Cardinal Softball Opens League Play At Arizona Schools

March 31, 2005

Cardinal Opens League Play On The Road: The Stanford softball team (24-5, 0-0 Pac-10), kick off conference play on the road at the Arizona schools this weekend. The Cardinal take on No. 2 Arizona (26-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. in Tucson, Arizona. Games against No. 19 Arizona State (25-7) will take place on Saturday, April 2 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 1 p.m. in Tempe, Arizona.

Last Week: The Cardinal went 4-1 at the Stanford Invitational and were tabbed tourney champions after they beat UNLV (who also went 4-1) in head-to-head competition ... Stanford picked up victories over St. Mary's (W, 7-0), Hawaii (W, 4-2), Illinois (W, 3-1) and UNLV (W, 3-0) ... They took a loss to Northwestern (L, 2-7) ... Catalina Morris went 6-for-18 (.333) for the weekend with two RBI and four runs scored ... Both Becky McCullough and Laura Severson went 2-0 in the circle ... Michelle Smith led the team with five RBI.

About Arizona State: The Sun Devils (25-7) are coached by Linda Wells ... They are led by Mindy Cowles (.352, 31 H, 29 RBI) and Valerie Sevilla (.340, 33 H, 24 RBI) ... In the circle, Katie Burkhart leads the staff (9-3, 0.64 ERA, 129 K's) while Desiree Serrano (10-2, 0.95, 86 K's) is right behind her ... ASU leads the all-time series with Stanford 18-12 ... Last season, the Cardinal swept the three-game series, winning 7-0 and 4-0 in Stanford and 7-6 in Tempe ... The Sun Devils are hitting .272 on the year with a 1.02 team ERA and .966 fielding percentage.

McCullough Gets In Done In The Circle: Freshman hurler Becky McCullough (Moraga, CA) improved to 6-0 on the year with her two victories in the circle over the weekend. She picked up wins against UNLV and Illinois to help the Cardinal win the Stanford Tournament over the weekend. McCullough scattered four hits over seven innings of work with a career-high 11 strikeouts. She followed that with a win over UNLV as she pitched a four-hit complete game shutout. For the weekend, the freshman had a 0.44 ERA over 16.0 innings of work with 17 K's. She held her opponents to a .143 batting average as well. She then went on to combined with Danika Dukes to throw a one-hit shutout over Fresno State on Monday night to improve to 7-0. She now sports a 1.37 ERA with 48 K's on the year.

Stanford Digs The Long Ball: Freshman Michelle Smith (Agoura Hills, CA) has started off 2005 with a bang. The third baseman has hit a team-leading 10 homeruns in 29 games played. Junior Catalina Morris (Sonoita, AZ) is right behind her with nine homeruns on the season. The Cardinal have 39 homeruns so far in 2005 - that ranks third for a single season on The Farm.

Cardinal Hit Parade: Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, CA) and Leah Nelson (Oakland, CA) lead the team with 30 and 31 hits respectively. Lappin leads the squad with 31 runs scored while Nelson has tallied 22 to date. Michelle Smith checks in with 27 hits in 20 games and leads the team with 25 RBI on the year. Catalina Morris is second with 24.

Up Next: The Cardinal have a mid-week tilt against San Jose State on Wednesday, April 6 before welcoming ULCA and Washington to Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium for the weekend's conference matchups.

Notes From The Dugout: Leah Nelson leads the team with 11 mulit-hit games ... Michelle Smith leads the squad with 10 multi-RBI contests ... Catalina Morris is on an eight-game hitting streak heading into this weekend's games - her longest of the season ... Stanford recorded a season-high 19 hits against DePaul (2/12) earlier this year ... Cardinal pitchers have thrown six one-hitters in 2005.

This and That: Stanford's longest winning streak of the season was a 14 game stretch (from 2/12 to 3/5) ... They are currently on a one-game win streak ... The Cardinal have outscored their opponents, 188-53 this year ... The Cardinal have posted 12 shutouts this year ... Stanford has scored 10 or more runs four times in 2005 ... The Cardinal have outscored their opponent in every inning except the seventh ... Stanford is 20-1 when they outhit their opponents.

Stanford Picked Fourth In Preseason Pac-10 Coaches Poll: California has been selected by the Pac-10 Conference softball coaches as the Conference's top team in 2005. The Bears received 44 points, including three first place votes. Just one point behind, Arizona tabbed second place with 43 points, while UCLA was picked third with 42 points. Stanford finished fourth with 30 points, while Oregon and Washington finished fifth and sixth with 22 and 21 points, respectively. Rounding out the rest of the poll was Oregon State with 12 points and Arizona State with 10 points.

Lappin and Rinehart On Player Of The Year Watch List: The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced today its initial watch list for the 4th annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Junior shortstop Lauren Lappin and sophomore outfielder Jackie Rinehart are among those on the list. The watch list is comprised of 40 players that represent 23 colleges and 10 different Conferences. A list of 25 finalists will be announced on April 5.

Head Coach John Rittman: Cardinal head coach John Rittman, now in his ninth year on The Farm, was named the 2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after guiding Stanford to its best Pac-10 finish in school history in '04 as they tied for second. He was an assistant coach for the 2004 USA Softball team, that brought home a gold medal in the Athens Summer Olympics. Rittman has compiled a 361-166-1 overall record at Stanford. He has led the Cardinal to seven consecutive NCAA postseason appearances (including two CWS stints) during his tenure and seven consecutive 40 win seasons.

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