Cardinal Meets UC Davis in Non-Conference Action Tuesday

May 7, 2007

Stanford, Calif. -

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UP NEXT: Stanford heads to Davis, Calif. tomorrow to take on the UC Davis Aggies for the second time this season. The game marks the final regular season non-conference contest for the Cardinal and is set for 3 p.m. at La Rue Field.

ON DECK: Stanford will play its final Pac-10 series this weekend, hosting the Oregon schools Thursday through Saturday at Smith Family Stadium. On Thursday night, the Cardinal will play a 7 p.m. rubber game with the Oregon Ducks, before hosting the Oregon State Beavers in another 7 p.m. game on Friday. The weekend concludes on Saturday, when the Cardinal will honor its two seniors, Jackie Rinehart and Lindsay Key, before the team's final regular-season home game against Oregon State. First pitch on Saturday is set for 1 p.m.

SEASON TO DATE: Stanford is 32-16-1 overall in 2007 and carries a 7-10-1 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. The Cardinal was then swept by the Arizona schools on the road before winning two of three against UCLA and Washington. The team then picked up a 5-3 non-conference win over San Jose State, before going 1-1-1 against the Arizona schools and upsetting No. 4 Arizona. Last weekend, Stanford went 1-2 on the Washington/UCLA trip, and upset the No. 12 Bruins, 4-1, to pull into fifth place in the Pac-10. The Cardinal has outscored opponents 205-140 this season and is batting .271 as a team.

FOUR TIMES THE HITS: Alissa Haber hit .500 (5-for-10) for the weekend against Washington and UCLA last week, as the Cardinal battled critical conference opponents. On Friday night against Washington, Haber notched one of the three Stanford hits, before stepping up on Sunday and helping the Cardinal upset No.12 UCLA. The freshman went 4-for-4 against the Bruins (matching a career high in hits), scored a run and collected two RBI. In the fourth inning, with the Cardinal clinging to a 1-0 lead, Haber drilled what proved to be the game-winning hit, a two-out, two-RBI single through the right side, to give Stanford a 3-0 lead. Haber added some insurance for the Cardinal in the seventh, cracking a lead-off double off of the wall in right center and scoring on the next play. Haber continues to lead Stanford with a .366 overall average and 56 hits, with a .400 average and 22 hits in conference. Her double on Sunday was her team-leading 13th of the season and sixth in Pac-10 play.

WHEN THE GAME IS ON THE LINE: Stanford has been on the better side of eight of the team's ten one-run contests this season, and has won both contests that were decided in the seventh. 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 .500 (26-for-52) with runners on base and a team-high .483 (14-for-29) with runners in scoring position. She is the most likely to come through for the Cardinal with two outs, as well, with a .395 (17-for-43) average under two-out pressure. The experience of seniors Jackie Rinehart and Lindsay Key has also proved to be key for the Cardinal. Other than Haber, the two seniors are the most successful at advancing runners, the most likely to come through with runners on and the most likely to hit with runners in scoring position.

ENDING THE DROUGHT: After 28 scoreless innings, the Cardinal finally ended its longest scoring drought of the season on Sunday with a run in the second inning against UCLA. The three-straight shutouts that preceded Sunday's win marked the first time during the season that the Cardinal was shutout in consecutive games. On the other side, Stanford's longest defensive shutout streak was 26 innings and three-straight games against Loyola Chicago, UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State in mid-March.

ALL AT ONCE: Alissa Haber's four hits on Sunday marked just the third time this season that a Cardinal player has tallied four or more in a single game. The freshman hit the mark earlier in the season with a 4-for-4 performance against Oregon on Apr. 1. Senior Jackie Rinehart is the only other Cardinal player to accomplish the feat this year, as the Reno, Nev. native tied a single-game record with five hits against Syracuse on Feb. 24.

STREAK WATCH: Tricia Aggabao ended a seven-game hitting streak on Sunday, a run topped only by the two double-digit streaks posted by Alissa Haber this year. Aggabao had an offensive surge at the end of last season as well, hitting in eight of the team's final nine games and driving her batting average as high as .330 late in the season.

DOING IT ALL: Missy Penna stepped up in all aspects of her game on Sunday to help Stanford upset No. 12 UCLA. In addition to picking up her 23rd win and allowing just three hits in the circle, Penna made two key defensive plays for the Cardinal and went 2-for-3 at the plate with a critical RBI.

LIFE ON THE ROAD: The Cardinal is 5-8 on the road this season, and has struggled at the plate. Freshman Alissa Haber hasn't cracked under the pressure of the road, however, and is actually hitting more than 100 points higher in away games than overall. The Cardinal center fielder carries a .475 road average and is slugging .800 on the road, as opposed to carrying a .366 batting average and a .542 on-base percentage overall. Teammates Missy Penna and Shannon Koplitz are also players to watch on the road, with both hitting at higher clips in away games.

HITS FOR ALL: Nine Cardinal players notched hits in the Washington-UCLA series this weekend, proving that any every player on the Stanford roster can be a threat at the plate. All 13 active players on the Cardinal roster have notched extra-base hits this season, and eight players have blasted at least one homerun.

