No. 10 Cardinal Travels To Fullerton For DeMarini Invitational

March 2, 2010

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THIS WEEK: The No. 10/12 Cardinal (12-2) will travel to Fullerton, Calif., to compete in the DeMarini Invitational, Mar. 5-7. The 10-team tournament, originally known as the Worth Invitational, will be played at Anderson Family Field and South Field on the campus of Cal State Fullerton.

THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will play five games over the three day period, including a showdown with third-ranked Florida to open the tournament. The Cardinal will face the Gators at 1:30 p.m. on Friday before taking on host Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m. Saturday will feature another double-header for Stanford, playing North Carolina at 1:30 p.m. followed by a re-match with Northwestern at 6 p.m. The Cardinal will conclude the tournament on Sunday with a 9 a.m. contenst versus Indiana.

Friday, March 5
1:30 p.m. - Stanford vs. Flordia | Gametracker
6 p.m. - Stanford vs. Cal State Fullerton | Gametracker
Saturday, March 6
1:30 p.m. - Stanford vs. North Carolina | Gametracker
6 p.m. - Stanford vs. Northwestern | Gametracker
Sunday, March 7
9 a.m. - Stanford vs. Indiana | Gametracker

UP NEXT: The Cardinal will take a one-week break for finals before resuming play on March 19 as it hosts the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic at Smith Family Stadium.

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 stayed put in both the USA Today/NFCA poll and the Softball top-25, remaining at No. 10 and No 12, respectively. 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 at the Stanford Nike Invitational, run-ruling three of the four teams it faced. Overall, the team has earned five of its 12 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 .489 with 22 hits on 45 at-bats. She has tallied 15 runs, five doubles, a triple and three home runs. She has a team-high 38 total bases and is slugging. .844.

BEHIND THE PLATE: Rosey Neill returns for her senior season as the two-time Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Her .992 career fielding percentage ranks second in Cardinal history as does her 1,467 putouts. Offensively, she will be looked upon to provide power in the middle of the lineup. On the season, she is hitting .429, with 15 hits, including four doubles and two home runs, nine RBI and a .714 slugging percentage. She also leads the team with 10 walks.

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 13 runs, while tallying 18 hits, including four doubles and a home run, and 10 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 29-6 overall record with a 2.33 ERA this season. She has thrown 28 complete games, including 10 shutouts. Gerhart has improved her record to 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA. The rookie pitched her first complete-game shut out versus McNeese State in a 9-0 run-rule victory, and now has two on the season. Gerhart has amassed 58 strikeouts for the Cardinal this season, while Chinn has added 34.

ROOKIE DEBUT: Freshman Jenna Rich has gotten off to a stellar start in her first season on The Farm. Rich is fourth on the team, hitting .378, tallying 17 hits, including three home runs, two doubles and a triple, nine RBI and 30 total bases. 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 Champion 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 526-252-3 (.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 18-11 versus this weekend’s opponents. The Cardinal will play for its first win against Florida, dropping the only other meeting between the two programs, a 4-3 loss at the Worth Classic in Fullerton, Calif., in 2008. The Cardinal is 14-4 versus Cal State Fullerton and 1-0 against both North Carolina and Indiana. Stanford is now 2-6 versus Northwestern after being shut out, 4-0, by the Wildcats last weekend.

SCOUTING FLORIDA: Florida is 12-1 to start the year, and is currently on an 11-game win streak. The Gators are the third-ranked team in the country and are coming off a three-game weekend sweep of Northwestern State. Offensively, the team is led by a pair of upperclassmen, senior Francesca Enea and junior Kelsey Bruder. Enea leads the team with a .417 batting average, registering 15 hits, six home runs and 20 RBI, while Bruder is third on the team with a .395 average with 15 hits, including five home runs and four doubles, and 13 RBI. Florida’s ace in the circle is junior Stephanie Brombacher, who holds a 10-1 record entering the weekend. She has a 1.79 ERA and has accrued 71 strikeouts. She has also thrown six complete games, including three shutouts.

SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON: Cal State Fullerton has started the year 3-10 overall. The Titans posted a 1-4 record last weekend at the Cathedral City Classic, picking up its lone win in an 8-4 victory over Baylor. CSF is led by junior Torrie Anderson and sophomore Trina Harrison. Anderson leads the team with nine hits, four home runs and 12 RBI, while Harrison also has four home runs and has registered five RBI. The Titans have used four pitchers this season, who have combined for a 7.41 ERA, giving up 126 hits and 85 earned runs, while striking out 55 batters.

SCOUTING NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels are 10-3 to open the 2010 season and have won nine in a row. North Carolina posted a 4-0 record at the Tar Heel Invitational last weekend, posting wins over Fairfield, Pittsburgh and James Madison (twice). Senior Christine Knauer and sophomore Ally Blake are both hitting .382 and lead the team with 13 hits apiece. Senior Danielle Spaulding and junior Brittany Robinson both lead the team three home runs and 11 RBI. Spaulding has also been solid for UNC in the circle, leading the team with a 0.93 ERA, 74 strikeouts and a 5-1 record. Senior Amber Johnson is 5-2 and holds a 1.25 ERA with 55 strikeouts and just nine walks.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN: Northwestern dropped to 6-8 over the weekend at the Cathedral City Classic, despite shutting out the Cardinal 4-0. The Wildcats fell to Pacific (4-2), Cal Poly (4-0) and No. 5 UCLA in eight innings (10-5) last weekend. They were ahead of UC Davis, 7-1, in their final game before it was postponned. It will be completed this weekend in Fullerton. Northwestern is led by a trio of .300 hitters. Senior Emily Haug leads the team with a .342 batting average and 16 RBI. Sophomore Adrienne Monka is hitting .333 with 11 hits, including four home runs, and 10 RBI, while junior Michelle Batts leads the squad wtih five home runs and has totaled 12 RBI. In the circle, senior Lauren Delaney leads the Wildcats with a 2.30 ERA and 69 strikeouts. She has a 3-4 record entering the weekend. She held Stanford to just one hit, while striking out seven batters in the teams’ first meeting this season.

SCOUTING INDIANA: Indiana is 5-6 coming into the weekend and has won three of its last four contests. Playing in the Southern Mississippi Invitational last weekend, the Hoosiers earned wins over Jackson State, Central Arkansas and Belmont. The Hoosiers are led offensively by sophomore Sammy Berenter, who is hitting .368 with five RBI in 10 games played. Freshman Breanna Saucedo leads the team with 12 hits, while three different Hoosiers have tallied nine RBI. Indiana has used four different pitchers this season. They have combined to total a 4.49 ERA and 41 strikeouts, while giving up 76 hits and 43 earned runs.

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