No. 10 Cardinal Resumes Play At The Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic

March 17, 2010

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Tournament Central

THIS WEEK: The No. 10/11 Cardinal (15-3) will host the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic, Fri.-Sun., Mar. 19-21 at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium. Stanford will welcome four teams to The Farm for three full days of softball.

THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will play five games over the three day period, including two contests with Saint Mary’s. The Cardinal opens the weekend with a 6 p.m. game with Santa Clara on Friday night. Stanford will then play double-headers the next two days. The Cardinal will face Princeton and Saint Mary’s on Saturday starting at 2:30 p.m. and then take on Cal Poly and Saint Mary’s again on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

UP NEXT: The Cardinal will travel to Davis, Calif., for a Tuesday afternoon contest with the Aggies on March 23, before returning to The Farm to host its final tournament of the year. The Stanford Invitational will run Fri.-Sun., Mar. 26-28, and include Cal State Bakersfield, BYU, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.

Jessica Mendoza DAY: Former Stanford softball great Jessica Mendoza ‘02 will make an appearance at the Stanford softball games on Saturday, Mar. 20. The two-time Olympic medalist will sign autographs in between Stanford’s double-header with Princeton and Saint Mary’s, which begins at 2:30 p.m.

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 despite not playing, Stanford dropped on spot in the USA Today/NFCA poll and moved up a slot in the Softball top-25, coming in at No. 10 and No. 11, 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 six of its 15 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 .491 with 28 hits on 57 at-bats. She has tallied 20 runs, five doubles, a triple and four home runs. She has a team-high 47 total bases and is slugging. .825.

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 1,491 putouts. Offensively, she will be looked upon to provide power in the middle of the lineup. On the season, she is hitting .364, with 16 hits, including five doubles and two home runs, 10 RBI and a .614 slugging percentage. She also leads the team with 13 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 17 runs, while hitting .414 with 24 hits, including a Pac-10 leading eight doubles, a home run, and 13 RBI.

IN THE CIRCLE: Freshman Teagan Gerhart has earned the majority of the time in the circle for the Cardinal to start the season. The rookie is 9-2 with a 1.84 ERA on the year. She pitched her first complete-game shut out versus McNeese State in a 9-0 run-rule victory, and now has four on the season. Gerhart has also amassed 75 strikeouts for the Cardinal this season, ranking fifth in the Pac-10.

VETERAN PITCHING: Junior Ashley Chinn returns to the squad as an upperclassman that carries a 30-6 overall record with a 2.33 ERA this season. She has thrown 28 complete games, including 10 shutouts, while adding 39 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .194 off of Chinn this season, a mark that is seventh 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 .404, tallying 23 hits, including six home runs, three doubles and a triple, 16 RBI and 46 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.

CAREER THEFTS: Sophomore outfielder Sarah Hassman has already penciled her name in the Cardinal record book for stolen bases. Hassman, who led the team last season with 19 stolen bases, has five already this season. Her 24 career thefts ties for ninth all-time in program history. Former Cardinal-great Jessica Mendoza tops the Stanford list with 86 career stolen bases, double that of Catalina Morris who is second with 43.

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 529-253-3 (.676) 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 75-14 all-time versus this weekend’s tournament field. The Cardinal are 37-4 (.902) overall against Santa Clara and 25-6 (.806) versus Saint Mary’s. Stanford also holds winning records over Princeton (4-1) and Cal Poly (9-3).

SCOUTING SANTA CLARA: Santa Clara is 4-9 to start the season, but was 2-1 last weekend at the South Bay Super Series in San Jose. Sophomore Briana Knight is leading the team with 12 hits, two doubles, three home runs and eight RBI. Sophomore infielder Kristin Welsh has pitched in with 10 hits and three RBI, and is leading the Broncos with a .313 batting average. Four different pitchers have seen time in the circle for Santa Clara this season. Freshman Ali Nash leads the team with a 3.72 ERA in 26.1 innings of work, while senior Kaitlyn Rauschnot leads the team with 38.2 innings pitched and 12 strikeouts.

SCOUTING PRINCETON: Princeton has started the season 2-9 and has been outscored by its opponents 72-35. Senior Jamie Lettire is leading the Tigers with a .344 batting average and four home runs, and has added 11 hits, six RBI and four walks. Senior outfielder Kelsey Quist is leading the team with 10 RBI. Lettire has also spent the most time in the circle for the Tigers, throwing 32.0 innings and striking out 15 batters. She holds a 6.78 ERA and is 0-5 on the season.

SCOUTING SAINT MARY’S: The Gaels are 9-8 overall on the season after they swept Weber State in a double-header on Tuesday. Sophomore infielder Rebecca Sabatini leads the team with 20 hits, 17 runs scored and 10 RBI, while hitting .370 with a .574 slugging percentage. Sophomore Michelle Mounts has pitched in with 17 hits, including two doubles, a triple and a home run, and five RBI to lead the squad with a .386 average. In the circle, sophomore Britany Linton has seen the most time, throwing 59.0 inning with 32 strikeouts. She is 5-6 on the season with a 3.20 ERA. Sophomore Kimberly Green has also seen time for SMC, tallying a 3-0 record with a 1.35 ERA in 26.2 innings of work.

SCOUTING CAL POLY: Cal Poly enters the week with an 8-8 record after posting a 3-2 mark last weekend at the Mustang Classic. Cal Poly is led offensively by senior infielder Krysten Cary and junior designated player/pitcher Anna Cahn. Cary is hitting .326 with 14 hits, three doubles, three home runs, eight RBI and a .605 slugging percentage, while Cahn is hitting .325 with 13 hits, seven RBI and a team-best 13 walks. In the circle, Cahn is 5-3 with a 1.36 ERA. She leads the team with 41 strikeouts in 56.2 innings and has thrown seven complete games, including three shutouts.

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