Cardinal Hosts Final Pac-10 Games

May 1, 2003

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Arizona Schools Coming To The Farm ...
Stanford will host its final home Pac-10 Conference games this weekend against the Arizona schools. Arizona State comes to town on Friday night for a 7 p.m. contest, and the top-ranked Wildcats will make a visit on Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). Sunday's game will also honor seniors Cassi Brangham, Kira Ching, Maureen LeCocq and Tori Nyberg. The Cardinal picked up a 5-0 win over visiting Saint Mary's on Wednesday night to stand at 36-20 overall.

Scouting The Opponents ...
Since beating Stanford 2-1 in Tempe on April 12, Arizona State has dropped seven straight games. The Sun Devils were defeated at Oregon State 8-4 and fell to Oregon 5-2 and 3-0 to stand at 28-19 overall and 5-10 in the Pac-10. Five players are batting over .300, led by Kara Brun's .393 average. Phelan Wright has a team-high 45 RBI and 14 home runs to lead ASU. Desiree Serrano has done the majority of the pitching for the Sun Devils, pitching 192 innings with 195 strikeouts and holds a 1.60 ERA.

Arizona has won eight consecutive since the Cardinal handed them a 4-3 defeat in Tucson on April 11. The Wildcats beat Oregon in five innings 8-0 and Oregon State 10-2 and 6-4 in 11 innings last weekend, holding a 45-5 overall mark and a conference-best 14-1 record in the Pac-10. Autumn Champion is batting .457 to lead Arizona, while Lovie Jung is hitting .448 with 17 doubles, 23 home runs and 69 RBI. Freshman Alicia Hollowell as a 30-3 record in the circle with a 0.76 ERA, tallying 289 strikeouts in 212.2 innings of work.

Earlier In The Season ...
Catalina Morris hit two solo home runs in the first and second innings and Dana Sorensen struck out 12 batters to lead Stanford to a 4-3 upset over Arizona at Hillenbrand Stadium on April 11. The win marked only the third all-time against the Wildcats for the Cardinal, who also handed Arizona its first Pac-10 defeat. Stanford could only manage three hits the next day at Arizona State, falling 2-1 to the Sun Devils. Maureen LeCocq hit her second home run in two days to tie the game, but ASU's Adriana Garcia came through with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to win the game. Home runs from Leah Nelson and Morris and a two-hit pitching performance from Sorensen led the Cardinal to a 4-1 victory the following day over the Sun Devils.

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 29. Oregon State dropped out of the poll but the rest of the Pac-10 teams are featured in the rankings, including the top two teams, led by top-ranked Arizona. UCLA stands at No. 2, Washington No. 5 and defending national champion California is ranked 9th. No. 15 Stanford is followed by 16th-ranked Arizona State and No. 21 Oregon.

Recapping Wednesday's Game ...
Stanford put up five runs on eight hits to defeat visiting Saint Mary's 5-0 in non-conference action on Wednesday night at Smith Family Stadium. The Cardinal improve to 36-20 overall, while the Gaels fall to 23-24 on the season. Stanford put the first run on the board in the third inning. Following a sacrifice bunt by Maureen LeCocq, Elizabeth Bendig delivered a base hit up the middle to score pinch runner Heather Shook. The Cardinal went up 2-0 in the fourth when Jessica Allister drilled her ninth home run of the season to left field. Stanford got three more runs in the bottom of the sixth off of four hits. Kira Ching and Bendig each had RBI singles, while Nelson drew a bases loaded walk to score a run. Bendig led the Cardinal offensively, going two-for-three at the plate with two RBI. Tori Nyberg pitched the first two innings and finished with four strikeouts and allowed just one hit. Laura Severson came in relief and got her fifth win of the season to improve to 5-2, fanning three Gael batters.

'LL' Making Her Mark ...
Freshman Lauren Lappin has had a huge impact in only her first 51 games as a collegiate softball player. Lappin leads the team with a .371 batting average, recording her first hit as a Cardinal against Massachusetts on Feb. 7. Stanford's hitter has also tallied 29 runs, eight doubles, 15 RBI and holds a .444 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 had a 12-game hitting streak from March 29 vs. Washington to April 13 and has tallied 18 multiple hit games. In conference play, Lappin is also hitting a team-high .378 with three doubles.

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 17-8 on the year, holding a team-low 1.12 ERA, and has struck out 274 batters in 175.1 innings of work. Thus far in the season, Sorensen has 13 double-digit strikeout performances, which leads the Pac-10 and holds a conference-best 11.15 strikeouts per game average. Nationally she ranks fourth with her strikeouts per seven innings average. With her 17 victories thus far on the year, Sorensen is three away from tying Stanford's career win mark (70) with 67 to date.

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 109 of the squad's 196 RBI this season. They also have 18 of the team's 31 home runs and 35 of the 71 doubles. Ching leads the team with 34 RBI, followed by Allister's 33 and Brangham's 31. Allister also has nine home runs and Ching has a team-leading 13 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 .337 average and has 10 doubles, seven home runs and 27 RBI to her credit. She has also delivered in the clutch, going 6-for-13 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 recently hit two home runs at Arizona and one vs. Arizona State. Morris has also hit safely in 35 of Stanford's 56 games.

Kira's On Fire ...
Senior Kira Ching had herself a weekend at Washington and UCLA last week. Against the Pac-10 foes Ching hit .667 with two doubles, three RBI, with a 3-for-4 performance on Sunday against the Bruins. She raised her batting average 20 points over the weekend to hold a .256 clip. Ching, who struggled earlier in the year, broke out of her hitting slump with a bases-clearing double at Washington.

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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