No. 7/10 Stanford Travels To No. 4/5 Alabama For NCAA Super Regional

May 23, 2006

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COMING UP - NCAA SUPER REGIONAL: No. 7/10 Stanford Softball (42-16, 10-11), the 12th seed in the NCAA Tournament, travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to square off against No. 4/5 Alabama (52-9, 25-4 SEC), the fifth seed, in the NCAA Super Regional. The Cardinal will open with one game against the Crimson Tide on Friday, May 26 (6:30 pm CT). The second game of the series will start at 1:30 pm CT on Saturday, May 27, and will be followed by a third, tie-breaking game at 4:00 pm CT if neccessary.

The Cardinal is making its ninth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance in 2006, claiming the Regional championship last weekend. In 2005, 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 Tuscaloosa, Ala. Super Regional tournament can be purchased by calling the Alabama Athletics Ticket Office at 205-348-BAMA (2262). All Session Adult passes are $20, while All Session Youth passes are $12. Individual Session Adult passes are $12 and Individual Session Youth passes are $8. Youth prices apply to those ages 15 & under.

The NCAA tournament opened with 16 regional sites last weekend, consisting of four teams per site. The winners of each regional now 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.

STANFORD CLAIMS REGION VI CHAMPIONSHIP: Stanford went 4-1 last weekend in Fresno, Calif. to claim the Region VI championship and advance to the NCAA Super Regional. The Cardinal opened with a five-inning, 8-0 victory over Tulsa on Friday. Stanford fell to host Fresno State, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon, but bounced back with a 4-1 win over Cal State Fullerton. On Sunday, Stanford beat Fresno State, 9-3, to force a second game against the Bulldogs. The Cardinal then shut out the Bulldogs, 3-0, to advance to the Super Regional versus Alabama. Freshman Maddy Coon hit .538 in five games over the weekend with two runs, two doubles and six RBI, while sophomore Tricia Aggabao hit .467 with three runs, one double and two RBI. Senior pitcher Laura Severson went 2-0 over the weekend with a 0.50 ERA, taking wins over Cal State Fullerton and Fresno State. Freshman Missy Penna was also 2-0 over Tulsa and Fresno State, boasting a 1.75 ERA.

CARDINAL SWEEPS PAC-10 CLOSING WEEKEND: The Cardinal swept all three games in the final weekend of Pac-10 Conference action. On Friday, May 11, 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.

NO. 4/5 ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE: The fifth seed in the NCAA tournament, No. 4/5 Alabama enters the Super Regional with a 52-9 overall record, going 25-4 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide won three straight games last weekend as it hosted the regional. Alabama opened the weekend with an 8-0 win over Mississippi Valley State, then beat Georgia Tech, 8-5, on Saturday. The Crimson Tide cinched the regional championship with a second win over Georgia Tech on Sunday, 7-2. Brittany Rogers paces the squad with a .431 batting average, 60 runs, six doubles and 16 RBI. Stephanie VanBrakle is 27-5 in the circle with a 1.01 ERA and 328 strikeouts, while Chrissy Owens is 20-4 with a 0.66 ERA and 180 strikeouts.

MORRIS, LAPPIN NAMED ALL-PACIFIC REGION: The National Fastpitch Coaches Association has announced the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region teams, honoring student-athletes from nine NFCA regions. Stanford senior Catalina Morris was named to the First-Team All-Pacific Region, while fellow senior Lauren Lappin was honored as a Second-Team All-Pacific Region selection. The Pac-10 Conference boasted 23 selections to the NFCA All-Pacific Region Team, sweeping the First Team honors and claiming 10 of the 13 spots on the second team. The honorees will now be eligible for selection to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams.

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 SUPER REGIONALS: 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, 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 hosted first and second round regional action - UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State. All seven Pac-10 teams cinched Regional titles to advance to the Super Regional round this weekend. UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State and Arizona will each host a Super Regional, with California traveling to take on Oregon State and Washington traveling to Texas.

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 172 strikeouts in 34 appearances, ranking her sixth 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 and senior Catalina Morris have each collected five triples this year, one away from 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 ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll last week after five weeks of Bruin domination. UCLA 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 seed 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 celebrated his 400th career win this year 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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