No. 16/18 Cardinal Returns Home for UCLA/Washington Series
April 18, 2007
Stanford, Calif. -
THIS WEEK: The Cardinal will play its first full Pac-10 home series this weekend, looking to pick up some wins after a tough weekend in the desert. The series begins with a 7 p.m. match-up with defending Pac-10 Champion UCLA Friday night, and continues with two games against No. 11/13 Washington Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. Both Washington games will be televised live on CSTV.
ON DECK: Stanford continues the seven-game home stretch next week, playing four more games at Smith Family Stadium. On Tuesday, Apr. 24, the Cardinal will host a non-conference game against San Jose State before taking another shot at the Arizona schools on home turf, Apr. 27-29. The Apr. 29 match-up with defending National Champion Arizona will be broadcast live on CSTV.
SEASON TO DATE: Stanford is 27-12 overall in 2007 and carries a 3-6 record in the Pac-10. 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. At the Stanford Classic, the team picked up five wins and another home tournament title. At its final home tournament, the team went 2-1 and dropped its first home contest of the season to Portland State. During the first weekend of conference play, Stanford topped No. 17/19 Oregon State, 2-1, before splitting with the No. 13/13 Oregon Ducks. Stanford continued Pac-10 play against Cal, and dropped the series, two games to one, but came home to dominate Saint Mary's, 8-0, later in the week. Last weekend, the Cardinal was swept by the Arizona schools. The Cardinal has outscored opponents 183-104 this season and is batting .291 as a team.
HABER oN A HOT STREAK: Freshman Alissa Haber has stepped up for the Cardinal during the toughest part of the season: Pac-10s. She has built an eight-game hitting streak to start conference play and was the only Cardinal to notch a hit in each of the team's games in Arizona, slamming an extra-base hit in all four of the team's contests last week. For the week, she went 4-for-9 (.444) with three doubles and a homerun. In the team's Wednesday win over Saint Mary's, Haber picked up the first RBI with a double three pitches into the game. On Friday, Haber doubled off Taryne Mowatt before notching the only Cardinal hit (a double) off of Katie Burkhart on Saturday. On Sunday, Haber scored both Cardinal runs and blasted her third homerun of the season in the third inning. Haber now leads the Cardinal will 11 doubles on the year and a .385 average. Haber is hitting .591 in the month of April with 13 hits (including seven extra-base hits) in eight games.
BACK IN BUSINESS: On Friday night against Arizona, sophomore Maddy Coon notched her first hit since Mar. 10, after the Cardinal power-hitter suffered a hand injury on that date and was unable to bat for nearly a month. As a freshman last season, Coon was one of the top hitters on the squad with a .353 average and a team-leading 13 doubles, nine homeruns and 40 RBI. Coon is currently batting .298, leads the team with 11 doubles, tied for third on the team with three homeruns and third on the team with 19 RBI.
THE 300 CLUB: Four Cardinal players are currently batting .300 or above, and freshmen Alissa Haber and Shannon Koplitz lead the way with .385 and .348 averages, respectively. Senior Jackie Rinehart and junior Tricia Aggabao complete the foursome. Last season, Aggabao and Rinehart were among five Cardinal players to finish the season with averages above .300.
HITTING WHEN IT COUNTS: Freshman Alissa Haber is the best bet at the plate for the Cardinal in clutch situations. The Newark, Calif. native is hitting a team-high .595 (25-for-42) with runners on base and a team-high .500 (13-for-26) with runners in scoring position. She is the most likely to come through for the Cardinal with two outs, as well, with a .404 (13-for-32) average under two-out pressure. Junior Erin Howe has been strong in bases loaded situations, however. In her four at bats with bases loaded, Howe has singled, doubled and belted a grand slam homerun.
WORKING THE COUNT: Freshman catcher Rosey Neill knows what a good pitch looks like and isn't afraid to make opposing pitchers work. Neill leads the team with 26 walks this season, which already stands as one of the top-10 single season marks in Stanford history. Neill and fellow freshmen Alissa Haber and Shannon Koplitz have made an immediate impact for the Cardinal and are currently the three most likely players to get on base.
SHUTTING DOWN THE COMPETITION: Sophomore pitcher Missy Penna threw her second career no-hitter against Saint Mary's last week, striking out eight batters, including her 200th of the season, and earned her 20th win of the year. Penna has thrown three one-hitters this year alone, and now has two career no-hitters, with the first coming on March 26, 2006 against UC Davis. Penna's 214 K's this season is one of the top single-season marks in Stanford history, bested only by All-American Dana Sorenson in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Cardinal is 14-2 at home this season, has outscored opponents 81-20 at Smith Family Stadium and is hitting .301 in the facility. Senior Jackie Rinehart has been the most consistent player within the confines of the team's home venue, leading the team with a .392 average and 20 home hits.
SCALING THE CAREER 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 237 hits in a Stanford uniform and is alone in seventh in career runs scored (119). The senior is also tied for sixth on the career stolen bases chart (24), stands tenth on the career at bats chart (688) and ranks eighth on the career triples chart (4), three behind teammate Anna Beardman who stands sixth all-time (7). Junior Michelle Smith's collegiate homerun tally (29) is good for fourth on the career chart. Smith also stands sixth with 124 RBI and tied for tenth with 24 doubles. As just a sophomore, Maddy Coon has already made the top-10 chart with 12 homeruns and 24 doubles. Junior Erin Howe stands sixth in career putouts, with 663 to date.
