Stanford And Cal To Battle In Three-Game Series

April 17, 2003

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Rivalry Week ...
Coming off a successful weekend in Arizona and a rained out doubleheader with San Jose State on Wednesday, the 15th-ranked Stanford softball team will host rival California on Friday night at 7 p.m. The two teams will also meet Saturday afternoon in Berkeley for a doubleheader that is set to begin at 1 p.m. The Cardinal (32-15) have won five of their last six games, including a 4-3 upset at top-ranked Arizona last weekend.

Scouting The Opponent ...
Cal enters Friday's contest with a 35-12 overall record after a rain-shorten 4-0 victory over visiting Santa Clara on Wednesday afternoon. The Golden Bears are tied with the Cardinal in the Pac-10, holding a 4-5 conference mark but have lost their last three contests at the Arizona schools. Veronica Nelson leads the team with a .378 batting average with nine home runs and 27 RBI. Vicky Galindo (.343) and Lindsay James (.319) are both hitting over .300 for California. Kaleo Eldredge is also hitting .400 in Pac-10 Conference play. Kelly Anderson (14-6) and Kristina Thorson (10-5) have done most of the pitching for the Golden Bears, combining for 241 strikeouts. Anderson holds a 0.96 ERA in 138 innings of work. Head coach Diane Ninemire enters her 16th season with the Golden Bears and is one victory shy of collecting the most wins by a Cal coach in school history. Former baseball coach Bob Milano holds the record at 688.

Since joining the Pac-10 and becoming a varsity sport in 1995, the Cardinal are 12-19 against their rival Cal. Stanford's first victory against the Golden Bears was in 1996 when the Cardinal won 7-2 at Twin Creeks. Cal took two of three in last year's conference series, winning 3-2 in Berkeley and spliting games at Smith Family Stadium. Stanford took the first game 6-0, but dropped the nightcap 7-6. At the 2002 NCAA Regionals held in Fresno, the Golden Bears defeated the Cardinal 1-0 and went on to capture their first NCAA Title.

National Rankings ...
The Cardinal moved up one spot from last week's rankings and stand at No. 15 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll released April 15. 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 10th. No. 12 Arizona State is followed by 15th-ranked Stanford and No. 20 Oregon.

Rain Strikes On Wednesday Night ...
Stanford was supposed to host a doubleheader with San Jose State on Wednesday night, but the games were postponed due to rain. The Cardinal will now take on the Spartans on Tuesday, May 6 at 5 p.m. at the Smith Family Stadium.

Rankings From The Pac ...
For all games played, Stanford leads the conference with 65 doubles and has registered a league-high 969 putouts. The Cardinal pitching staff has fanned 371 batters, 93 looking, to stand atop the Pac-10. In just conference games Stanford leads the way with 75 k's, while Lauren Lappin is tied for first with 14 hits in the league.

'LL' Making Her Mark ...
Freshman Lauren Lappin has had a huge impact in only her first 42 games as a collegiate softball player. Lappin leads the team with a .395 batting average, recording her first hit as a Cardinal against Massachusetts on Feb. 7. Stanford's hitter has also tallied 27 runs, eight doubles, 14 RBI and holds a .458 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 12-game hitting streak, dating back to March 29 vs. Washington and has tallied 17 multiple hit games. In conference play, Lappin is also hitting a team-high .476 with three doubles.

Nyberg Standing Tall ...
At 5-11, senior pitcher Tori Nyberg has registered 24 starts and has 13 victories to her name in 2003. Nyberg has a 1.87 ERA in 123.2 innings of work. The Belmont, Calif., native has fanned 98 batters and held opponents to a .221 average. At the Stanford Classic, Nyberg fanned a season-high 10 batters against Texas A&M. She is also flexing a conference-best 8.9 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 15-5 on the year, holding a team-low 1.03 ERA, and has struck out 231 batters in 143.1 innings of work. Thus far in the season, Sorensen has 12 double-digit strikeout performances, which leads the Pac-10 and holds a conference-best 11.28 strikeouts per game average. Nationally she ranks fourth with her strikeouts per seven innings 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 94 of the squad's 169 RBI this season. They also have 15 of the team's 27 home runs and 31 of the 65 doubles. Brangham leads the team with 30 RBI, followed by Allister's 29. 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 .355 average and has nine doubles, six home runs and 23 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, and most recently hit two home runs at Arizona and one vs. Arizona State last weekend. Morris has also hit safely in 31 of Stanford's 47 games.

Liz At The Hot Corner ...
Sophomore third basemen Elizabeth Bendig has made the most of her first season as a starter. She is fourth on the team with a .275 batting average and has recorded six doubles, one home run and 10 RBI. She is hitting even better in conference play, holding a .286 average. The Santa Ana, Calif., native had a seven-game hitting streak going from April 2 through April 11. Bendig came up with a big run scoring double at Arizona last weekend, giving Stanford a 2-0 lead in the first inning. She also hit her first career home run against Oregon on April 4.

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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