No. 3 Softball Hosts No. 1 Arizona and No. 6 Arizona State This Weekend
April 18, 2002
The Stanford women's softball team (35-8, 4-5 Pac-10) resumes conference action this weekend, facing No. 1 Arizona on Friday at 7 p.m at the Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium. They will host Arizona State at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, then again on Sunday, April 20 at 1 p.m. On Tuesday night, the Cardinal snapped a three-game losing streak with a sweep of UC Santa Barbara in a non-conference doubleheader.
Stanford in the National Rankings
Stanford checks in at No. 3 in the latest USA Today/NFCA top-25 poll, as voted by 27 Division 1 softball coaches representing all areas around the country. The Cardinal has held down the No. 2 spot twice this season, representing the highest ranking in program history. Stanford is 15-7 thus far against opponents ranked in the top-25, and will face No. 1 Arizona and No. 6 Arizona State this weekend. Currently, the top-10 schools in the nation are as follows: No. 1 Arizona, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, No. 8 California, No. 9 Washington and No. 10 Florida Atlantic.
Scouting the Wildcats
Following its contests with UC Santa Barbara, the Cardinal will host top-ranked Arizona (38-5, 7-1 Pac-10) on Friday night. The Wildcats, winners of their last three games, lead the league with a 7-1 record on the year. Arizona picked up a 4-2 win over Oklahoma State on Tuesday night and will play No. 9 Oklahoma (4/17) before heading to Stanford. Last week, the 'Cats went 3-0 in one game vs. Oregon and two against Oregon State. They are led by Lovieanne Jung (.421, 53 H, 13 HR, 33 RBI), Courtney Fossatti (.372, 29 H, 0 HR, 4 RBI) and Leneah Manuma (.368, 39 H, 17 HR, 59 RBI). Arizona's pitching staff includes All-American Jennie Finch (22-1, 0.68 ERA, 230 K's in 154.0 IP) and Jenny Gladding (16-4, 1.80 ERA, 140 K's in 113.0 IP). Arizona is hitting at a .327 clip as a team while holding opponents to a .153 average at the plate. The Wildcats are ranked No. 2 nationally in fielding percentage, No. 3 in batting average, No. 3 in runs per game and No. 15 in ERA. They are coached by Mike Candrea, who is in his 17th season at the helm of the program. Last season, the Cardinal dropped all three contests to the Wildcats, including a 15 inning 5-3 loss at Stanford. Arizona holds a 26-2 advantage in the all-time series with Stanford.
Scouting the Sun Devils
Arizona State (35-10, 5-3 Pac-10) will be in town to face Stanford on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. ASU went 2-1 against the Oregon schools last weekend, defeating Oregon 9-1 and splitting with Oregon State, 0-1 and 6-0. The Devils are led by Phelan Wright (.443, 54 H, 6 HR, 31 RBI), Kara Brun (.419, 57 H, 6 HR, 44 RBI) and Nichole Thompson (.393, 53 H, 1 HR, 17 RBI). The Arizona State pitching staff is led by Kirsten Voak (7-3, 0.94 ERA, 93 K's in 74.2 IP) and Erica Beach (22-7, 1.14 ERA , 138 K's in 172.0 IP). ASU is hitting at a .316 clip as a team while holding opponents to a .206 batting average. The Sun Devils are 7-3 in their last 10 games. Last year, the Cardinal took 2-out-of-3 games from ASU, winning two down in Tempe and falling 4-3 in eight innings in Stanford. Arizona State is coached by Linda Wells, in her 13th season at the helm of the program.
The Rittman File
John Rittman is currently in his sixth season at the helm of the Stanford women's softball program after being named head coach on July 12, 1996. In just five years on The Farm, Rittman has brought the Stanford softball program from a non-scholarship club-level program to a fully-funded championship contender. The 2001 season was the most impressive campaign under Rittman's tenure, as the Cardinal finished with its best single-season overall record at 54-16-1. Rittman was awarded the 2001 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year honor and currently has accumulated a 245-108-1 overall mark while with the Cardinal. Prior to being named head coach at Stanford, Rittman spent four seasons as the assistant coach at Washington.
Stanford Takes Two From Visiting UC Santa Barbara
In a mid-week doubleheader with UC Santa Barbara, the Cardinal snapped a three-game losing skid with a 7-2 and 8-3 win on Tuesday night at the Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium. Tori Nyberg notched her 20th win on the season in the first game, pitching four shutout innings for Stanford. Jessica Mendoza collected two hits, two runs scored and three RBI while Robin Walker chipped in two hits and two runs scored. Maureen LeCocq pitched a complete game victory in the second game, scattering six hits while recording four strikeouts. Every single starter for the Cardinal had a hit on the evening. Walker, Kira Ching and Elizabeth Bendig each tallied two hits while teammate Sarah Beeson had two RBI.
Cards Have Rough Road Trip
Stanford's journey to Los Angeles and Seattle left the Cardinal with three losses in the scorebook last week. Stanford lost a close 3-2 game to the UCLA Bruins on Friday after Amanda Freeds hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to bring home the winning run. After a long flight, the Cardinal faced Washington on Saturday, falling 11-3 in five innings. Sunday's game was rained out and played on Monday. A three-run homer in the bottom of the first was all that the Huskies would need in the 3-0 shutout of Stanford.
When the Cardinal scored seven runs in the top of the seventh for a 7-2 victory against Oregon State, it represented the first time in 2002 that the team had notched a comeback win. Considering that Stanford has been ahead entering the final frame in 32 of the 38 games so far, that's not a terrible statistic. And it's about time- Cardinal fans hadn't seen their team rally when trailing after six innings since the 2000 season. Stanford was 0-14 last season when opponents led in the seventh.
