No. 5/7 Stanford Takes 12-Game Hot Streak To Fullerton

Feb. 25, 2009

UP NEXT: After five games at home, the No. 5/7 Cardinal softball team is back on the road this weekend. The squad heads to Southern California to compete in the DeMarini Invitational at Cal State Fullerton, meeting Indiana, Minnesota, UC Riverside, Cal Poly and host Cal State Fullerton along the way.

HOT-HITTING HABER: Outfielder Alissa Haber tore up the Stanford Invitational last weekend, going 9-for-12 (.750) with six extra-base hits, including three doubles, a triple and two home runs. Carrying the team to a perfect 4-0 record in its first home weekend, Haber posted an .800 on-base percentage, slugged 1.667 and drove in five Stanford runs. Haber posted at least one extra-base hit in each of the four games, but her weekend was highlighted by a six-hit day on Saturday. Over two games against Western Kentucky and Notre Dame, Haber went 6-for-7 and hit for a combined cycle with two singles, two doubles, a triple and a home run. She went a perfect 4-for-4 against the Hilltoppers, marking the third four-hit game of her career. On Tuesday against Saint Mary's, Haber was 1-for-4 with an RBI single.

THE PAC-10 AWARD ARE FLOWING: So far, Stanford has gotten its share of Pac-10 awards, with Ashley Hansen, Missy Penna and Rosey Neill all being recognized in the first three weeks of play. Stanford has nabbed three of six total awards so far, with Hansen being honored for her efforts in San Diego two weeks ago and Neill and Penna sweeping the awards after the opening weekend.

SCALING THE POLLS: Stanford continues to hold the No. 5 in the NFCA/USA Today poll, after going 4-0 at the Stanford Nike Invitational last week. The Cardinal, which has appeared in every regular-season NFCA poll for more than a decade, is at its highest rank since coming in at No. 5 twice last March. In the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, the Cardinal climbed one spot to No. 7 this week. Six of the eight Pac-10 schools appeared in both polls, with five appearing in the top-10.

SHUTOUT RECORD FALLS!: Missy Penna shut out Notre Dame last Friday, nabbing the 36th shutout of her career. With the 2-0 win, Penna set a new school record, topping the previous top mark set by Becky Blevins in 1999.

FAB FROSH: Stanford's freshman have all lived up to their billing so far. Five freshman have made at least one start, with Ashley Hansen and Sarah Hassman getting the starting nod in all 14 games. As a rookie, Hansen started the fourth week of play among the top-10 offensive players in the Pac-10 with a .435 batting average, a .761 slugging percentage, 20 hits, three triples and 21 RBI. Hassman owns a .324 average, while Jenna Becerra, Christina Goswiller and Maya Burns have combined for 13 hits and nine RBI. Aside from Alissa Haber, Burns was Stanford's best performer at the Stanford Nike Invitational, going 5-for-13 (.385) with three doubles.

THE STREAK IN ON: Stanford has won 12 straight games entering this weekend's tournament in Fullerton. Last season, the Cardinal won 15 consecutive games to open the season, its second-longest run ever. The longest winning streak in school history was a 16-game run recorded by the 2002 squad (Feb. 24 to Mar. 23). With five games this weekend, the 2009 squad could surpass that all-time best mark.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON...: Stanford's Missy Penna and Alissa Haber were among the 50 players named to the initial USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year watch list. The 50 picks represent 32 different schools and 13 different conferences. Haber and Penna were two of the 13 selections from the Pac-10. Both were also named to ESPN's Preseason All-America Second Team.

PRESEASON PICKS: Stanford was selected to finish fifth in the Pac-10 this season in the annual poll of the league's coaches. UCLA, the 2008 Pac-10 runner-up, edged defending national champion Arizona State for the top spot, while Washington and Arizona finished just ahead of the Cardinal.

NO-HITTER CHATTER: Senior picther Missy Penna threw her first no-hitter of the year against Kansas on Feb. 7. The no-hitter was the fifth of her career, tying Dana Sorensen's school record. Penna has now thrown five of the school's 17 all-time no-hitters. Sophomore Ashley Chinn threw two no-hitters, including the school's seventh perfect game, as a rookie last year.

