No. 10/13 Cardinal Softball Resumes Action at the Stanford Invitational II

March 21, 2007

Stanford, Calif. -

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THIS WEEK: After taking a week off to prepare for final exams, the No. 10/13 Cardinal softball team is back in action and will host the Stanford Invitational II this weekend. The home tournament is the third of the season for the Cardinal, and kicks off Friday with an 11 a.m. contest between the Ohio University Bobcats and the Portland State Vikings. Stanford takes the field on Saturday at 2 p.m. for a pair of games against Long Beach State and Ohio, before meeting Portland State and UC Davis in back-to-back games on Sunday at noon. The Cardinal has gone a combined 10-0 at its previous two tournaments at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium.

ON DECK: Stanford heads to Fresno State for a double-header with the Bulldogs on Tuesday, Mar. 27, before opening Pac-10 play at the Oregon schools the following weekend. Stanford will battle No. 16/21 Oregon State in Corvallis on Friday, Mar. 30 before meeting the No. 12/14 Oregon Ducks in Eugene Mar. 31 and Apr. 1.

SEASON TO DATE: Stanford is 21-5 in 2007, after going 5-0 and claiming a third tournament title at the Stanford Classic, Mar. 9-11. On Feb. 9, the Cardinal opened the season at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz., and went 3-2, with a trio of solid wins and a pair of losses to No. 4/4 Northwestern and No. 17/18 Texas. Stanford closed out the weekend with a decisive win over Northwestern State, however, and came home to dominate six games on its home field. After topping Sacramento State in the home-opener, the Cardinal went a perfect 5-0 and shutout two opponents at the Stanford Invitational to claim the tournament championship. The Cardinal won another title at the FIU/Adidas Invitational the following weekend, with a perfect 5-0 record at the Golden Panthers' tournament in Miami, Fla. The squad shutout four opponents during the weekend, behind an impressive performance by Missy Penna. At the Worth Classic in Fullerton, Stanford went 2-3, with wins over Texas Tech and Minnesota. In its most recent outing, the team picked up wins over Loyola, Sacramento State, San Diego State and two over UC Santa Barbara. The Cardinal has outscored opponents 136-50 this season and is batting .310 as a team.

SETTLING IN: Freshman Shannon Koplitz is finding her place on the Cardinal softball team, and recently it's been in the starting line-up. After starting just one of her first 14 collegiate games, the New Orleans, La. native has started her last 12. Koplitz earned her starting spot against Syracuse at the FIU/Adidas Invitational, and didn't disappoint. She hit homeruns in her first three of those starts, and has been consistently proving herself at the plate and on the field. The rookie went 5-for-11 (.455) at the Stanford Classic, with three extra-base hits. Koplitz's weekend was highlighted by her performance in the team's 2-0 win over Loyola. She cracked a double and her first career triple in her two at bats during the game. She finished the weekend with two doubles, a triple and four walks which contributed to a .600 on-base percentage. She now boasts a .343 average, 12 hits, seven extra-base hits and 10 RBI on the year.

DOUBLE DUTY: Sophomore Maddy Coon has found her way to second base 11 times this season, with more doubles than any player in the Pac-10. In seven at bats at the Stanford Classic, Coon cracked two doubles and a homerun. As a team, Stanford has 39 doubles this year and 61 hits for extra bases.

NEXT TO NONE: Becky McCullough and Missy Penna both threw one-hitters their last time out, coming inches from no-hitters by allowing just one infield hit. Against Loyola, McCullough pitched six and two-thirds hitless innings, but with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Amy Solava hit a dribbler in front of the plate and beat the ball out for the first Rambler hit. Against UC Santa Barbara, Penna allowed Christine Ramos an infield single to lead-off the game, but denied the Gauchos any more hits for the rest of the contest. Penna threw her first career no-hitter against UC Davis last season, and has thrown three one-hitters this season. The one-hitter was the first of McCullough's career.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Cardinal is 11-0 at home this season and has claimed titles at both of its previous home tournaments. Stanford has outscored opponents 63-13 at Smith Family Stadium this year, and is hitting .326 as a team in its home venue.

