomar CC and Poway, Calif.), and freshmen Alex DiDominico (Youngstown, Ohio) and Olivia O'Reilly (Sylvania, Ohio).

WINNING WAYS Since 2000, Ohio State has won 441 games, which is the third-highest win total in the Big Ten during that time. The Buckeyes own a .664 winning percentage, good for third in the league.

The 2010 squad recorded 39 wins, the fifth-most in school history, and advanced to the program's fourth NCAA regional appearance during a five-year period. Ohio State notched 30 or more wins for seven consecutive seasons between 2004-2010 -- the longest 30-win stretch in Buckeye history.

A LOOK BACK AT 2011 An injury-riddled Buckeye squad posted a 14-37 mark during the 2011 season, the first losing record in the past dozen seasons of Ohio State softball. Shortstop Alicia Herron received third team all-Big Ten recognition.

ON BTN The Big Ten Network has announced its softball telecast schedule for 2012. Ohio State will be featured in five live broadcasts:

Friday, April 6 Michigan at Ohio State (5:30 p.m.) Sunday, April 15 Ohio State at Purdue (2:00 p.m.) Saturday, May 5 Iowa at Ohio State (6:00 p.m.) Saturday, May 5 Iowa at Ohio State (8:00 p.m.) Friday, May 11 Ohio State at Penn State (4:00 p.m.)

At least 176 Big Ten baseball and softball games will be broadcast by BTN on television or online in 2012, all in high definition. At least 27 Big Ten softball games will be broadcast on BTN this season, with a minimum of 66 additional games streamed on the digital network. A select number of streamed baseball and softball games will be televised on delay through BTN's Student U initiative.

In addition, all home softball games not aired live on BTN will be streamed live online at either BTN.com or Buckeye Vision on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Specific information for online broadcasts will be announced in the near future.

NFCA SCHOLAR-ATHLETES More than 4,000 softball student-athletes, including six Buckeyes, representing 707 different academic institutions were named as a 2011 NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

Representing Ohio State as All-America Scholar-Athletes for 2011 were Alicia Herron, Dee Dee Hillman, Karisa Medrano, Brittany Mills, Melissa Rennie and Katie Simonton.

The award is given to any player submitted by a member coach who achieved a 3.50 grade point average or higher during the 2010-11 academic year. This year's total of 4,331 honorees bested last year's total by more than 30 student-athletes. The membership category with the most participating institutions this year was Division III with 168, while high school led the way in total honorees with 1,160. For more information on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, go to www.nfca.org.

UP NEXT After winter quarter final exams, the Buckeyes will travel to their fifth tournament of 2012 at the Tennessee State tournament March 16-18. On Friday, Ohio State will face Tennessee State at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, the Buckeyes play Belmont at 11:15 a.m. and Mercer at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, Ohio State concludes the tournament with a game against St. Bonaventure at 9 a.m.

Ohio State opens its home season at Buckeye Field March 24-25 hosting Indiana in a Big Ten series.