THE RACE TO THE TOP: Entering the final week of Pac-10 play, the Pac-10 Champion has been determined but the rest of the race is far from decided. Arizona clinched the title with a 2-0 win over Oregon State on Sunday, but Arizona State, Washington and UCLA are all still in the hunt for second place. Stanford's upset of UCLA lifted the Cardinal over Oregon State and into fifth place in the conference, two and a half games behind fourth-place UCLA. The Cardinal can finish as high as fourth in the conference, with a sweep of the Oregon schools and three losses by UCLA in the desert this weekend.

SCALING THE CAREER CHARTS: Seven Stanford players, including both pitchers, have etched their names on the Stanford career top-10 charts and are continuing to climb. Jackie Rinehart's hit against UCLA on Sunday moved her into a tie for fifth place with Robin Walker `02 on the career hits chart. Rinehart is also now tied for sixth with Sarah Beeson `02 in career runs scored (121), tied for sixth on the career stolen bases chart (24), stands eighth on the career at bats chart (720), ranks tenth on the career games played list (232) and is listed 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 and her 25 doubles stand tenth. Smith also matched Catalina Morris `06 in fifth place on the career RBI chart on Sunday, with 128 to date, and has moved into seventh place with 300 career assists. As just a sophomore, Maddy Coon has already made the top-10 chart with 12 homeruns. Junior Erin Howe remains fifth in the career putouts category, with 742.

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 passed Tori Nyberg `03 on the career strikeouts chart with 443 this week, moving into third place behind All-Americans Becky Blevins `99 and Dana Sorensen `04. Penna is also fifth in Stanford history with 45 career wins. She has 264 K's this season alone, the fourth highest single-season tally in Stanford history. Penna's 23 wins this year bests her 2006 total and stands fifth on the Cardinal single-season charts. Junior Becky McCullough is sixth on the career strikeouts chart with 277 and stands eighth on the career wins chart with 40.

MAKING A NAME FOR 2007: As a team, the 2007 squad has already posted some of the best tallies in Stanford history. Alissa Haber's homerun against UCLA on Apr. 20 brought the team total to 29, tying for sixth in the all-time team marks. Pitchers Missy Penna and Becky McCullough have combined for 327 strikeouts this season, the fourth-best team mark in program history. The team is also already one of the top-10 squads in program history in runs, doubles, triples, RBI, walks drawn, shutouts and complete games as well.

LEADERS OF THE PAC: Entering the final week of conference play, freshman Alissa Haber continues to be one of the top offensive players in the conference, with a batting average (.366) and an on-base percentage (.459) that both make the top-10. Haber is also third in the doubles category (13) and tenth with 56 total hits. Haber, Maddy Coon and Shannon Koplitz are some of the most likely players to be hit by a pitch in the conference, and catcher Rosey Neill leads the conference in pick-offs and stands third among conference catchers in runners caught stealing. Missy Penna remains one of the top pitchers in the conference with the fourth-best opposing batting average (.187) in the league, the third-most wins (23) and the fourth most strikeouts (264). She also ranks ninth in the conference with a 2.13 ERA.

PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME: Since the conference season began, freshman Alissa Haber has stepped up and become the most dangerous offensive players on the Cardinal roster. In Pac-10 play, the Newark, Calif. native leads the league in doubles (6), and is one of nine conference players to crack a triple. She also ranks third in conference hits (22), fifth in batting average (.400) and total bases (39), sixth slugging percentage (.709) and on-base percentage (.477) and eighth in runs scored (12). In the month of April, she hit .395, recorded nine extra-base hits and posted her second double-digit hitting streak of the season, with an 11-game run between Apr. 1 and Apr. 22. On Sunday, she continued her offensive leadership with a 4-for-4 performance against UCLA. Overall, the rookie leads Stanford with a .366 batting average, 56 hits, 35 runs scored and 13 doubles.

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 15 multiple-hit games, but Jackie Rinehart is close behind with 13 ... Michelle Smith leads the team with ten multiple RBI games ... Haber's 11-game hitting streak from Apr. 1 to Apr. 22 was the longest so far by a Cardinal player ... The streak was Haber's second double-digit streak of the season, as she also went on a ten-game run between Feb. 10 and Feb. 22 ... Stanford has posted 13 shutouts this season, including a 12-inning scoreless game with No. 4 Arizona on Apr. 29 ... Stanford has scored 10 or more runs four times this season and run-ruled eight opponents ... Stanford now has posted 12 games with 10 or more hits, with three of those coming against Pac-10 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 UC DAVIS AGGIES: UC Davis, an NCAA Division I Provisional program, is 30-24-1 this season, marking a sharp improvement for last season's 15-39 mark. The Aggies are currently led by the bat of Deanna Menapace, a sophomore who has belted 10 homeruns, cracked 10 doubles and is batting .331. Sophomore Trish Paine is the team's hit leader with 52 on the year, while senior Mandi Salcido is pacing the team with 28 RBI. Sophomore Jessica Hancock and senior Lindsay Tognetti do most of the work in the circle for the Aggies. The pair boasts a combined 367 strikeouts and 28 wins on the season.

LAST TIME AROUND: Stanford faced UC Davis earlier this season, defeating the Aggies 7-1 at the Stanford Invitaitonal II on Mar. 25. UC Davis took an early lead off of a solo homer by Ashley Johnson in the bottom of the second, but the Cardinal exploded for seven runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead for good. Erin Howe and Tricia Aggabao notched two hits apiece to lead the Cardinal in the game, and Missy Penna picked up the win in the circle with nine strikeouts. Stanford is 7-3 all-time against UC Davis.

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.

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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