On The Board
One-third of Stanford's victories (11 of 35) in 2002 have been of the shutout variety. However, as impressive as that may seem, last season was even better. The Cardinal recorded 33 shutouts in 2001, and had blanked 23 opponents through its first 38 games of the year.
She's At It Again
Three-time First Team All-American Jessica Mendoza continues to pick up where she left off last year. Overall, the senior centerfielder has started 42 of 43 games, and is hitting .426. She leads the club in runs (48), hits (55), home runs (12), total bases (110), slugging percentage (.853) and stolen bases (21). She was named Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week for games played between Mar. 4-10, in addition to her Pac-10 Player of the Week honor over the same time frame. Mendoza, ranks second in the league in stolen bases. The Camarillo, Calif. native is batting .431 with runners on base and hitting .500 against lefthanded pitching.
Beeson Paces The Card
Senior Sarah Beeson has been one of Stanford's hottest hitters so far. Beeson is leading the club with 36 RBI, and is second on the team in the following categories: batting average (.409), hits (52), total bases (74) and on base percentage (.503). Beeson has started all 43 games at first base and has hit four home runs. She was recently invited to participate in USA Softball team camp, May 30-June 3 to compete for a spot to represent the U.S. this summer in international competition.
Tori Nyberg is now 20-4 overall on the season, and has allowed 115 hits in 163.2 innings pitched for a 1.63 ERA. In addition, she has walked just 41 while striking out 144 and limiting the opposition to a .195 average. Nyberg, picked up her 20th win on Tuesday against UC Santa Barbara in the Cardinals 7-2 victory. Her 20 wins is a season high and brings her career total to 32 wins. The junior hurler was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 19-24 for her efforts, and was named Most Valuable Pitcher at the Speedline Invitational. She also made the All-Tournament Team at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Nyberg has notched 18 complete games and seven shutouts in 2002. She is holding righthanded batters to a .180 average at the plate.
Look Out For LeCocq
Junior Maureen LeCocq has been brilliant in the circle lately for Stanford. LeCocq has not allowed a run in her last three starts, a span of 19.2 scoreless innings. She recorded three victories in five starts last week: shutting out Fresno State 1-0 in game two of a doubleheader (Apr. 3), pitching two innings of relief in the Cardinal's 4-3 win at Oregon (Apr. 6) and combined on a 7-0 blanking of Oregon State (Apr. 7). For her efforts, LeCocq was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for Apr. 1-7- the second honor of her career. For the season, she is 13-2 with a 1.74 ERA in 104.1 innings of work.
When the Arizona schools visit Stanford this weekend, Cardinal first baseman Sarah Beeson is sure to see some familiar faces. Beeson hails from Tucson, Arizona, home of the Arizona Wildcats. Three ASU players are from the Bay Area including Bonnie Brannen (San Jose, CA), Jennifer Forner (Walnut Creek, CA) and Kirsten Voak (Fremont, CA)
Notes From The Dugout
Robin Walker is leading the team with 14 doubles so far this year, twice as many as last season's total of seven...Jessica Mendoza currently has an three-game hitting streak... Mendoza also leads the team with 16 multi-hit games and 11 multi-RBI games...Outfielder Cassi Brangham has not committed an error in 43 games this season, catcher Jessica Allister is second with a .996 fielding percentage...Freshman Elizabeth Bendig is hitting .040 (1-25) with the bases empty and .379 (11-29) with runners on base...Jessica Mendoza is second on the club with 35 RBI, but is hitting only .167 with the bases loaded...Stanford faced a heavy dose of left-handers in its Oregon road trip, and went 10-19 against them. For the season, the Card owns a .286 average against southpaws... Jessica Draemel is hitting a team-leading .357 in league games.
Notes From The Bullpen
Stanford is 24-4 when Tori Nyberg starts...Tori Nyberg has not thrown a wild pitch in 163.2 innings of work this season...Cardinal starters Tori Nyberg and Maureen LeCocq have been effective this season, both in different ways. Nyberg has recorded 467 outs (221 ground-ball, 102 fly-ball, 144 strikeout), while LeCocq has registered 325 outs (143 ground-ball, 141 fly-ball, 43 strikeout)...Both Stanford starters have been awarded the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honor this season, LeCocq (Apr. 1-7) and Nyberg (Feb. 19-24)...Frosh Elizabeth Bendig recorded her first save on the season in Tuesday's 7-2 win over the Gauchos. Bendig, making only her fourth appearance out of the bullpen, pitched allowed only two hits over three innings with two unearned runs.
Did You Know?
Stanford has defeated Arizona twice in nine previous seasons...The Cardinal have turned 15 double plays (third-most in the league)...Stanford ranks second in the conference in doubles...Cardinal head coach John Rittman needs just five more wins to reach 250 for his career...Tori Nyberg's 144 strikeouts this season ranks fifth for a season in the Cardinal record books...Nyberg's 253 career K's ranks fourth all-time on the Farm...Maureen LeCocq's 165 career strikeouts ranks fifth at Stanford...LeCocq's 362.2 career IP ranks fourth all-time in the Cardinal record books...Nyberg's 32 career victories ranks fourth while her 20 season wins ranks fifth at Stanford... Robin Walker has 546 career assists - second all-time on the Farm.
Softball On The Web
2002 Cardinal softball can be heard on the internet, courtesy of KZSU (Stanford's student radio station), at www.gostanford.com. Rory Berry and former Stanford softball standout Ramona Shelburne will provide the broadcast chores.