No. 5/6 Stanford Hosts Saint Mary's, No. 3 Arizona and No. 8/10 Arizona State

April 19, 2006

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COMING UP: No. 5/6 Stanford Softball (31-8, 5-4) will host Saint Mary's (4-35, 0-8) Wednesday night at 7:00 pm before taking on No. 3 Arizona (32-7, 3-4) and No. 8/10 Arizona State (39-6, 3-3) this weekend. The Cardinal will square off against the Wildcats Friday at 7:00 pm, to be aired tape delayed on Fox Sports Net. Stanford will then face the Sun Devils at 1:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

STANFORD TAKES SERIES AGAINST CAL: Stanford bounced back last Saturday to win two games against the Bears after losing Friday in Berkeley, 8-0. The Cardinal took down Cal, 2-1 in nine innings during the first of two games Saturday. Sophomore Anna Beardman knocked in junior Jackie Rinehart for the winning run. In the next game, Stanford jumped ahead in the bottom of the third inning off of a two RBI hit by sophomore Erin Howe and remained in the lead for a 4-2 victory.

SAINT MARY'S GAELS: The Gaels travel across the Bay with a 4-35 overall record, 0-8 in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference. Sophomore Bronwyn Russell leads the Gael hitters with a .389 average, 17 runs, five RBI and seven doubles. In the circle, sophomore Chelsea Loftis is 1-11 with a 4.06 ERA, while sophomore Megan Galloway is 1-13 with a 5.70 ERA. Stanford leads the series against the Gaels, 21-6.

NO. 3 ARIZONA WILDCATS: The Wildcats are 32-7 entering Friday's matchup with a 3-4 record in the Pac-10. Arizona split two games versus Arizona State last weekend, losing on Friday, 4-2, in 10 innings before overtaking the Sun Devils, 3-0, on Saturday. Junior Caitlin Lowe leads the Wildcat hitters with a .490 average, 25 runs, and 18 RBI. Pitcher Taryne Mowatt is 16-4 this year with 204 strikeouts for a 0.84 ERA, while Alicia Hollowell is 16-3 with a 0.85 ERA and 235 strikeouts. Arizona leads the series against Stanford, 38-4.

NO. 8/10 ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS: The Sun Devils have accumulated a 39-6 record, going 3-3 in the Pac-10. Freshman Kaitlin Cochran is currently hitting .480 with 37 runs, 51 RBI and 11 home runs for a .843 slugging percentage. Sophomore Katie Burkhart has tallied an 18-3 record this season for a 1.54 ERA, striking out 244 total batters. ASU leads the series, 19-14, and claimed just one win against the Cardinal last season.

RECORD REVIEW: Freshmen pitcher Missy Penna came close to Dana Sorensen's single-game strike out record (16) earlier in the year against Nevada, tallying 13 strikeouts. Penna has totalled 131 strikeouts in 24 appearances, putting her near the all-time top-10 list with at least 14 games to play. Fellow newcomer Maddy Coon has homered nine times this year, one home run out of the all-time top-10 list. Sophomore Anna Beardman has collected five triples thus far, putting her one away from Catalina Morris' school record of six triples in 2004.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: The Amateur Softball Association announced its initial watch list on February 2 for the 5th annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Seniors Lauren Lappin and Catalina Morris and junior Jackie Rinehart have been named to the Watch List. A list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 10, followed by a list of three finalists to be announced May 31. The winner will be announced during the WCWS in Oklahoma City.

NATIONAL POLL: UCLA remained atop both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA Top 25 polls this week after beating Washington twice, followed by Texas in the second spot after winning three games last weekend. Arizona climbed to third in both polls, splitting two games against Arizona State last weekend. After claiming the series against Cal, the Cardinal climbed to fifth in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and sixth in the USA Today/NFCA poll, bumping the Golden Bears down to the sixth and seventh rankings, respectively.

PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL: Stanford was 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.

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