Stanford Heads To Worth Classic

March 1, 2006

COMING UP: No. 5 Stanford Softball returns to the road this weekend for the Worth Classic in Fullerton, CA. The Cardinal will begin the weekend against No. 2 Tennessee (11:15 pm) and Purdue (3:45 pm) on Friday, March 3. On Saturday, Stanford will play UCSB (1:30 pm) before squaring off against No. 16 Northwestern (6:00 pm). The Cardinal will conclude the tournament against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, March 5 (3:45 pm).

CARDINAL NABS FOUR WINS IN PALM SPRINGS: Stanford enjoyed a successful weekend at the competitive Palm Springs Classic. The Cardinal claimed victories over Texas Tech, Maryland, Illinois-Chicago and No. 25 LSU in an exciting game Sunday afternoon. Freshman pitcher Missy Penna was 3-1 on the weekend, striking out 24 batters in 20 innings and walking only five. Junior leftfielder Jackie Rinehart led the squad in hitting with a .611 average, scoring the winning run over LSU. Freshman infielder Maddy Coon collected two more home runs over the weekend, bringing her season total to five and tallying a .842 slugging percentage for the tournament.

NO. 2 TENNESSEE LADY VOLS: After three weeks of competition, No. 2 Tennessee remains undefeated with a 10-0 record. The Lady Vols traveled to the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Georgia last weeked, picking up wins over Florida State and No. 24 Iowa, while games against Louisiana-Lafayette and Nebraska were cancelled due to rain. Junior pitcher Monica Abbott is 7-0 for the Lady Vols with a 0.69 ERA this season. Junior Lindsay Schutzler leads the team in hitting with a .531 hitting average, 12 runs and nine RBI. Stanford is 3-2 against Tennessee.

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS: The Boilermakers head into the Worth Classic with an 8-6 record, coming away from the Bradley Invitational last weekend with wins over Western Illinois and Northern Iowa, and a loss against Bradley. Sophomore Tiffany Krcelich was named Big 10 Player of the Week for her peformance last weekend, in which she batted .769 with 10 hits in 13 at-bats, including four RBI and six runs. Stanford and Purdue have not met in competition before this tournament.

UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS: UCSB also traveled to the Palm Springs Classic, tallying a 2-3 record over the weekend, including a 10-1 victory over Ohio State. Junior Jennifer Davis leads the Gauchos in the circle with a 5-3 record and 2.82 ERA on the season. Junior Kendra Singley boasts a .410 average with eight RBI and one home run in 2006. Stanford is 8-1 against the Gauchos.

NO. 16 NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS: The Wildcats were also rained out of three games last weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, but were able to play two games, including a 7-2 win over Massachussets. Northwestern is now 8-4 on the season. Senior pitcher Courtnay Foster is 6-2 with a 1.96 ERA and senior infielder Kristen Amegin leads the team in hitting with a .382 average.

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS: The Titans also traveled to the Palm Springs Classic last weekend, amassing a 3-2 record and upsetting No. 8 Texas A&M, 6-5. Starting junior pitcher Candice Baker is 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA. Stanford claims an 11-3 record against the Titans.

NATIONAL POLL: Undefeated Arizona remains atop the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll, accumulating a 15-0 record. Tennessee holds on to second and Texas moved up to the third spot with 468 points. The Stanford women moved up to the fifth ranking this week, garnering 395 points.

CONFERENCE RANKINGS: Stanford has been selected by conference coaches in the preseason poll to finish third in the Pac-10 this season. UCLA earned seven first-place votes to take the top spot, followed by Arizona in second with one first-place vote. Bay Area rival California is ranked fourth in the conference. UCLA, Arizona and California all advanced to the WCWS in 2005, with UCLA losing to Michigan in the championship series. 2005 marked the 19th-straight season in which a Pac-10 team played in the WCWS championship game.

HEAD COACH John Rittman: Now in his tenth season on The Farm, head coach John Rittman has tallied a 388-181-1 overall record (nine full seasons) and coached his team to the school's first-ever conference championship last season. Rittman recently celebrated his 400th career win against Maryland at the Palm Springs Classic. In 2004, Rittman was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and went on to help coach Team USA to a gold medal at the Athens Summer Olympics.

RECORD-BREAKING 2005: Stanford is looking to build off of a strong postseason finish in 2005, in which the Cardinal hosted the NCAA Super Regional versus Tennessee. The season proved to be record-breaking as Stanford claimed a share of the Pac-10 regular season championship for the first time in school history. Shortstop Lauren Lappin, outfielder Catalina Morris and rookie infielder Michelle Smith all earned NFCA All-American honors. In addition to being named First-Team All-Conference, Lappin was designated Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in the first year of the award's existence. The Cardinal returns 13 letterwinners and seven starters in 2006, including seniors Lappin, Morris, Megan Bordelon, Shoney Hixson and Laura Severson. Stanford will also enjoy the presense of talented newcomers Maddy Coon (Chappaqua, NY) and Missy Penna (Miami, FL).

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