Ninth-Ranked Cardinal Open Pac-10 Play At Home With California

March 30, 2010

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THIS WEEK: The ninth-ranked Cardinal (25-4) will open the 2010 Pac-10 Conference season at home as it hosts Bay Area rival California this week.

THE SCHEDULE: The series opener is set for 7 p.m., Thursday, Apr. 1 at Smith Family Stadium. Game two is scheduled for Friday, Apr. 2 at 7 p.m., and the series finale will be Saturday, Apr. 3 and 1 p.m.

UP NEXT: Stanford will host UC Davis on Tuesday, Apr. 6 before continuing conference play on the road next weekend. The Cardinal will travel to Corvallis, Ore., to take on the Oregon State Beavers Fri.-Sun., Apr. 9-11.

LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Senior Alissa Haber has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given annually to a student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. Fans have the opportunity to vote on the award’s official Web site,, as well as through text messaging. Fans can text SOFTBALL to 74567 to vote for the finalists.

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, Hansen was also selected to the top 25 list.

NATIONAL RANKINGS: As a team, Stanford ranks in the top-30 in the nation in several statistical categories: Batting Average (.334, 9th), ERA (1.48, 11th), Fielding Percentage (.971, 22nd), Scoring (5.93 rpg, 28th), W-L Percentage (.862, 6th), Doubles Per Game (1.76, 8th) and Slugging Percentage (5.14, 20th).

IN THE POLLS: Stanford stayed put in the USA Today/NFCA poll and dropped two spots in the Softball top-25, coming in at No. 9 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.

TOUGH DEFENSE: Stanford has tallied a shutout in 14 of its 25 wins this season. Six of those were run-rule victories for the Cardinal. Overall, the team has earned 10 of its 25 wins by the run-rule. Additionally, Stanford’s .971 fielding percentage is third in the Pac-10 and ranks in the top-25 in the nation.

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 .484 with 44 hits on 91 at-bats. She has tallied 36 runs, nine doubles, two triples, five home runs and 22 RBI.

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 1,563 putouts. Offensively, she has been looked upon to provide power in the middle of the lineup. On the season, she is hitting .354, with 28 hits, including eight doubles and two home runs, 16 RBI and a .532 slugging percentage. She also leads the team with 15 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 27 runs, while hitting .385 with 35 hits, including a Pac-10 leading 12 doubles, a home run, and 20 RBI.

IN THE CIRCLE: Freshman Teagan Gerhart has earned the majority of the time in the circle for the Cardinal this season. The rookie is 18-3 with a 1.28 ERA on the year. Her 18 victories ties for first int he Pac-10 and is second nationally. She pitched her first complete-game shut out versus McNeese State in a 9-0 run-rule victory, and now has nine on the season. Gerhart has also amassed 140 strikeouts for the Cardinal this season, ranking fourth in the Pac-10.

TAKING NOTICE: Gerhart swept the player of the week honors for the Cardinal last week. The freshman was first named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on Mar. 22, and then garnered both the NFCA and USA Softball National Player of the Week honors after throwing three stragith no-hitters, which began with a perfect game against Santa Clara on Mar. 19. Gerhart threw 26.0 scoreless innings while registering 34 strikeouts last weekend at the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic. She allowed just three hits and one walk as she led the Cardinal to a perfect 5-0 tournament record.

VETERAN PITCHING: Junior Ashley Chinn returns to the squad as an upperclassman that carries a 30-6 overall record with a 2.55 ERA this season. She has thrown 28 complete games, including 10 shutouts. This season she has thrown 33.0 innings, tallying 39 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .194 off of Chinn this season, a mark that is ninth in the conference.

ROOKIE DEBUT: Freshman Jenna Rich has gotten off to a stellar start in her first season on The Farm. Rich is hitting .366, tallying 34 hits, including a team-best nine home runs, and six doubles, two triples, 30 RBI and 71 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. Rich earned her first collegiate start in the circle versus Saint Mary’s on 3/21. She threw 5.0 innings, striking out three batters for her first career 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, leads the team with 12 so far this season. Her 31 career thefts ties for fifth all-time in program history with Lauren Lappin. 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 and Melisa Koutz 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 587-254-3 (.697) 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.

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears enter Pac-10 play with a 28-6 overall record for 23rd-year head coach Diane Ninemire. Cal is on a six-game winning streak and has outscored its opponents 172-52. Sophomore Jamia Reid leads the team hitting .419 with 44 hits, two double, four triples and six RBI. She also leads the Pac-10 with 37 stolen bases. Junior Valerie Arioto has hit a team-best eight home runs and also tallied 24 RBI and a .718 slugging percentage. Newcomer Lindsey Ziegenhirt has added 27 hits, including eight doubles, a triple and seven home runs, and a team-leading 35 RBI.

SERIES RECORD: Stanford is 21-31 all-time versus California. However, the Cardinal holds an 8-7 advantage over the Bears since 2005, including a 6-1 mark at Smith Family Stadium.

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