No. 8 Cardinal Concludes Regular Season This Weekend At Home

May 9, 2002

THIS WEEK IN CARDINAL SOFTBALL:
Fri., May 10- No. 15 Oregon State (38-20, 7-11 Pac-10)- 7 p.m...Stanford, CA
Sat., May 11- Oregon (23-28, 1-17 Pac-10)- 1 p.m. (DH)...Stanford, CA

***All three games can be heard live on the internet, courtesy of KZSU- Stanford's student radio station. Rory Berry and former softball standout Ramona Shelburne will provide the broadcast chores.

Cardinal Update
No. 8 Stanford (41-17, 5-13 Pac-10) is coming off a doubleheader split with San Jose State, as the Cardinal routed the Spartans in the first game by a 10-2 count before falling in game two 1-0. The Cardinal concludes its regular season this weekend at Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium with a single game against No. 15 Oregon State on Friday at 7 p.m., and a twinbill versus Oregon on Saturday at 1 p.m. Following its matchup with the Ducks, Stanford will learn its postseason status on Sunday, May 12, at 6 p.m. when the NCAA announces this year's 48-team field. The Cardinal will be hoping for a strong finish, as the team is just 1-11 in its last 12 conference games.

NCAA Selection Show
The 48-team field for the 2002 NCAA Division I Softball Championship will be announced on a selection show at 6:00 p.m. (PDT) on Sunday, May 12. The softball selection show will appear on ESPNEWS, which is on DirecTV channel 207 and Dish Network channel 142. Stanford will be looking to receive an at-large bid into this season's postseason tournament. The Cardinal, which hosted one of eight NCAA regionals last year for the first time in program history, made its first-ever appearance at the Women's College World Series. Stanford has earned an NCAA postseason berth each of the last four years.

Stanford in the National Rankings
Stanford remained at No. 8 in the latest USA Today/NFCA top-25 poll, as voted by 27 Division 1 softball coaches representing all areas around the country. The No. 8 ranking is the lowest for Stanford this year, while the Cardinal has been tabbed as high as No. 2- representing the highest ranking in program history. Stanford is 15-13 against opponents ranked in the top-25, and faces No. 15 Oregon State on Friday. Currently, the top-10 schools in the nation are as follows: No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 LSU, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 California, No. 6 Washington, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Cal State Fullerton and No. 10 Texas.

Scouting the Beavers
No. 15 Oregon State (38-20, 7-11 Pac-10) will visit The Farm for a single game against the Cardinal on Friday at 7 p.m. The Beavers, 6-4 in their last 10 games, will be looking to fend off the Cardinal as the club tries to remain in sole possession of sixth place in the conference. Stanford picked up two wins agaisnt OSU in Corvallis earlier this season, collecting 7-0 and 7-2 victories in the process. Oregon State's top offensive threats are Brynnen Guthrie (.337, 60 H, 25 R, 25 RBI) and Clare Burnum (.329, 57 H, 30 R, 87 TB). The pitching staff includes a trio of capable hurlers: Monica Hoffman (13-8, 1.26 ERA, 134 K's in 117 IP), Crystal Draper (13-6, 1.84 ERA, 190 K's in 152 IP) and Kristen Hunter (12-6, 2.32 ERA, 9 CG, 105 K's in 120.2 IP). The Beavers are guided by eighth-year head coach Kirk Walker.

Scouting the Ducks
Stanford will close out its regular season with a doubleheader against Oregon (23-28. 1-17 Pac-10) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Ducks are scheduled to meet California on Friday at 2 p.m. before squaring off against the Card. Oregon was swept by UCLA and Washington last weekend and is 3-7 overall in its last 10 games. The Ducks are led at the plate by Alyssa Laux (.329, 47 H, 14 RBI, 61 TB) and Andrea Vidlund (.319, 46 H, 23 R, 8 HR, 37 RBI). The pitching staff centers around Anissa Meashintubby (9-5, 2.42 ERA, 95.1 IP, 88 K's) and Lindsey Kontra (6-12, 3.15 ERA, 9 CG, 111 IP). Stanford claimed a 4-3 victory over Oregon in Eugene on Apr. 5, as the Cardinal rallied for two runs in the top of the sixth en route to the win. First-year head coach Brent Rincon will be looking to close out Pac-10 competition with a sweep.

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, the 2001 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year, picked up his 250th career victory in Stanford's 9-1 win over Arizona State on May 3 and has accumulated a 251-115-1 overall mark while with the Cardinal. Prior to being named head coach at Stanford, Rittman spent four seasons as the assistant coach at Washington.