TOP OF THE HEAP: Stanford pitcher Missy Penna remains the nation's active career strikeout leader with 985 career K's. She is currently 15 K's short of the 1,000 mark, and is second in the conference with 82 strikeouts. She also entered the year as the country's third-winningest pitcher.

ON THE WAY TO NO. 1: Senior pitcher Missy Penna resumes her climb up the Stanford charts this week, looking to systematically take down the records of three-time All-American Dana Sorensen. Penna is 12 wins, 169 strikeouts, and 92.2 innings short of the Stanford career records in each category, and will likely break all three records later this year.

FLOOD OF FREE PASSES: Just two weeks into her senior year, infielder Maddy Coon shattered the school's career walk record, passing Sarah Beeson's former mark of 115. Coon now holds every walk record in the Stanford books, with 116 career walks, 47 single-season walks (2008) and four single-game walks (2/29/08).

COON ON THE CLIMB: Maddy Coon has also established herself on a number of the school's other top-10 lists. Currently, Coon ranks eighth in career doubles (40), seventh in home runs (24), seventh in runs (122) and seventh in RBI (118). Also with 152 hits to her name, Coon is just the second player in school history to register triple digits in four different offensive categories (Sarah Beeson `02 is the other).

HOMER QUEEN: Fresh off matching a school record and ranking 10th nationally with 19 home runs in 2008, junior catcher Rosey Neill is slugging away again to start the new year. Neill belted three homers over the opening weekend and added one more in each of the past two weeks. Just past the midpoint of her career, Neill now has 31 home runs, joining four of Stanford's greatest sluggers - Jessica Mendoza `02, Jessica Allister `04, Catalina Morris `06 and Michelle Smith `08 - as the only players to have hit 30 or more career homers.

BY COMPARISON: Midway through their careers, juniors Rosey Neill and Alissa Haber have their eyes on some of the school records set by the best player in Stanford history, two-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza. Neill entered her junior year with 26 home runs (and now has 31). By comparison, Mendoza hit 22 of her 50 bombs prior to her junior season. After three weekends of play, Haber now has 39 doubles to her name. Mendoza had 33 of her school-record 70 doubles after two seasons.

HABER WITH THE HOT BAT: All-American outfielder Alissa Haber currently owns a .387 career batting average, a clip which stands only behind that of two-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza in the Cardinal record books. After leading Stanford in nearly every offensive category the last two years, Haber has twice earned All-America accolades. She is just the third player in school history to enter her junior year as a two-time All-American, matching the accomplishments of eventual four-time All-American Mendoza and eventual three-time All-American Dana Sorensen. Five players on the Cardinal squad are currently carrying career batting averages that would rank in the school's top-10.

1,000 AND COUNTING: Junior Rosey Neill recorded her 1,000th career putout last weekend, joining former greats Sarah Beeson `02, Kellie Wiginton `00 and Jessica Allister `04 as the only Cardinal players to reach the milestone. Battery counterpart Missy Penna is 15 K's away from hitting 1,000 in that category.

QUICK WINS: Stanford has won three games by run-rule so far, putting itself in position to chase the school record it set last season. The Cardinal run-ruled 14 opponents last year, with its largest margin of victory coming against Pacific on Feb. 16 (14 runs).

SOLID VETERANS: With just five upperclassmen, the Cardinal is, for the most part, a very young team. Yet, the squad is armed with some of the Pac-10's most talented veterans at key positions. All five upperclassmen - Missy Penna, Maddy Coon, Shannon Koplitz, Alissa Haber and Rosey Neill - have been starters since the day they arrived on The Farm. The group has also been well decorated, accumulating 10 All-Pac-10 awards, six all-region honors and three All-America nods. Before the 2009 season even began, the fivesome has already combined to score 329 Cardinal runs, notch 531 hits and belt 73 home runs.

2008 IN REVIEW: Stanford is coming off a strong 2008 season in which it went 49-15 and finished fourth in the competitive Pac-10 Conference. The program posted its 10th 40-win season, recorded the second-most wins in school history, made its 11th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and made a postseason run to its third NCAA Super Regional in four years. At the end of the year, eight players were honored with All-Pac-10 awards, four received all-region recognition and two - pitcher Missy Penna and outfielder Alissa Haber - were named All-Americans.