IN CONFERENCE: Maddy Coon is the conference leader in doubles, with 11 in her first 26 games. Coon also holds a top-10 slugging percentage (.676) and a top-10 on-base percentage (.494). Freshman Rosey Neill continues to be one of the top players in earning free bases. She is tied for fourth in the conference in walks and tied for third in getting hit by a pitch. Missy Penna remains one of the top pitchers in the conference with the second best opposing batting average (.152) in the league, the third most wins (14) and the fourth most strikeouts (146). She also stands seventh in the conference with a 1.42 ERA. Penna and fellow hurler Becky McCullough have combined to allow the least hits and the least walks in the Pac-10.

SCALING THE CHARTS: Seven Stanford players have etched their names on the Stanford career top-10 charts and are continuing to climb. Jackie Rinehart remains sixth all-time with 227 hits in a Stanford uniform and is now tied for seventh in career runs scored (113) and stolen bases (23). Rinehart is also eighth on the career triples chart (4), three behind teammate Anna Beardman who stands sixth (7). Junior Michelle Smith added another homerun to her collegiate tally (28) at the Stanford Classic, tying Sarah Beeson (`02) for fourth place on the career chart. Smith also stands sixth with 117 RBI and tied for tenth with 24 doubles. As just a sophomore, Maddy Coon has already made the top-10 chart with 11 homeruns and 24 doubles. Junior Erin Howe stands sixth in career putouts, with 594 to date.

PITCHING LEADERS: Although Stanford has just two active pitchers, the staff is one of the most successful combinations in Stanford history. Not even to the midpoint of her sophomore season, Missy Penna stands fourth in Stanford history with 325 career strikeouts, and eighth with 36 career wins. Penna is averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per game, with 146 K's this season. Junior Becky McCullough is seventh on both the career strikeouts and wins charts with 257 and 38 respectively.

NOTES FROM THE DUGOUT: Stanford's longest winning streak was 12 games between Feb. 11 and Mar. 2 ... The team scored a season-high 13 runs against Sacramento State on Feb. 13 ... The Cardinal posted back-to-back 15 hit games against Syracuse (2/24) and Marist (2/25) ... The team's six doubles against Minnesota (3/4) was a season-high ... Alissa Haber leads the Cardinal with 10 multiple-hit games ... Rosey Neill and Michelle Smith lead the team with seven multiple RBI games ... Haber's 10-game hitting streak between Feb. 10 and Feb. 22 stands as the longest by a Cardinal player this season ... Jackie Rinehart is currently on a season-high seven game hitting streak ... Stanford has posted 10 shutouts this season and been held scoreless just once ... Stanford has scored 10 or more runs three times this season and run-ruled six opponents ... Rinehart's five hits against Syracuse (2/24) tied a Stanford single-game record for hits against a Division I opponent ... Missy Penna's 16 strikeouts against Northwestern (2/10) tied a single-game school record.

STANFORD INVITATIONAL II HISTORY: Stanford is undefeated at the second Stanford Invitational, with a 9-0 overall record at the event. Last season, Stanford allowed just one run in four games and won two games apiece over Princeton and UC Davis.

SCOUTING THE LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS: Last season, the 49ers were 31-22 and finished second in the Big West. The team earned an NCAA berth and went 1-2 at the Los Angeles Regional, falling to San Diego State in the final contest of the season. In 2007, the team has started with a 10-14 mark. Jessica Beaver is the top offensive player for the 49ers. The junior has blasted five homeruns on her way to a .370 average. Lacy Tyler is hitting .360 and leads the team with seven doubles, and five players in the lineup boast 20+ hits on the year. Bridgett Pagano is the primary 49er pitcher. She is responsible for nine of the ten LBSU wins, has struck out 48 batters and carries a 1.98 ERA.

SCOUTING THE OHIO UNIVERSITY BOBCATS: The Ohio University squad is coming off of a 27-40 2006 season, but 15 letterwinners are back to try to best that performance. The team is an even 9-9 going into the weekend, winning eight of those games in its last 10 outings. The Bobcats top offensive threat is senior Debbie Szalejko, who is batting .431 and leads the team with 25 hits. Fellow senior Kelly Rodriguez has brought in the most runs for the squad, with 13 RBI, and is one of three Bobcats hitting over .300. In the circle, freshman Candace Saucedo leads the team with a 1.75 ERA, but veteran Michelle Sauter has five of the nine Bobcat wins and boasts 45 strikeouts.

