No. 10/12 Cardinal Heads To Cathedral City Classic

Feb. 23, 2010

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THIS WEEK: The No. 10/12 Cardinal (8-1) will travel to Palm Springs, Calif., to participate in the Cathedral City Classic, Feb. 25-28. The 30-team tournament includes 12 teams ranked in the top-25 and seven of the eight Pac-10 schools.

THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will play six games over the four day period, including three against ranked opponents. The Cardinal open with No. 21 Tennessee at 8 p.m. on Thursday. Stanford will then play a double-header on Friday against No. 23 Northwestern at 3:30 p.m. and Long Beach State at 6 p.m. The Cardinal will take on No. 24 Texas A&M on Saturday at 10 a.m. Stanford will conclude the tournament with a double-header on Sunday, facing Syracuse at 9 a.m. and UNLV at 11 a.m.

UP NEXT: Stanford will remain on the road as it travels to Fullerton, Calif., for the DeMarini Invitational. The Cardinal will play five games on the weekend, and again face three ranked teams.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON...: Stanford’s Alissa Haber and Ashley Hansen were among the 50 players named to the initial USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year watch list. The 50 picks represent 35 different schools and 14 different conferences. Haber and Hansen were two of the 12 selections from the Pac-10. Last season, Haber and senior Missy Penna were both among the 50 preseason picks as well. Penna joined Hansen on the top 25 list last year, and Penna went on to be one of the 10 finalists.

IN THE POLLS: This week, Stanford moved up a spot in both the USA Today/NFCA poll and the Softball top-25, to return to its No. 10/12 preseason rankings. The Cardinal has appeared in every regular-season poll for more than a decade. Six of the eight Pac-10 schools appeared in both polls, with as many as five appearing in the top-10.

QUICK WINS: Stanford opened the 2010 season with two run-rule five-inning wins at the Paradise Softball Classic in Honolulu. The Cardinal continued to pour in the runs last weekend, run-ruling three of the four teams it faced at the Stanford Nike Invitational. Overall, the team has earned five of its eight wins in five innings.

HARD TO HANDLE: All-American outfielder Alissa Haber entered her senior season with a .395 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 three years, Haber is a three-time All-American. She joins Mendoza as the only players in school history to enter their senior year as a three-time All-American. So far in 2010, Haber is hitting .500 with 14 hits on 28 at-bats. She has tallied nine runs, four doubles, a triple and a home run. She has a team-high 23 total bases and is slugging. .821.

BEHIND THE PLATE: Rosey Neill returns for her senior season as the two-time Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Her .990 career fielding percentage ranks second in Cardinal history as does her 1,433 putouts. Offensively, she will be looked upon to provide power in the middle of the lineup. For her career she is hitting .320 and has collected 122 RBI, 37 home runs and a .607 slugging percentage.

SENSATIONAL SOPHOMORE: Ashley Hansen returns to the infield for the Cardinal this season after posting one of the most decorated rookie seasons on The Farm. Hansen became the school’s second Pac-10 Freshman of the Year after recording an astonishing .400 batting average, which included a team-leading 55 RBI and five triples, as well as, 84 hits, 26 doubles and four homers. She was the only freshman named to the All-Pac-10 team and garnered Second Team All-America honors. This season, Hansen has scored a team-high nine runs, while tallying 10 hits and seven RBI.

IN THE CIRCLE: Junior Ashley Chinn and freshman Teagan Gerhart have split time in the circle for the Cardinal over the first two weekends. Chinn carries a 28-6 overall record with a 2.24 ERA this season. She has thrown 28 complete games, including 10 shutouts. Gerhart has improved her record to 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA, ranking seventh in the Pac-10. The rookie pitched her first complete-game shut out versus McNeese State in a 9-0 run-rule victory. Both Chinn and Gerhart have amassed 30 strikeouts for the Cardinal this season and their combined 1.58 ERA is second in the conference.

ROOKIE DEBUT: Freshman Jenna Rich has gotten off to a stellar start in her first season on The Farm. Rich is third on the team, hitting .429, tallying 12 hits, including three home runs and a double, eight RBI and 22 total bases to slug .786. Her first career home run came in the season opener against Texas A&M Corpus Christi, the short stop belted a two-run walk-off homer to end the game in the fifth inning. Two days later, also against the Islanders, Rich hit a pair of long balls on consecutive at-bats to lead Stanford to a 5-2 win.

SOLID VETERANS: With seven upperclassmen on its roster of 20, the Cardinal is still a fairly young team. However, the team’s veterans look to continue their production and success at several key positions. Seniors Alissa Haber, Shannon Koplitz, and Rosey Neill have been starters since their first year on The Farm, and enter their senior season with experience and leadership. Along with juniors Autumn Albers, Ashley Chinn, Melisa Koutz, and Brittany Minder, these veterans look to improve upon their two straight NCAA Super Regional appearances in 2010. Together the juniors and seniors combined to produce 360 runs, 583 hits and 72 homeruns entering this season. Along with Haber’s three All-America nods, this group of veterans has garnered seven All-Pac 10 awards, five all-region honors and various team awards.

