Cardinal Hosts Competitive Stanford Classic This Weekend

Feb. 26, 2003

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Let's Do This Again ...
The 11th-ranked Cardinal softball team returned home 2-1 from rainy weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Georgia to host their second tournament of the year. The Stanford Classic will feature three teams ranked in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top-25 Poll. Stanford will be joined by 12th-ranked Georgia, No. 21 Texas A&M and Long Beach State. The tournament will begin on Friday, Feb. 28 at 11 a.m. and play will continue all day Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the third place game will be held at 10 a.m., followed by the championship contest at 12 p.m. All games will be played at the Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium.

Tournament Schedule ...
Friday, Feb. 28
11 a.m. -- Long Beach State vs. Texas A&M
1:15 p.m. -- Georgia vs. Texas A&M
3:30 p.m. -- Stanford vs. Long Beach State
5:45 p.m. -- Stanford vs. Georgia

Saturday, March 1
11 a.m. -- Georgia vs. Long Beach State
1:15 p.m. -- Stanford vs. Texas A&M
3:30 p.m. -- Game 1: #1 seed vs. #4 seed
5:45 p.m. -- Game 2: #2 seed vs. #3 seed

Sunday, March 2
10 a.m. -- Game #1 Loser vs. Game #2 Loser
12 p.m. -- Game #1 Winner vs. Game #2 Winner

Scouting The Opponents ...
Georgia enters the Stanford Classic with a 18-1 record, and has won 13 consecutive contests. Oregon handed the Bulldogs their only loss, 3-2 in 12 innings, at the Seminole Classic in Tallahassee. Georgia has only played one ranked opponent, beating No. 15 Florida State 5-4. Nicole Barber leads the team with a .477 batting average, with two doubles, triples and home runs. The Bulldogs have six hitters with 10 or more RBI, with Michelle Green leading the way with 15. Green also holds a 10-1 record in the circle and sports a 0.38 ERA with two no-hitters to her name this season. Long Beach State stands at 6-5, finishing 2-1 in their invitational. Lauren Johnson has a .412 average with four doubles, three home runs and seven RBI to lead the 49er offense. Head coach Pete Manarino is sitting on career-win No. 699 and is the all-time winningest head coach at Long Beach State. Texas A&M won its second consecutive tournament as they took home the title of the St. Joseph's Aggie Invitational II last weekend to stand at 12-6 overall. Selena Collins has been a strong offensive force for the Aggies, batting .378 with five doubles, six home runs and 16 RBI. Thus far in the season, seven Aggies have hit home runs for a total of 18. Texas A&M has three pitchers with four wins, led by Lindsey Rippee with a 4-0 record and 0.97 ERA.

National Rankings ...
The Cardinal moved up one spot from last week's rankings and stand at No. 11 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll released Feb. 26. All eight Pac-10 teams are featured in the rankings, led by top-ranked UCLA. Arizona stands at No. 2, Washington No. 4 and defending national champion California is ranked sixth. No. 10 Arizona State is followed by 11th-ranked Stanford, No. 17 Oregon State and 23rd-ranked Oregon.

Recapping The NFCA Leadoff Classic ...
The Cardinal went 2-1 last weekend at the rainy Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Georgia. Stanford recorded victories over North Carolina (6-0) and Southern Mississippi (2-0), but fell to third-ranked Nebraska 1-0. The Cardinal got solo home runs from Lauren Lappin, Catalina Morris and Maureen LeCocq and a 2-for-3 performance at the plate from Jessica Allister to beat the Tar Heels. Tori Nyberg picked up her seventh win of the season against the Golden Eagles, with Michelle Thiry and Morris hitting in the Stanford runs. A solo home run in the top of the first inning was all that Nebraska needed to beat the Cardinal last Sunday. Dana Sorensen pitched the final five innings, recording 11 strikeouts and did not allow a runner on base. Allister and Sorensen were named to the NFCA All-Tournament team, marking Stanford as one of three schools to have two athletes selected for the squad.

