Buckeyes, Wolverines Renew Rivalry in Ann Arbor
April 3, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Winners of eight of its last 11, the Ohio State softball team heads north this weekend for a three-game set with fifth-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor. The first game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday followed by a contest at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday, respectively.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State is 17-15 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten after taking two of three from Indiana last weekend in Bloomington. Offensively, the Buckeyes have six hitters batting over .300, led by senior Evelyn Carrillo (.380, 23 RBI, seven doubles, three home runs). Junior Caitlin Conrad checks in with a .376 average and leads the team is slugging percentage (.710), RBI (25), home runs (six) and is tied for the lead in doubles (nine). Taylor Watkins (.343), Cammi Prantl (.315), Jesse Machovina (.310) and Erika Leonard (.301) are the other Buckeyes batting over .300.
In the circle, junior Olivia O'Reilly has emerged as the ace of Ohio State's staff. She is 6-2 overall with a 2.70 ERA and 51 strikeouts. In the last 11 games, she is 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA, giving up just 13 earned runs in 41.2 innings.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Michigan is 26-6 overall and 6-0 thus far in the Big Ten. The Wolverines have notable wins against ranked opponents, such as No. 12 Kentucky, No. 10 Arizona and No. 1 UCLA. They are ranked fifth in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls.
Sophomore shortstop Sierra Romero paces the offense with a .512 average and is third in hits (42). Pitcher Haylie Wagner leads the team with a 17-0 record in the circle and has a 1.00 ERA. The Wolverines have claimed sweeps of Big Ten opponents Indiana and Penn State thus far.
FOLLOWING FROM HOME
A link to Gametracker for each game against Michigan can be found on the Ohio State softball schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Live updates will also be available on the team's official Twitter account, @OhioState_SB. Additionally, Friday and Sunday's game will be streamed on BTN.com
THE LAST 11
Ohio State is 8-3 in its last 11 games and in that stretch has been getting both timely hitting and consistent pitching. A look at the top hitters over that span:
CAREER RECORDS WATCH
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 sixth in all-time in wins (43) and sixth in strikeouts (302).
1. Kim Reeder (2006-09) - 77
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.) - 43
1. Jamee Juarez (2004-07) - 747
5. Genice Turley (1994-95)) - 307
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.) - 302
In addition, senior Evelyn Carrillo is also climbing her way up the career lists in hits and runs batted in. The senior from Corona, Calif., has started 188 of 189 career games and currently ranks 12th in hits (189), just five shy of 11th place. Her 136 RBI are good for sixth place.
1. Anna Smith (1999-02) - 243
11. Shauna Bowman (1988-91) - 194
12. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.) - 189
1. Sam Marder (2007-10) - 191
5. Kristine Himes (2000-03) - 138
6. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.) - 136
IN THE BIG TEN STATS
A look at where the Buckeyes stack up amongst their Big Ten counterparts:
Batting average - 5th, .291
Runs - 6th, 163
Hits - 4th, 245
RBI - 5th, 153
Doubles - 2nd, 57
Big Ten-only games:
Batting average - 2nd, .409
ERA - 5th, 3.16
Runs - 2nd, 57
Hits - 1st, 72
Additionally, several individuals rank among the Big Ten leaders - Evelyn Carrillo is tops among all players in Big Ten-only batting average (.650) and is 12th in all games. Caitlin Conrad is fourth in the conference in slugging percentage (.710) and tied for ninth in RBI (25). Olivia O'Reilly is 10th in ERA (2.70) and ninth in opposing batting average (.236).
Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly was a four-year starter for Michigan from 1992 through 1995. She is the only Wolverine to ever win Big Ten Pitcher of the Year twice in her career (1992, 1995) and ranks among the top-10 in Michigan history in career wins (72), strikeouts (465) and shutouts (33).
A MARKED IMPROVEMENT
Several Buckeyes are enjoying significant statistical improvements at the plate from 2013 to 2014, including senior Melaina Saalfeld, junior Caitlin Conrad and sophomore Jayla Saibene.
PLAYING THE BEST
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.
EXPERIENCED COACHING STAFF
Ohio State's coaching staff of Kelly Kovach Schoenly, Amanda Buchholz, Jenna Hall and Megan Coletta has 36 years of combined experience either playing for coaching in the Big Ten. Kovach-Schoenly was four-year starter at Michigan and was an assistant coach for nine years at Penn State. Buchholz was a starting shortstop at Nebraska from 2000-03 and a volunteer assistant coach with the Cornhuskers for six years as a volunteer assistant. Hall played at Illinois for four years and is the school's all-time leader in career and single season batting average. Coletta wrapped up her four-year playing career with the Buckeyes last spring.
Indiana 11, Ohio State 7
Kelsey Dotson hit a walk-off grand slam to give Indiana a 11-7 come-from-behind victory over Ohio State in the first game of last weekend's three-game series.
Leading 7-1 through five innings, the Buckeyes gave up five run in both the sixth and seventh innings to the Hoosiers. Despite the loss, Evelyn Carrillo, who hit .700 in Ohio State sweep of Michigan State last weekend, stayed hot, going 2-for-2 with an RBI. Jesse Machovina also had a big day, going 1-for-4 with a two-run home run, the first of her career.
Ohio State 12, Indiana 2
Six different players recorded multiple hits and Olivia O'Reilly earned her team-leading sixth win of the year as Ohio State opened the doubleheader with a convincing 12-2 victory over Indiana.
At the plate, the top four hitters in Ohio State's lineup (Conrad, Watkins, Prantl, Carrillo) went 9-for-15 with seven RBI. Machovina was 2-for-4 with three RBI while Saalfeld was 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. O'Reilly pitched five innings and scattered four hits while striking out seven and giving up just one earned run.
Ohio State 10, Indiana 2
Ohio State's offense continued its torrid pace in the second game, notching five extra base hits and scoring multiple runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings to claim a 10-2 victory.
Carrillo paced the offense, going 4-for-4 with four RBI and a home run. It was the second time in the last six games she had four hits in a game. Watkins also chipped in with four hits and three RBI while Prantl went 2-for4 with two RBI. In the two wins, the top four Buckeye hitters (Conrad, Watkins, Prantl, Carrillo) combined for 17 hits.
MORE OHIO STATE-INDIANA SERIES NOTES
• The Buckeyes' top four hitters (Conrad, Watkins, Prantl, Carrillo) combined to go 21-for-41 (.512) with seven doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI.
• As a team, Ohio State hit .386 in the series.
• 13 of Ohio State's 34 hits were for extra bases.
BUCKEYES' BATS COME ALIVE VS. MSU
Ohio State's offense posted several impressive numbers in its Big Ten-opening sweep of Michigan State. As a team, the Buckeyes hit .432 with 38 total hits, nine doubles, one triple and five home runs. Additionally, several players enjoyed big weekends, including:
AN IMPRESSIVE DEBUT
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
FOUR BUCKEYES NAMED NFCA ALL-AMERICA SCHOLAR ATHLETES
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.
RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS
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.
FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES
Fans can follow Ohio State softball on the web and through social media via the following outlets:
Scenes from the Buckeyes' Home Opener