PRESEASON PICKS: Stanford was selected to finish in a tie for fourth with Arizona State in the Pac-10 this season in the annual poll of the league’s coaches. Washington, the 2009 National Champions was chosen in the top spot, while Arizona and UCLA finished ahead of the Cardinal.

2009 IN REVIEW: Stanford is coming off a strong 2009 season, in which it went 48-11 and finished fourth in the competitive Pac-10 Conference. The program posted its 11th 40-win season, recorded the best winning percentage (.814) in school history, made its 12th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and made a postseason run to its fourth NCAA Super Regional in five years. At the end of the year, eight players were honored with All-Pac-10 awards, four received all-region recognition and three - pitcher Missy Penna, outfielder Alissa Haber and infielder Ashley Hansen - were named All-Americans.

TEAM USA TIES: Head Coach John Rittman was a member of the United States National Team coaching staff from 2001-08. During the summer of 2009, current Stanford players Alissa Haber and Ashley Hansen competed for the red, white and blue in the Canada Cup and the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City. Haber also helped the team win gold at the Japan Cup, while Hansen was a part of the team that won gold in the Pan Am Qualifier in Venezuela. Both Haber and Hansen will join former Cardinal standouts Lauren Lappin and Jessica Mendoza on the U.S. National Team in 2010.

HEAD COACH John Rittman: In his 14th season at the helm of the Cardinal program, head coach John Rittman is one of the winningest coaches in collegiate softball, boasting a 522-251-3 (.675) career record. Since stepping onto the Farm in July 1996, he has coached the team to 13 consecutive winning seasons, 12 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 11 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.

SERIES RECORDS: Stanford is a combined 21-14-1 against its competition at the Cathedral City Classic. The Cardinal holds winnning records against four of the six teams, including Tennessee (3-2), Long Beach State (10-4-1), Syracuse (1-0) and UNLV (5-0). Against Northwestern, Stanford is 2-5 and 0-3 all-time versus Texas A&M.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE: Tennesse is 5-2 entering this weekend’s tournament. The Lady Vol team is a young squad with just four upper classmen on a roster of 19. The team has won five straight games, including a 4-0 record last weekend at the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M. Leading the way for the Lady Vols last week was freshman Raven Chavanne. The rookie hit .813 going 13-16 with 12 runs scored, a double, two triples, a home run and seven RBI. For her efforts she was named SEC Player of the Week. Another freshman, Kat Dotson, leads the team overall with a .625 batting average, 10 RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage. In the circle, freshman Ivy Renfroe leads the team with a 2.94 ERA and a 3-0 record. Sophomore Cat Hosfield leads the squad with 26 strikeouts.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN: The 23rd-ranked Wildcats have started the season 5-5. The team was 3-2 last weekend at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, including a win over then-No. 12 California. Northwestern is led by sophomore Adrienne Monka who is hitting .429 with a 1.048 slugging percentage. She has nine hits, four home runs and 10 RBI. She was named Big Ten Player of the Week for her performance last weekend. Junior pitcher Jessica Smith leads the team with a 3-0 record and a 1.62 ERA. She has made five appearnaces, thowing three complete games, including a shutout. Senior Lauren Delaney is 2-3 with 48 strikeouts.

SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE: Long Beach State is 4-5 entering the weekend. The team went 2-3 in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic last weekend, earning wins over Boise State and Illinios-Chicago. The team is led by freshman Nalani St. Germain, who is hitting .385 with 10 hits, 12 runs scored, five homers, 11 RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage. Sophomore Taylor Petty has started five games in the circle and is 2-3 with a 2.86 ERA and 25 strikeouts.

SCOUTING TEXAS A&M: The Aggies are 10-1 on the year and hold the No. 24 ranking in the NFCA top-25. Texas A&M swept its competition at the Aggie Classic last weekend, picking up five wins. The team is led by a pair of .400 hitters, junior Rhiannon Kliesing (.406) and freshman Meagan May (.400). Together the duo has combined by 27 hits, nine doubles, nine home runs and 32 RBI. Freshman Melissa Dumezich has also been productive for the Aggies, adding four doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI for a .774 slugging percentage. In the circle, Kliesing is 6-0 with a 51 stikeouts and a 3.28 ERA.

SCOUTING SYRACUSE: Syracuse, which did not play last weekend, is 2-3 to start the season. Both wins for the Orange came over Bryant at the Louisiana-Lafayette Mardi Gras Tournament. Freshman Veronica Grant and sophomore Stephanie Watts lead the team offensively. Grant leads the team with a .389 batting average, seven hits and two doubles. Watts stands at a .375 average with six hits, including a double and a home run, a team-best five RBI and 10 total bases. Senior pitcher Brittany Gardner is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, striking out 10 batters in 10.0 innings of work.

SCOUTING UNLV: UNLV is 7-3 overall and went 3-2 last weekend, hosting the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. All three of the team’s wins last weekend came in five innings. The Rebels boast five players with a .400 batting average or better. Junior Ashli Holland leads the team, hitting .500 in five games played. Senior Marissa Nichols (.467) leads the team with 14 hits, 12 runs scored and seven doubles, while freshman Taylor Aleman has a team-best three home runs and 13 RBI. In the circle, sophomore Kylie Wagner is 3-1 with a team leading 4.01 ERA. Junior Traci Odegard leads the squad with 13 strikeouts.

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