'LL' Making Her Mark ...
Freshman Lauren Lappin has had a huge impact in only her first 15 games as a collegiate softball player. Lappin leads the team with a .457 batting average, recording her first hit as a Cardinal against Massachusetts on Feb. 7. Stanford's lead-off hitter has also tallied 10 runs, two doubles, eight RBI and holds a .528 on-base percentage. Lappin hit her first career home run last weekend against North Carolina, a solo shot over the left field fence.

Nyberg Standing Tall ...
At 5-11, senior pitcher Tori Nyberg has registered nine starts and has seven victories to her name in 2003. Nyberg has a 0.61 ERA, allowing only four earned runs in 45.2 innings of work. The Belmont, Calif., native has fanned 35 batters and held opponents to a .213 average. Last season, Nyberg was Stanford's ace in the circle recording a 26-11 mark with a 1.51 ERA in her first full season as a starter.

Look Who's Back ...
After missing last season due to a knee injury, junior two-time All-American Dana Sorensen saw her first action in more than a year at the ASU Fiesta Bowl Tournament. Sorensen pitched the final inning against UNLV, striking out two batters in her first appearance in 2003. On Feb. 14 Sorensen recorded her first start since Feb. 2, 2002 against Penn State. The San Diego, Calif., native went the distance, striking out eight and allowing only three hits in Stanford's 2-1 win over the Nittany Lions. Sorensen is now 3-0 on the year, holding a team-leading 0.53 ERA, and has fanned 45 batters in 26.1 innings of work. Last weekend against No. 3 Nebraska, Sorensen recorded 11 strikeouts in the final five innings and did not allow a Husker on base.

Call Her Clutch ...
Sophomore Michelle Thiry is second on the team with a .400 batting average primarily as a designated player or pinch-hitter. She as two doubles, one home run and six RBI to her name in 2003. Thiry is 1-for-3 as a pinch-hitter and 3-for-7 (.429) with runners in scoring position. Against Southern Mississippi last weekend, Thiry came in to pinch-hit and smacked a single to score Laura Severson for the 1-0 lead.

Looking Back At 2002 ...
Despite not reaching the College World Series in 2002, the Stanford softball team still had plenty to be proud of. The Cardinal concluded last season with a 44-20 overall record, recording their fifth consecutive 40-win season, and advanced to the postseason for the fifth straight year. The club finished in sixth place in the Pac-10, sporting a 7-14 conference ledger. The 2002 squad also remained among the nation's top-10 throughout the season and peaked as high as No. 2 - the highest ranking in program history. Stanford won 16 games in a row at one point, and opened the season by winning its first 11 contests. The Cardinal finished with a 1-2 mark at the NCAA Regionals in Fresno, which featured five teams ranked in the nation's top-20.

Cardinal Picked Fourth In Pac-10 Preseason Poll ...
Stanford was tabbed to finish fourth in the conference as selected by the Pac-10 coaches in the annual preseason poll. UCLA, the 2002 conference champion, was picked as the top team in 2003. The Cardinal garnered 30 points to tie California for fourth place. Arizona was chosen to finish second, followed by Washington, Stanford, Cal, Arizona State, Oregon State and Oregon. The Pac-10 placed seven of its eight squads in the NCAA Tournament last season, with four teams advancing to the World Series.

Welcome To The Farm ...
Stanford has a solid freshmen class of four players coming in this season. Infielder Megan Bordelon (Laguna Niguel, CA), shortstop Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, CA), outfielder Catalina Morris (Sonoita, AZ) and pitcher Laura Severson (Frankfort, IL) will all see their first action in the Cardinal and White this spring. Stanford also welcomes sophomore outfielder Katherine Hoffman (Kansas City, MO), who joins the squad after running for the Cardinal cross country team in 2000.

The Rittman File ...
John Rittman begins his seventh season at the helm of the Stanford women's softball program after being named head coach on July 12, 1996. Rittman's 2002 squad finished 44-20 overall and earned a sixth place finish in the Pac-10 at 7-14. The 2001 season was the most impressive campaign under Rittman's tenure, as the Cardinal finished with its best single-season overall record at 56-16-1. 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, 2002 and has accumulated a 254-120-1 overall mark while with the Cardinal. Prior to being named head coach at Stanford, Rittman spent four seasons as the assistant coach at Washington.

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