No. 15 Softball Opens Season With San Francisco State and Santa Clara

Jan. 30, 2001

This Week: The 15th-ranked Stanford softball team (0-0,0-0 Pac-10) opens the 2001 season against San Francisco State (0-0). The game will be played Saturday (2/3) at 1 p.m. at the Stanford Softball Complex on campus. The squad will then host Santa Clara on Sunday (2/4) in a doubleheader at noon. The Cardinal returns 11 letterwinners, including eight starters, from the team that went 45-18 in 2000, advancing to the NCAA playoffs for the third consecutive season. Leading the Cardinal will be junior center fielder Jessica Mendoza, a two-time first-team NFCA All-American, and junior first baseman Sarah Beeson, a second-team All-American. Junior Robin Walker (shortstop) and sophomore Dana Sorensen (pitcher) will also help anchor the Cardinal in 2000. Seniors Ramona Shelburne (rightfield) and Jenni Shideler (third base) along with sophomores Kira Ching (second base) and Cassi Brangham (leftfield) round out the returning starters for Stanford. Freshmen catchers Jessica Allister and Michelle Thiry will share duties behind the dish this season.

About the Gators: San Francisco State returns 10 players, including seven starters, from a team that went 15-45 in 2000. For 2001, however, they have a new coach, in Kristi Lansford. The Gators open the season with doubleheaders vs. CS Stanislaus (Tues.) and St. Mary's (Wed.) before coming to The Farm.Their top returning player is senior Leilani Reynolds, who hit .339 last year as a junior. Last year, the Cardinal defeated SFSU, 9-1 and 11-1 in a doubleheader.

Rankings Review: Stanford begins the 2001 season ranked 15th in the preseason NFCA Coaches poll. The Cardinal has appeared in the top 25 of every regular-season poll since early in the 1998 season, reaching a high of No. 7 during 1999. Stanford peaked at No. 8 in 2000. Pac-10 teams hold three of the top four spots in the 2001 preseason poll, and six of the top 15. All eight Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top 20. This season Stanford is scheduled to play seven of the top 10 teams in the poll and 12 of the top 25. The Cardinal will play at least 24 games against teams ranked in the top 25 nationally this season.

Mendoza Milestones: Junior outfielder Jessica Mendoza should continue her assault on the Stanford record book in 2001. The 2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year, ranks third in career hits on the farm with 175. She needs 20 hits to catch Michelle Schneider (1996-99) who ranks second with 195 and 44 to surpass the leader, Kellie Wiginton (1997-00), who checks in with 218. Mendoza is second in career doubles with 33 and needs only three to take over the top spot, currently held by Michelle Schneider who has 35. Her 95 career runs scored ranks third at Stanford behind Schneider (113) and Winginton (135). Mendoza, a two-time first-team All-American, already hold four Cardinal career records (batting average, home runs, RBI and stolen bases).

Beeson Climbs the Charts: Junior first baseman Sarah Beeson is also on the fast track on Stanford's career charts. The 2000 second-team All-American ranks fourth in career doubles with 30 (five behind leader, Michelle Schneider) and second in career homeruns with 10. She also checks in at No. 2 in career RBI with 90 (eight off the pace set by leader Jessica Mendoza). Beeson is second in career putouts with 1068 and needs 72 to catch leader, Kellie Wiginton.

Sorensen Looks To Continue Winning Ways In 2001: After a stellar freshman campaign, sophomore pitcher Dana Sorensen hopes to pick up where she left off last season. The 2000 second-team All-American, led the team in wins (22), strikeouts (164), ERA (1.06), complete games (16) and innings pitched (211.2). She ranks fourth in career innings pitched and third in career strikeouts and career wins.

2000 Recap: The Cardinal ended the season with a 45-18 record. The 45 wins in 2000 set a new singles-season record, breaking the 1998 record of 41 victories. Stanford set the record with a 2-1 victory at Oregon on May 5. Stanford has won 40 or more games for three consecutive seasons and more than 30 in four seasons under head coach John Rittman. Outfielder Jessica Mendoza became the first Cardinal to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year while earning All-America honors for the second straight year. Sarah Beeson and Dana Sorensen were named second-team All-Americans as well. Stanford made its third consecutive postseason appearance in 2000, traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan as the No. 1 seed. But the Cardinal would take two tough losses to Central Michigan (2-1) and host, Michigan (5-4) to end the season.

Up Next: Stanford will host Pacific in a doubleheader on Saturday, February 10 at noon and San Jose State (dh) on Sunday, February 11 at noon. All games will be played at the Stanford Softball Complex.

Pack Your Bags: The 2001 Stanford Cardinal will compete in four tournaments this season including the NFCA Leadoff Classic (Columbus, Ga.), the Speedline Invitational (Tampa, Fla. ), the Campbell/Cartier Classic (Poway, Calif.) a nd the Utah Invitational (St. George, Utah). From mid-February to mid-March, the Cardinal will not play at home and will log quite a few miles traveling from one coast to the other.

Keep An Eye On...: Jenni Shideler ranks second in career stolen bases at Stanford with 19 and third in career homeruns with nine ...she is fourth in career putouts with 643 ... Kira Ching and teammate Jessica Mendoza are tied for third in career triples with three a piece.

NFCA/Coaches Top 25 PollJan. 24, 2001 - Preseason Poll

Pl. School Pts.1. UCLA (13) 6552. Oklahoma (10) 6423. Arizona (4) 6324. Washington (1) 5415. Alabama 5356. Arizona State 5237. California 4848. LSU 4659. Fresno State 45510. DePaul 41211. Michigan 36212. Nebraska 35313. Iowa 30114. Cal State Fullerton 29515. Stanford 27016. Oregon State 26117. Florida State 21018. South Carolina 16919. Notre Dame 15720. Oregon 14521. Southern Mississippi 13722. Long Beach State 12523. Mississippi State 10824. Texas 9425. Utah 67

Also receiving votes:Florida Atlantic, Illinois-Chicago, Hofstra, Massachusetts, Oklahoma State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Florida, Texas A&M, Penn State, Central Michigan, Cal State Northridge, Hawaii, New Mexico, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Northwestern, Virginia Tech, South Florida.

2001 Pac-10 PreseasonCoaches Poll

Team Pts1. Arizona (4) 46 UCLA (4) 463. Arizona State 344. Washington 275. Stanford 256. California 207. Oregon State 178. Oregon 9

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