SCOUTING THE PORTLAND STATE VIKINGS: The Vikings are coming off of their first-ever PCSC Championship in 2006, after going 15-5 in conference to earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The team went 1-2 at the Corvallis Regional and ended the season with a 3-2 loss to Baylor. PSU finished the season with a 38-20 record, and returns 10 letterwinners and six starters. The Vikings have started 11-14 this season, and are on a four-game run. Junior Mandy Hill is the squad's dominant pitcher, with 19 of the team's decisions and a 2.66 ERA. Junior Laura Segall leads the team with 23 hits and a .348 average, but Hill and newcomer Brandi Scoggins have taken the lead in the RBI category with 16 and 15, respectively.

SCOUTING THE UC DAVIS AGGIES: UC Davis is currently a D-I provisional program and will compete independently until joining the Big West in 2008. The 2006 squad went 15-39, but the Aggies have already matched their 2006 win total and are looking to continue their winning ways. The team goes into the weekend with a 15-9 record and has won seven of its last eight. Senior Mandi Salcido leads the team with a .356 average, but four of her teammates are hitting at least .300 and have registered 20+ hits. Nikki Sheldon and Deanna Menapace lead the team with 15 RBI apiece and have combined for 11 homeruns. In the circle, sophomore Jessica Hancock is the team's top starter with a 2.84 ERA, while senior Lindsay Tognetti has a team-best eight wins.

THE 2007 CARDINAL: Stanford returns ten letterwinners to the field in 2007, and adds four new faces. Seven starters return for the Cardinal, including three players who hit over .300 last season. Infielders Maddy Coon and Michelle Smith, outfielder Jackie Rinehart and pitchers Becky McCullough and Missy Penna make up a group of solid returning All-Conference performers. Coon led the team with nine homeruns last season, while hitting .353, and Rinehart started all 60 games and was one of the squad's top three offensive players. Smith set the single-season homerun mark in 2005, while McCullough and Penna combined for 32 wins and 252 strikeouts last season. This year, Stanford will be looking for its tenth consecutive 40-win season and its tenth-straight trip to the postseason.

2006 IN REVIEW: The Cardinal is coming off of a successful 2006 season, during which the squad posted a 42-18 record and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Stanford closed out the regular season with a home Pac-10 sweep, topping Washington and posting a pair of upsets over UCLA. The Cardinal went 4-1 in its first postseason weekend to claim the Region VI Championship and advance to the NCAA Super Regional. The Cardinal fell to Alabama, 4-1, in the first game, before dropping an 8-7 decision in extra innings to end the season.

TAKING ON THE BEST: Once again, Head Coach John Rittman has lined up one of the most challenging schedules in the nation for the Cardinal. Nine opponents appeared in the preseason top-25, and 15 participated in the NCAA Championship last season.

COON, RINEHART NAMED TO TOP-50 WATCH LIST: Sophomore Maddy Coon and senior Jackie Rinehart were among the players listed on the Top-50 Watch List for the 6th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Considered one of the most prestigious honors in women's collegiate softball, the award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The 2007 Preseason Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 33 schools and 11 different NCAA Division I Conferences.

NATIONAL POLLS: Stanford remained at No. 13 this week in the USA Today/NFCA poll, but climbed back into the top-10 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll (No. 10). Tennessee continues to hold the top spot in both polls and the Crimson Tide of Alabama is unianimously second. Seven of the eight Pac-10 schools are ranked by ESPN.com/USA Softball, and all eight appear in the coaches' poll. Stanford has been listed at No. 8 three times this season, the squad's highest ranking of the season.

PAC-10 POLL: Stanford has been selected by conference coaches to finish fifth in the Pac-10 this season. Arizona, the defending National Champion, earned five first-place votes to take the top spot, followed by UCLA, the defending Pac-10 Champion, with three first-place votes. Arizona State came in third in the poll, followed by Oregon State and the Cardinal. The Pac-10 set a record in 2006 with seven teams, including Stanford, winning NCAA Regionals. Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington all advanced to Super Regionals last season, with the Wildcats, Sun Devils, Beavers and Bruins moving on to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Pac-10 teams represented half of last year's WCWS field, the most of any conference in the nation.

HEAD COACH John Rittman: At the start of his 11th season at Stanford, Head Coach John Rittman carries a 430-199-1 (.683) career record and has brought Stanford softball from a non-scholarship club-level program to a fully-funded championship contender. He has coached the team to nine consecutive 40-win seasons and nine-straight postseason appearances. Under Rittman, Stanford has claimed a share of its first conference championship and made two appearances in the Women's College World Series.

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