PITCHING RECORDS: Although Stanford has just two active pitchers, the staff is one of the most successful combinations in Stanford history. As just a sophomore, Missy Penna stands fourth in Stanford history with 393 career strikeouts, and tied for sixth with 42 career wins. Penna has 214 K's this season, the fourth highest single-season tally in Stanford history. Penna's 20 wins this year is already one of the top-10 single-season marks as well. Junior Becky McCullough is sixth on the career strikeouts chart with 272 and stands eighth on the career wins chart with 38.
MAKING A NAME FOR 2007: As a team, the 2007 squad has already posted some of the best tallies in Stanford history. Stanford's two homeruns this weekend brought the team total to 28, matching last year's mark and tying for seventh-best in Stanford history. The team is already one of the top-10 squad's in program history in runs, doubles, RBI, complete games and strikeouts as well.
IN CONFERENCE: Entering the fourth week of conference play, freshman Alissa Haber continues to be one of the top offensive players in the conference. Her .385 batting average is eighth-best in the conference and her .479 on-base percentage stands ninth. Haber is also tied for third with teammate Maddy Coon in the doubles category, with 11 on the year. Coon and teammates Rosey Neill and Shannon Koplitz were some of the most likely players to be hit by a pitch in the conference, and Neill stands eighth in walks after drawing 26 already this season. Missy Penna remains one of the top pitchers in the conference with the third-best opposing batting average (.168) in the league, the third-most wins (20) and the fourth most strikeouts (214). She also stands ninth in the conference with a 1.96 ERA.
FRESHMAN PICKING IT UP: Since the conference season began, the Stanford freshman have been the most consistent players on the Cardinal roster. Alissa Haber has been one of the most dangerous offensive players in Pac-10 play so far. In conference play, the Cardinal center fielder leads the league in runs scored (9) and doubles (4) and stands second in hits (13) and total bases (25). She is third in the league with a .481 conference batting average, third with a .926 slugging percentage and fifth with a .563 on-base percentage. Shannon Koplitz's .364 average is ninth in league play and her on-base percentage (.500) stands sixth. Catcher Rosey Neill is second with three conference homeruns and also boasts a top-10 ranking in slugging percentage (.696) and total bases (16).
NOTES FROM THE DUGOUT: Stanford's longest winning streak was 12 games between Feb. 11 and Mar. 2 ... The team scored a season-high 15 runs against Oregon on Apr. 1 ... The squad's 16 hits against the Ducks were also a season-high, as were the five homeruns ... The team's six doubles against Minnesota (3/4) was a season-high ... Alissa Haber leads the team with 13 multiple-hit games ... Rosey Neill and Michelle Smith lead the team with nine multiple RBI games apiece ... Haber's 10-game hitting streak between Feb. 10 and Feb. 22 stands as the longest by a Cardinal player this season ... Haber is currently on an eight-game streak ... Stanford has posted 12 shutouts this season and been held scoreless five times ... Stanford has scored 10 or more runs four times this season and run-ruled eight opponents ... Jackie 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 UCLA BRUINS: The Bruins, the defending Pac-10 Champions, finished third at the College World Series in 2006 with a 50-9 overall record. So far in 2007, the squad is 28-11 overall and 4-4 in the conference. Junior Krista Colburn boasts the best batting average on the squad (.415) and leads the team with 54 hits. Senior Lisa Dodd leads the team with 10 homeruns, however, and boasts 35 RBI and a .718 on-base percentage. In the circle, freshman Megan Lagenfeld boasts a team-leading 1.28 ERA, but junior Anjelica Selden does most of the pitching. The Vacaville, Calif. native has 15 wins in 25 appearances this season and carries a 2.40 ERA and a .190 opponent batting average.
SCOUTING THE WASHINGTON HUSKIES: Washington advanced to the NCAA Super Regional last season and finished the year with a 35-25 overall record. This season, the Huskies are 27-11 so far and 4-4 in conference. Senior Dena Tyson is batting a team-high .472 and is the primary offensive threat with 12 homeruns and 37 RBI. Four more Husky starters are batting over .300, however, including junior Ashley Charters, who leads the team with 50 hits. Sophomore Danielle Lawrie and junior Caitlin Noble are the primary pitchers for the squad. Lawrie owns a 1.60 ERA, a .174 opponent batting average and 16 wins and Noble is close behind with a 1.90 ERA, a .217 opponent batting average and 11 wins.
LAST TIME AROUND: In 2006, Stanford won the series with both Washington and UCLA, 2-1. During the first weekend of the season on the road, Stanford went 1-2, falling to UCLA before splitting with Washington in Seattle. Stanford bounced back during the final weekend of conference play, however, and won three one-run games at home to take the series' with both schools. Stanford is 11-33 all-time against UCLA and 17-26 all-time against Washington.
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.
NATIONAL POLLS: Stanford dropped in both polls this week, after dropping three contests in Arizona. In the USA Today/NFCA poll, Stanford fell from No. 17 to No. 18 and in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, the Cardinal went from No. 12 to No. 16. Tennessee holds the top spot in both polls for the tenth-straight week and Alabama and Arizona round out the top-three. Seven of the eight Pac-10 schools are ranked in both polls, with the two Arizona schools remaining in the top-10 in both. 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.