Stanford Travels To Arizona For Pac-10 Road Games

April 10, 2003

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Heading Down To 'Zona ...
The 16th-ranked Stanford softball team, riding on a three-game winning streak, will be tested this weekend in Arizona. The Cardinal will face the top-ranked Wildcats on Friday night and continue their trip with single games on Saturday and Sunday against No. 16 Arizona State. This weekend marks Stanford's (30-14) Pac-10 Conference road opener for 2003.

Scouting The Opponents ...
Arizona (37-3) stands at the top of the Pac-10 with a perfect 6-0 record, getting two wins at UCLA and one at Washington last weekend. The Wildcats hold a 9-2 mark against ranked opponents, having lost to Cal State Fullerton and Texas. Freshman pitcher Alicia Hollowell has won all six of Arizona's conference games and has 236 strikeouts this season, holding a 0.33 ERA and a 24-2 record. Autumn Champion and Lovie Jung lead the Wildcat offense, hitting .443 and .442, respectively. Jung also has a team-high 15 doubles, 20 home runs and 59 RBI. Arizona has outscored its opposition 258-35.

Arizona State will host Cal on Friday night before facing the Cardinal. The Sun Devils have dropped three straight games, but hold a 26-12 overall record and stand at 3-3 in the league. Senior shortstop Kara Brun had her 17-game hitting streak snapped last weekend, and is batting .430 with 11 doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBI. Cheryl Evans is also boasting a .444 batting average with runners in scoring position. Arizona State has hit at least one home run in 19 games with season, including 10 multi-homer games.

National Rankings ...
The Cardinal dropped three spots from last week's rankings and stand at No. 16 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll released April 1. Oregon State dropped out of the poll but the rest of the Pac-10 teams are featured in the rankings, including the top three teams, led by top-ranked Arizona. UCLA stands at No. 2, Washington No. 3 and defending national champion California is ranked sixth. No. 12 Arizona State is followed by 16th-ranked Stanford and No. 22 Oregon.

Recapping Wednesday's Games ...
Freshmen Lauren Lappin and Catalina Morris both went 4-for-7 at the plate to lead Stanford to a non-conference doubleheader sweep over visiting Cal Poly, 8-1, 4-0 on Wednesday afternoon at Smith Family Stadium. Stanford started the first contest with a bang, putting five runs across the board in the first inning. Morris doubled off the wall and Lappin followed with a single. Consecutive walks to Cassi Brangham and Kira Ching scored the game's first run. Elizabeth Bendig delivered an RBI single and Maureen LeCocq knocked in two more runs to make it 4-0 Cardinal. Stanford added one more when Meghan Sickler's hit was mishandled by the Mustang shortstop. The Cardinal added three more in the second on Ching's two-run double and Jessica Allister's RBI single for the 8-0 Stanford advantage. Starter Dana Sorensen made easy work for the Cardinal fielders, striking out seven in three innings of work. Reliever Laura Severson picked up her fourth win of the year, improving to 4-2. The second game started much like the first for the Cardinal. Stanford jumped up on the Mustangs to start the nightcap, owning a 2-0 lead on Allister's double to right center scoring Lappin and Brangham. LeCocq and Michelle Thiry both singled to start the sixth inning off and later scored on Morris and Lappin's base hits for Stanford's final two runs of the game. Tori Nyberg got the win, pitching 6.1 shutout innings and scattered three hits. Eight different Cardinal recorded hits, with Morris collecting three of the team's 10.

Pac-10 Rankings ...
For all games played, the Cardinal lead the conference in doubles with 63. Stanford also ranks first for batters struck out (347) and batters k'ed looking (89). In just conference contests, the Cardinal pitching staff have fanned 51 which is a league best. Lauren Lappin's 10 hits in the Pac-10 also lead the competitive conference.

'LL' Making Her Mark ...
Freshman Lauren Lappin has had a huge impact in only her first 39 games as a collegiate softball player. Lappin leads the team with a .392 batting average, recording her first hit as a Cardinal against Massachusetts on Feb. 7. Stanford's hitter has also tallied 25 runs, seven doubles, 14 RBI and holds a .451 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 and since has two on the year. She currently has a nine-game hitting streak, dating back to March 29 vs. Washington.

Nyberg Standing Tall ...
At 5-11, senior pitcher Tori Nyberg has registered 23 starts and has 13 victories to her name in 2003. Nyberg has a 1.82 ERA in 119.0 innings of work. The Belmont, Calif., native has fanned 95 batters and held opponents to a .222 average. At the Stanford Classic, Nyberg fanned a season-high 10 batters against Texas A&M. She is also flexing a conference-best 9.3 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. 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) and earned the tournament's Most Valuable Pitcher honor. Against the Huskies (3/30) she recorded her second no-hitter of the year, finishing with 11 strikeouts. Sorensen is now 13-5 on the year, holding a team-low 0.92 ERA, and has struck out 210 batters in 129.2 innings of work. Thus far in the season, Sorensen has 11 double-digit strikeout performances, which leads the Pac-10 and holds a conference-best 11.22 strikeouts per game average.

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 91 of the squad's 160 RBI this season. They also have 13 of the team's 21 home runs and 31 of the 63 doubles. Brangham and Allister lead the team with 29 RBI, followed by Ching's 27. Allister also has six home runs and Ching has a team-leading 11 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 .352 average and has nine doubles, three home runs and 19 RBI to her credit. She has also delivered in the clutch, going 5-for-11 when a runner is on third base. Morris also has two game-winning hits thus far in her young career and leads the team with 11 stolen bases. Earlier in the season she posted a seven-game hitting streak in February, but currently is riding on a eight-game streak dating back to March 30 vs. Washington. Morris has also hit safely in 29 of Stanford's 44 games.

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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