Stanford Begins 2008 NCAA Championship In Amherst, Mass.

May 11, 2008

Stanford, Calif. - The eighth-ranked Stanford softball team received an at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA Championships today, earning the No. 12 overall seed in the field of 64 that will compete for a national title. The Cardinal will begin play as the top seed in the regional in Amherst, Mass., squaring off with UMass (36-11), Lehigh (38-15-1) and Princeton (25-22) for a regional title.

Stanford will open the tournament against Lehigh on Friday at 2:30 p.m. (ET).

The Cardinal will be participating in the tournament for the 11th consecutive year, dating back to 1998 when the team made its first postseason appearance in John Rittman's second year as head coach. The Cardinal has won four regional titles, and made appearances in the WCWS in 2001 and 2004.

Four teams will participate at each of the 16 regional sites in a double-elimination tournament. The regional winners will face off in the May 23-24 Super Regionals, with eight teams advancing to the 2008 Women's College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, May 29 through June 4.

Stanford wrapped up the regular-season yesterday with a 46-12 record and an 11-10 mark in the Pac-10, good for fourth in the conference.

The Stanford-Lehigh meeting will be the first between the two squads. Stanford is 3-1 all-time against both UMass and Princeton, and run-ruled the Tigers at the Stanford Invitational II earlier this season. Stanford last met UMass at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Phoenix where the Cardinal picked up a 2-1 win.

'This time of year you're always going to be matched up with good teams,' said Rittman. 'In order to win tournament games, you have to bring your `A' game everyday. It's the do-or-die time of the season and we're looking forwarded to going to UMass.'

Top-ranked Florida was named the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament and the Pac-10 was second only to the SEC with seven teams selected.

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