No. 3 Women's Softball Hosts UC Santa Barbara Tonight
April 16, 2002
The Stanford women's softball team (33-8, 4-5 Pac-10) will try to snap a season-long three-game losing streak tonight in a doubleheader against UC Santa Barbara at 5 p.m. at the Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium. The Cardinal lost a hard-fought game against UCLA on Friday, 3-2 then dropped a 11-3 decision to Washington on Saturday. After a rain out on Sunday, Washington won the rubber match on Monday afternoon, 3-0. The Cardinal will resume conference action this weekend, facing No. 1 Arizona on Friday at 7 p.m. They will host Arizona State at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 19 then again on Sunday, April 20 at 1 p.m.
Stanford in the National Rankings
Stanford checks in at No. 3 in the latest USA Today/NFCA top-25 poll, as voted by 27 Division 1 softball coaches representing all areas around the country. The Cardinal has held down the No. 2 spot twice this season, representing the highest ranking in program history. Stanford is 15-7 thus far against opponents ranked in the top-25, and will face No. 1 Arizona and No. 6 Arizona State this weekend. Currently, the top-10 schools in the nation are as follows: No. 1 Arizona, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, No. 8 California, No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 10 Washington.
Scouting the Gauchos
Stanford will open with UC Santa Barbara (18-27, 5-7 Big West) tonight at 5 p.m. for a non-conference doubleheader. The Gauchos are coming off of a three-game conference tilt with Long Beach State where UCSB went 1-2. Santa Barbara is 6-4 in its last 10 games. The Gauchos are led by Jami Trinidad (.310, 39 H, 5 HR, 25 RBI), Leslie Simien (.299, 41 H, 20 R, 27 SB) and Julia Tamai (.290, 38 H, 1 HR, 20 RBI). The UCSB pitching staff includes Loren Thornburg (9-15, 3.06 ERA, 135 K's in 157.2 IP) and Katie Junge (7-9, 3.66 ERA, 39 K's in 97.2 IP). Santa Barbara faced Stanford once last season at the Utah Invitational and fell 2-0 on March 2. The Cardinal is 3-0 lifetime against the Gauchos. UCSB is coached by first-year head coach Kristy Schroeder (UCLA '94).
Scouting the Wildcats
Following its contests with UC Santa Barbara, the Cardinal will host top-ranked Arizona (38-5, 7-1 Pac-10) on Friday night. The Wildcats, winners of their last three games, lead the league with a 7-1 record on the year. Arizona will travel to Oklahoma State (4/16) and No. 9 Oklahoma (4/17) before heading to Stanford. Last week the 'Cats went 3-0 in one game vs. Oregon and two against Oregon State. They are led by Lovieanne Jung (.421, 53 H, 13 HR, 33 RBI), Courtney Fossatti (.372, 29 H, 0 HR, 4 RBI) and Leneah Manuma (.368, 39 H, 17 HR, 59 RBI). Arizona's pitching staff includes All-American Jennie Finch (22-1, 0.68 ERA, 230 K's in 154.0 IP) and Jenny Gladding (16-4, 1.80 ERA, 140 K's in 113.0 IP). Arizona is hitting at a .327 clip as a team while holding opponents to a .153 average at the plate. The Wildcats are ranked No. 2 nationally in fielding percentage, No. 3 in batting average, No. 3 in runs per game and No. 15 in ERA. They are coached by Mike Candrea, who is in his 17th season at the helm of the program. Last season, the Cardinal dropped all three contests to the Wildcats, including a 15 inning 5-3 loss at Stanford. Arizona holds a 26-2 advantage in the all-time series with Stanford.
Scouting the Sun Devils
Arizona State (35-10, 5-3 Pac-10) will be in town to face Stanford on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. ASU went 2-1 against the Oregon schools last weekend, defeating Oregon 9-1 and splitting with Oregon State, 0-1 and 6-0. The Devils are led by Phelan Wright (.443, 54 H, 6 HR, 31 RBI), Kara Brun (.419, 57 H, 6 HR, 44 RBI) and Nichole Thompson (.393, 53 H, 1 HR, 17 RBI). The Arizona State pitching staff is led by Kirsten Voak (7-3, 0.94 ERA, 93 K's in 74.2 IP) and Erica Beach (22-7, 1.14 ERA , 138 K's in 172.0 IP). ASU is hitting at a .316 clip as a team while holding opponents to a .206 batting average. The Sun Devils are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Last year, the Cardinal took 2-out-of-3 games from ASU, winning two down in Tempe and falling 4-3 in eight innings in Stanford. Arizona State is coached by Linda Wells, in her 13th season at the helm of the program.
The Rittman File
John Rittman is currently in his sixth season at the helm of the Stanford women's softball program after being named head coach on July 12, 1996. In just five years on The Farm, Rittman has brought the Stanford softball program from a non-scholarship club-level program to a fully-funded championship contender. The 2001 season was the most impressive campaign under Rittman's tenure, as the Cardinal finished with its best single-season overall record at 54-16-1. Rittman was awarded the 2001 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year honor and currently has accumulated a 243-105-1 overall mark while with the Cardinal. Prior to being named head coach at Stanford, Rittman spent four seasons as the assistant coach at Washington.
Cards Have Rough Road Trip
Stanford's journey to Los Angeles and Seattle left the Cardinal with three losses in the scorebook last week. Stanford lost a close 3-2 game to the UCLA Bruins on Friday after Amanda Freeds hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to bring home the winning run. After a long flight, the Cardinal faced Washington on Saturday, falling 11-3 in five innings. Sunday's game was rained out and played on Monday. A three-run homer in the bottom of the first was all that the Huskies would need in the 3-0 shutout of Stanford.
When the Cardinal scored seven runs in the top of the seventh for a 7-2 victory against Oregon State last weekend, it represented the first time in 2002 that the team had notched a comeback win. Considering that Stanford has been ahead entering the final frame in 32 of the 38 games so far, that's not a terrible statistic. And it's about time- Cardinal fans hadn't seen their team rally when trailing after six innings since the 2000 season. Stanford was 0-14 last season when opponents led in the seventh.
On The Board
One-third of Stanford's victories (11 of 33) in 2002 have been of the shutout variety. However, as impressive as that may seem, last season was even better. The Cardinal recorded 33 shutouts in 2001, and had blanked 23 opponents through its first 38 games of the year.
She's At It Again
Three-time First Team All-American Jessica Mendoza continues to pick up where she left off last year. Overall, the senior centerfielder has started 40 of 41 games, and is hitting .419. She leads the club in runs (45), hits (52), home runs (11), total bases (102), slugging percentage (.823) and stolen bases (20). She was named Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week for games played between Mar. 4-10, in addition to her Pac-10 Player of the Week honor over the same time frame. Mendoza, ranks second in the league in stolen bases.
Beeson Paces The Card
Senior Sarah Beeson has been one of Stanford's hottest hitters so far. Beeson is leading the club with 34 RBI, and is second on the team in the following categories: batting average (.415), hits (51), doubles (10), total bases (73) and on base percentage (.500). Beeson has started all 41 games at first base and has hit four home runs. She was recently invited to participate in USA Softball team camp, May 30-June 3 to compete for a spot to represent the U.S. this summer in international competition.