Stanford Opens Pac-10 Season, Hosts Top-Ranked Teams

March 27, 2003

Stanford, Calif. -

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Let The Conference Season Begin ...
After splitting a doubleheader at Fresno State on Wednesday night, the 12th-ranked Stanford softball team returns home and will host the two top-ranked teams in the country this weekend. The Cardinal's Pac-10 season opener won't be easy, as they will battle No. 1 UCLA at 7 p.m. on Friday night. No. 2 Washington will come to The Farm for games on Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) to finish out the weekend. Friday's contest will be broadcasted on FOX Sports Net, shown taped delayed, with Barry Tompkins and Angie Arlati doing play-by-play. On Sunday, Stanford softball will be raising money for the American Cancer Society in it annual 'Strikeout Cancer Day.' A raffle and home run derby will follow the Husky/Cardinal contest.

Scouting The Opponents ...
The Bruins returned to action on Tuesday after a two week layoff, posting a doubleheader sweep of CS Fullerton, 11-2 in five innings and taking the nightcap 8-2. UCLA swept the 2002 season series against the Cardinal and holds the all-time advantage in the series, 34-7. Two Bruin hitters are batting over .500, led by Natasha Watley (.539) and Tairia Mims (.512). Mims has also contributed a team-high 11 doubles, 10 home runs and 40 RBI. In the circle, Keira Goerl has a 19-2 mark and 0.16 ERA to lead UCLA. The Bruins are coached by Sue Enquist, who is in her 15th season at the helm of the program.

Washington will make its Pac-10 debut at California on Friday afternoon. The Huskies leads Stanford in the all-time series 28-7, but Stanford defeated Washington 3-1 at the Speedline Invitational earlier this season. Washington is riding on an eight-game winning streak, starting after their loss to the Cardinal. Kristen Rivera (.394) and Kathy Fiske (.376) are leading the Husky offense, and Rivera has 15 home runs on the year. Pitcher Tia Bollinger is 17-1 on the season with three saves and a 1.31 ERA, fanning 119 batters. Washington is coached by Teresa Wilson, who enters her 12th year as head coach of the Huskies.

National Rankings ...
The Cardinal stayed at the same spot from last week's rankings and stand at No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll released March 24. All eight Pac-10 teams are featured in the rankings, including the top three teams, led by top-ranked UCLA. Washington stands at No. 2, Arizona No. 3 and defending national champion California is ranked seventh. No. 12 Stanford is followed by 13th-ranked Arizona State, No. 19 Oregon and 22nd-ranked Oregon State.

Recapping Wednesday's Doubleheader ...
The Cardinal split a non-conference, midweek doubleheader at Fresno State on Wednesday. Bulldog pitcher Jaime Southern allowed just one hit and fanned 11 Stanford batters en route to a 2-0 Fresno victory. Catalina Morris recorded the Cardinal's only hit, an infield single in the top of the first inning. Dana Sorensen took the loss, scattering four hits and finished with eight strikeouts. Stanford's offense came alive in the nightcap, earning a 1-0 win. Cassi Brangham's base hit in the fourth scored Kira Ching for the game's only and winning Cardinal run. Maureen LeCocq finished the contest with a perfect 3-for-3 performance at the plate to lead Stanford. Tori Nyberg got the win, allowing two hits and moved her record to 12-4.

'LL' Making Her Mark ...
Freshman Lauren Lappin has had a huge impact in only her first 29 games as a collegiate softball player. Lappin leads the team with a .341 batting average, recording her first hit as a Cardinal against Massachusetts on Feb. 7. Stanford's hitter has also tallied 15 runs, four doubles, eight RBI and holds a .424 on-base percentage. Lappin hit her first career home run against North Carolina at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, a solo shot over the left field fence.

Nyberg Standing Tall ...
At 5-11, senior pitcher Tori Nyberg has registered 19 starts and has 12 victories to her name in 2003. Nyberg has a 1.27 ERA, 18 earned runs in 99.1 innings of work. The Belmont, Calif., native has fanned 86 batters and held opponents to a .207 average. At the Stanford Classic, Nyberg fanned a season-high 10 batters against Texas A&M. 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. At the Stanford Classic, she threw her first career no-hitter against No. 12 Georgia (2/28) and fanned 15 batters. She also had a huge weekend at the Speedline Invitational, striking out 55 in 29 innings, including a one-hit 14 k's in the team's upset of Washington (3-1). Sorensen is now 10-3 on the year, holding a team-low 0.61 ERA, and has struck out 155 batters in 91.2 innings of work. Thus far in the season, Sorensen has seven double-digit strikeout performances.

Upperclassmen Stepping It Up ...
Stanford's senior and junior class of Jessica Allister, Cassi Brangham, Kira Ching and Maureen LeCocq are the heart of the team's lineup. All together, they have recorded 69 of the squad's 119 RBI this season. They also have 11 of the team's 15 home runs and 27 of the 47 doubles. Allister and Brangham lead the team with 23 RBI, while Allister has five home runs. Ching also has a team-leading 10 doubles to her name.

Morris On A Tear ...
Freshman Catalina Morris has quietly become one of Stanford's leading hitters this season. The Sonoita, Ariz., native is second on the team with a .340 average and has four doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI to her credit. She has also delivered in the clutch, going 4-for-8 when a runner is on third base. Morris also has two game-winning hits thus far in her young career. She posted a team-best seven-game hitting streak from Feb. 14-22, and has a current streak of four contests with a hit. On the season, Morris has hit safely in 21 of Stanford's 34 games.

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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