Splitting With The Spartans
STANFORD 10, SAN JOSE STATE 2 (MAY 8, 2002): Jessica Mendoza hit a grand slam and drove in six runs and Kira Ching chipped in with three RBI to lead Stanford to a 10-2, six-inning triumph in game one. The Cardinal managed to push one run across in the top of the first inning when Ching's RBI single brought home Sarah Beeson. Sophomore Jessica Allister and Maureen LeCocq singled to open the second frame and advanced when Leah Nelson was hit by a pitch. Mendoza followed with her 50th career home run, a grand slam over the center field fence to give Stanford a 5-0 lead. The Cardinal increased its advantage to 7-0 in the top of the sixth as Mendoza's two-run single brought home Jessica Draemel and Robin Walker. Two batters later, Ching drilled a two-run home run of her own to center to score Mendoza and give Stanford a 9-0 edge. Nelson capped the Cardinal scoring with an RBI double to left field, plating Allister for the 10th run. Elizabeth Bendig picked up the first win of her collegiate career, tossing three scoreless innings in relief.
SAN JOSE STATE 1, STANFORD 0 (MAY 8, 2002): The second game of the doubleheader featured a pitcher's duel between Stanford starter Maureen LeCocq and San Jose State hurler Brianne Ferguson. LeCocq (16-8) carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning until Ferguson helped her own cause with a single up the middle. Ferguson would advance to third base after the next two San Jose State hitters reached base and eventually come around to score on a wild pitch by LeCocq, giving the Spartans a 1-0 lead. San Jose State would end up with just two hits in the contest, with Veronica Ramos registering the second SJSU single. Ferguson was in trouble throughout the game, as the Cardinal had a runner reach second base in every inning except the top of the first. The San Jose State hurler escaped out of several one-out and two-out Stanford scoring threats, as the Cardinal stranded 12 runners on base. Ferguson went the distance for the win, scattering nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Jessica Draemel led the Cardinal offense, which had a two-out, bases-loaded situation in the seventh inning, with a 2-3 effort.

Pac-10 Taking Shape
With just one week remaining in conference play, Stanford finds itself in seventh place in the Pac-10 standings after dropping 11 of its last 12 conference matchups. UCLA and Arizona lead the pack, with both schools sitting at 15-3 and set to battle for the conference crown this weekend. Arizona State and Washington are both 10-8 and lead fifth-place California at 9-9 by one game in the race for third. Oregon State checks in at sixth place with a 7-11 mark, two games ahead of the Cardinal at 5-13. Stanford already has defeated the Beavers twice this year, and a sweep this weekend combined with one OSU loss will give the Cardinal sole possession of fifth place. Oregon rounds out the group with a 1-17 league mark in eighth place.

Winning Combination
While Stanford's Nos. 1-5 hitters haven't changed much over the course of the year (1-Robin Walker, 2-Jessica Mendoza, 3-Sarah Beeson, 4-Kira Ching, 5-Jessica Allister), the bottom four spots of the order have been shuffled around. One combination that seems to be working is as follows, with the team's record in parantheses when the listed athlete hits in that spot: 6- Maureen LeCocq (17-2), 7- Cassi Brangham (17-1), 8- Leah Nelson (21-9) and 9- Jessica Draemel (21-9). Five different players have batted in the Nos. 6 and 7 spots, while six athletes have held down Nos. 8 and 9 this season.

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 57 of 58 games, and is hitting .386. She leads the club in runs (62), hits (66), doubles (17), triples (3), home runs (14), total bases (131), slugging percentage (.766), on base percentage (.490) and stolen bases (27). She is currently the all-time Stanford leader in several offensive records: batting average, hits, doubles, triples, homeruns, runs scored and stolen bases.

Beeson Paces The Card
Senior Sarah Beeson has been one of Stanford's more solid hitters this season. Beeson is tied with Jessica Mendoza for the team lead with 44 RBI, and is second on the team with a .384 batting average and 61 total hits. She is also third in slugging percentage (.553). Beeson has started 56 of 58 games at first base and has hit five 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.

Notes From The Dugout
Stanford's 10-2 win over San Jose State in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday marked the first time the Cardinal had scored 10 runs in a game since an 11-2 victory over Hofstra on Mar. 8 at the Speedline Invitational...Kira Ching has reached base safely in eight of the last nine games and is hitting .467 (14-302) with seven runs, 14 RBI and three home runs during that stretch...Stanford's 10 hits in a 9-1 win over Arizona State on Friday matched the club's total for most hits in a conference game this season (Apr. 5 vs. Oregon, Apr. 6 vs. Oregon State)...Jessica Mendoza currently holds the longest hitting streak of the season at 11 games...Robin Walker's .283 average with two outs is tops among starters...Stanford has not had more than one sacrifice hit in a game all season...Maureen LeCocq has been a valuable asset to the Cardinal lineup this season, having played at six different positions (pitcher, second base, shortstop, third base, outfield, designated player)...Outfielder Cassi Brangham has not committed an error in 58 games this season...Freshman Elizabeth Bendig is hitting .036 with the bases empty and .412 with runners on base.

Notes From The Bullpen
Tori Nyberg has yet to throw a wild pitch in 214.1 innings this season...Both Stanford starters have been awarded the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honor this season, LeCocq (Apr. 1-7) and Nyberg (Feb. 19-24)...Cardinal starters Tori Nyberg and Maureen LeCocq have been effective this season, both in different ways. Nyberg has recorded 565 outs (262 ground-ball, 128 fly-ball, 175 strikeout), while LeCocq has registered 364 outs (156 ground-ball, 157 fly-ball, 51 strikeout).

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