TEAM USA TIES: Head Coach John Rittman spent last summer on the coaching staff for Team USA at the Beijing Olympic Games, marking his second appearance on the Olympic coaching staff. Two former Cardinal standouts, Jessica Mendoza `02 and Lauren Lappin `06, were on the squad that outscored opponents 58-5 over nine games and captured the silver medal. Current players Rosey Neill, Alissa Haber and Ashley Hansen are all veterans of the USA Junior National Team.

HEAD COACH John Rittman: In his 13th season at the helm of the Cardinal, head coach John Rittman is one of the winningest coaches in collegiate softball, boasting a 527-248-3 (.679) career record. Since stepping onto the Farm in July 1996, he has coached the team to 12 consecutive winning seasons, 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 10 40-win seasons. Under Rittman, Stanford has claimed a share of its first conference championship and made two appearances in the Women's College World Series.

STANFORD AT FULLERTON: Stanford has been to seven tournaments at Cal State Fullerton and owns a 26-8 record at those tournaments. Last season, the squad went 4-1 at the Worth Classic in Fullerton.

SERIES RECORDS: Stanford is a combined 22-7 against its opponents this weekend, but most of those games have been played against the three Big West teams. Stanford has never faced Indiana and won its only game against Minnesota in Fullerton two years ago (6-3 on 3/4/07). The Cardinal has won its only two meetings with UC Riverside (2002 and 2004), and is 6-3 all-time against Cal Poly. Stanford and Cal State Fullerton have played 17 times, with Stanford leading the series 13-4. Stanford has some avenging to do, however, as the team is coming off a no-hit loss to the Titans in 2007.

SCOUTING INDIANA: The Hoosiers (1-10) were 16-35 last season and finished last in the Big Ten. The team's top returner is senior Emily Bergeson, an infielder who hit .308 with six doubles and eight home runs last season. So far in 2009, Bergeson is pacing the team with a .364 average, while junior outfielder Jennifer Glueckert has a .296 clip with three extra-base hits. In the circle, freshman Sara Olson has been the team's best bet with a 2.30 ERA and 17 K's.

SCOUTING MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers (8-8) went 29-16 in 2008 and finished fourth in the Big Ten. The team's returners are headlined by a trio of 2008 All-Big Ten selections - senior infielder Colleen Conway, sophomore infielder Malisa Barnes and senior pitcher Briana Hassett. So far in 2009, junior outfielder Heidi Carls has stepped up with a team-leading .279 batting average, but Conway is close behind (.278) and has racked up 15 hits. Hassett is carrying a 1.34 ERA, has earned all eight Golden Gopher wins and fanned 121 opposing batters.

SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE: The Highlanders (2-9) went 19-37 last year and finished eighth in the Big West. Junior pitcher Marissa Alvidrez earned first-team All-Big West honors last season and currently carries a 4.40 ERA with 26 K's. Offensively, senior Tiana Towns leads the team with a .308 batting average and a .379 on-base percentage. Sophomore shortstop Kameryn Hebenton is hitting .226 with three of the Highlanders' 12 extra-base hits.

SCOUTING CAL POLY: The Mustangs (4-5) went 24-22 last year and tied for third in the Big West. Six all-conference honorees return, headlined by 2008 All-West Region pick Melissa Pura. Pura and fellow senior All-Big West pick Stephanie Tam are both hitting over .400 so far this year, and have combined for eight doubles. In the circle, Helen Pena (2.67 ERA) and Anna Cahn (3.26 ERA) share the pitching duties and have combined for a 3.00 ERA and 48 K's.

SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON: The Titans (5-6) went 27-28-1 last year, took fifth in the Big West and made an appearance at the Los Angeles Regional. Two returners are coming off seasons in which they earned All-Big West Honorable Mention - senior Lauren Lupinetti and sophomore KC Craddick. So far in 2009, senior Courtney Martinez (.333, 4 HR's) and junior Francesca Gonzales (.344, 3 HR's) are pacing the team offensively. Krystal Heinle (3.13 ERA, 25 K's) and Ari Cervantes (2.92 ERA, 17 K's) are splitting duties in the circle.

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