No. 7 Stanford Opens NCAA Regional Versus Tulsa Friday Night

May 17, 2006

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COMING UP - NCAA REGIONAL: No. 7 Stanford Softball (38-15, 10-11), the 12th seed in the NCAA Tournament, is set to open the Regional against Tulsa (34-22, 15-8 C-USA) this Friday, May 19 (7:30 pm) in Fresno, Calif. Host No. 22 Fresno State (35-17, 12-3 WAC) and Cal State Fullerton (36-22, 14-4 Big West) will play the opening game at 5:00 pm on Friday.

The Cardinal is making its ninth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance in Fresno. Last season, Stanford took three-straight games at the Regional before falling to Tennessee in the Super Regional. Stanford has advanced to the Women's College World Series two times in program history, during the 2001 and 2004 seasons.

Tickets for the Fresno, Calif. regional tournament can be purchased by calling the Bulldog Ticket Office at 559-278-3647 or by going on-line to Prices for Tournament Passes (six games) are $60 for Lower Box Reserved, $50 for Upper Reserved/1st and 3rd Base Risers, $30 for General Admission Outfield and $20 for students, seniors and children. Single Day tickets are priced at $25 for Lower Box Reserved, $20 for Upper Reserved, $15 for General Admission Outfield and $12 for students, seniors and children.

The NCAA Tournament consists of 16 regional sites of four teams each. The winners of each regional site will advance to eight Super Regionals, where the winners play a best of a three-game series. The remaining eight teams will advance to the Women's College World Series, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. In the Championship final, two teams will play a best-of-three series.

CARDINAL SWEEPS CLOSING WEEKEND: The Cardinal swept all three games in the final weekend of Pac-10 Conference action. On Friday, Stanford battled back to take down No. 17 Washington, 3-2. Missy Penna's home run put the Cardinal on the board against the Huskies. Lauren Lappin brought home Jackie Rinehart with a single, then scored the winning run in the fifth inning. The Cardinal upset top-ranked UCLA on Saturday, 3-2, after taking the lead in the first inning. Rinehart hit home Catalina Morris for the game-winning run in the sixth inning. Stanford closed out the weekend with another upset of UCLA on Senior Day. Michelle Smith put the Cardinal ahead with a two-run double in the first inning. UCLA tied the game in the third inning, but Stanford took the lead with another RBI from Smith in the third inning en route to a 5-4 win.

TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE: Tulsa opens the regional with a 34-22 record, 15-8 in Conference USA. The Golden Hurricane claimed a conference championship with a 3-0 win over Marshall last weekend. Brooke Smart slammed a walk off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Tulsa the win. Jessica Barr currently leads the Hurricane hitters with a .302 average, 11 runs, 17 RBI and eight doubles. In the circle, Maren Genow is 15-9 with a 2.59 ERA, striking out 136 batters this year in 159.1 innings. Julie Fennell is also 13-8 with a 2.14 ERA, striking out 128 in 147 innings. This regional marks the first meeting between the Cardinal and the Golden Hurricane.

NO. 22 FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS: No. 22 Fresno State plays host to the regional with a 35-17 overall record, 12-3 in the WAC. The Bulldogs went 1-2 last weekend at the WAC Tournament, opening with a 2-1 loss to Nevada. Fresno State rebounded with a 9-0 win over Louisiana Tech, but closed the weekend with a 6-5 loss to Hawai'i. Christina Clark paces the Bulldog hitters with a .434 average, 55 runs, 29 RBI, 18 doubles, four triples and seven home runs. Starter Robin Mackin is 26-12 in the circle with a 1.45 ERA, striking out 387 batters in 250.2 innings pitched. Stanford leads the series, 9-5, against the Bulldogs. The Cardinal was rained out earlier this season against Fresno State on April 5.

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS: Cal State Fullerton travels to Fresno with a 36-22 record, 14-4 in the Big West Conference. The Titans clinched the conference title with a 6-1 victory over UC Riverside last Saturday. Cal State Fullerton also picked up 5-0 and 3-2 wins over the Highlanders last weekend. Amanda Kamekona leads the Titan squad with a .338 average, 23 runs, 25 RBI, eight doubles and four home runs. Candice Baker is 21-9 in the circle with a 2.18 ERA, striking out 249 batters in 202.1 innings pitched. Stanford took down Cal State Fullerton, 4-2, earlier this year at the Worth Classic. The Cardinal leads the all-time series against the Titans, 11-3.

SEVEN PLAYERS HONORED BY PAC-10: Seven Cardinal softball players were honored by the Pac-10 Conference awards. Senior Lauren Lappin was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season. Lappin and senior teammate Catalina Morris were named First-Team All-Pac-10 selections. Freshman Maddy Coon was also awarded a Second Team honor. Sophomore Becky McCullough, freshman Missy Penna, junior Jackie Rinehart and sophomore Michelle Smith were all honored as Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 selections.

MORRIS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior outfielder Catalina Morris was announced the Pac-10 Player of the Week on May 16. Morris batted .375 in the final weekend of conference play to lead Stanford to three-straight wins, including two upsets of top-ranked UCLA. She collected three runs, one double, one triple and was 2-2 in stolen bases. The honor is Morris' first Pac-10 Player of the Week award this season.

SEVEN PAC-10 TEAMS ADVANCE TO POSTSEASON: For the eighth consecutive year, the Pac-10 qualified at least seven of its eight teams to the NCAA Tournament. Pac-10 Champion UCLA received the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and will be joined by No. 2 Arizona, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 Oregon State, No. 10 California, No. 12 Stanford and No. 14 Washington. Three Pac-10 teams will host first and second round regional action - UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State.

SENIOR TRIBUTE: Five Cardinal players were honored on Saturday as departing seniors. Over the last four years, Megan Bordelon (Laguna Niguel, CA), Shoney Hixson (Oklahoma City, OK), Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, CA), Catalina Morris (Sonoita, CA) and Laura Severson (Frankfort, IL) have led their squads to four consecutive berths in the NCAA Tournament, including a trip to the Women's College World Series in 2004. The team has gone 171-76 over the last four years, helping Stanford to its first-ever Pac-10 championship in 2005.

RECORD REVIEW: Freshmen pitcher Missy Penna came close to Dana Sorensen's single-game strikeout record (16) earlier in the year against Nevada, tallying 13 strikeouts. Penna has totalled 160 strikeouts in 32 appearances, ranking her eighth on the single season top-10 list heading into postseason action. 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: Arizona knocked UCLA out of the top spot in the Softball Top 25 Poll this week after five weeks of Bruin domination. UCLA now sits in second, with Texas still solid in the third spot. California improved to the fifth ranking and Tennessee sits in sixth. Stanford improved to the seventh ranking this week, shared with Arizona State. Stanford has been awarded the 12th seed in the NCAA Tournament, with the top see going to UCLA.

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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