Stanford Opens Pac-10 Play in Oregon

March 29, 2007

Stanford, Calif. -

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UP NEXT: Stanford opens Pac-10 play on Friday afternoon, opening the conference schedule at Oregon State Friday at 3 p.m. The Cardinal then heads to Eugene for two contests with the Oregon Ducks, Saturday and Sunday, both starting at 1 p.m.

ON DECK: The Cardinal will meet Bay Area rival Cal for a three-game series, Apr. 5-7. The teams will square off on the Farm for the first game on Thursday night at 7 p.m. before heading to Berkeley for the other two. Friday afternoon's game is set for 3 p.m., while Saturday's contest will begin at 1 p.m.

SEASON TO DATE: Stanford is 24-6 in 2007, after claiming a fourth tournament title at the Stanford Invitational II last weekend. 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. Two weeks ago at the Stanford Classic, the team picked up wins over Loyola, Sacramento State, San Diego State and two over UC Santa Barbara. At its final home tournament of the year last weekend, the team went 3-1 and dropped its first home contest of the season to Portland State. The Cardinal has outscored opponents 151-58 this season and is batting .299 as a team.

AGGABAO AT BAT: Junior Tricia Aggabao had the best weekend at the plate for the Cardinal, notching five hits in 12 at bats to finish the weekend with a team-high .417 average. On the final day of the tournament, Aggabao went 4-for-6 and drove in a run against UC Davis. Aggabao is batting .300 this season, with four doubles and 24 total hits.

FRESHMEN WORKING THE COUNT: In addition to being some of the best hitters on the Cardinal squad, the rookie class is patient at the plate. Rosey Neill has led the team in walks and getting hit by a pitch all season, with 26 total free bases to her name. This weekend, Shannon Koplitz was walked five times and hit pegged twice, contributing to a team-high .643 on-base percentage. Neill, Koplitz and fellow freshman Alissa Haber are three of the the four most likely players to get on base on the Cardinal squad.

DOING HER PART: Pitcher Missy Penna matched the three runs she gave up in the circle last weekend by driving in three of her own. Penna led the team with three RBI and scored on two of her four times on-base. The sophomore is contributing everywhere on the field for the Cardinal this season. She has struck out 167 batters in 21 appearances, has racked up 16 hits and is second on the team with four stolen bases.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Cardinal is 14-1 at home this season and dropped its first contest of the year at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium on Sunday. Stanford has outscored opponents 78-21 at its home venue this year.

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 231 hits in a Stanford uniform and is now alone in seventh in career runs scored (114) and stolen bases (24). Rinehart is also eighth on the career triples chart (4), three behind teammate Anna Beardman who stands sixth (7). Junior Michelle Smith's collegiate homerun tally (28) ranks fourth 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 615 to date.

PITCHING LEADERS: Although Stanford has just two active pitchers, the staff is one of the most successful combinations in Stanford history. Roughly halfway through her sophomore season, Missy Penna stands fourth in Stanford history with 346 career strikeouts, and eighth with 38 career wins. Penna is averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per game, with 167 K's this season. Junior Becky McCullough is sixth on the career strikeouts chart with 265 and seventh on the career wins chart with 39.

IN CONFERENCE: Maddy Coon is tied for second in the conference with 11 doubles in her first 30 games. Coon is also one of the six most likely players in the conference to be hit by a pitch, as is teammate Rosey Neill. Neill is also tied for sixth in the conference with 21 walks. Missy Penna remains one of the top pitchers in the conference with the second best opposing batting average (.155) in the league, the fourth most wins (16) and the fourth most strikeouts (167). She also stands eighth in the conference with a 1.41 ERA.

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 ... Stanford has posted 11 shutouts this season and been held scoreless just twice ... 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.

SCOUTING THE OREGON STATE BEAVERS: The No. 17/19 Beavers are 24-10 this season and have won nine of their last ten contests. Junior Cambria Miranda has been the dominant offensive player for the squad, and leads the team in nearly every batting category. She is hitting .374, has racked up 34 RBI, seven doubles, six triples, seven homeruns and 40 total hits. Senior Natalie Johnson has been strong at the plate as well, tallying 34 hits and a .350 average, but three other Beavers are hitting above .300. Brianne McGowan and Ta'Tyana McElroy are the top pitchers for Oregon State. McElroy is 9-5 with a 1.26 ERA, while McGowan has four shutouts, a 1.37 ERA and 14 wins.

SCOUTING THE OREGON DUCKS: The No. 13/13 Ducks are having an outstanding 2007 campaign. The Pac-10's bottom finisher in 2006, Oregon has jumped out to a strong 34-3 start and is undefeated so far in Eugene. The Ducks have won their last 13 games and are led by senior Ann Marie Topps, who has cracked 15 homeruns. Jennifer Salling is hitting .500 with 49 hits, while Sari-Jane Jenkins and Kristi Leiter have also been strong at the plate with 11 doubles apiece. Melissa Rice and Alicia Cook are the top pitchers for Oregon, each with 17 wins so far this season and ERAs under 1.00.

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 dropped from No. 13 to No. 14 in the USA Today/NFCA poll, and fell from No. 10 to No. 11 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Tennessee continues to hold the top spot in both polls and Texas A&M is unanimously second. Seven of the eight Pac-10 schools are ranked in both polls, with the two Arizona schools remaining in the top-10. 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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