Cardinal Hosts Stanford Invitational II

March 22, 2006

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COMING UP: No. 5 Stanford Softball will host its final preseason tournament this Friday through Sunday at Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. The Cardinal will play four of the five teams participating in the tournament, beginning with Illinois at 1:00 pm and Princeton at 3:00 pm on Saturday. On Sunday, Stanford will take on UC Davis in a double header beginning at 11:00 am.

STANFORD WINS FIVE STRAIGHT AT HOME: The Cardinal cleaned up at the Stanford Classic on March 10-12, winning all five games and allowing its opponents only seven total runs. Stanford beat its first four opponents by eight runs or more, topping Wisconsin and BYU in five and six innings, respectively. On the final day of the tournament, the Cardinal held off Pacific for a 4-3 victory. Senior Catalina Morris hit .611 on the weekend with 10 RBIs, seven runs, three doubles and one home run. Freshman pitcher Missy Penna was 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA, incuding the win over Pacific. Penna struck out 18 batters over the weekend to bring her season total to 104 strike outs.

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI: Illinois went 2-2 last weekend at the Capitol Classic in Sacramento to improve to 9-12 on the season. Junior Molly Lawhead was named to the Capitol Classic all-tournament team after going 7-12 last weekend with four runs and two RBI. Senior Jenna Hall currently leads the team in hitting with a .485 average, 14 runs, 26 RBIs and eight home runs. Pitcher Claire DeVreese is 7-4 from the circle with a 5.49 ERA and 46 strikeouts on the season.

PRINCETON TIGERS: The Tigers also spent last weekend at the Capital Classic, winning all four games and outscoring their opponents 24-3. Princeton has tallied a 6-3 season record. Sophomore Calli Jo Varner was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after going 6-9 last weekend wth two doubles and a home run. Sophomore Kristen Schaus was the league's Pitcher of the Week after nabbing two wins and a save. Schaus struck out 24 batters and allowed six hits over the weekend and now boasts a 1.09 ERA. Kathryn Welch was named Rookie of the Week after going 7-10 with four RBI, two doubles and one home run for a 1.200 slugging percentage.

UC DAVIS AGGIES: Prior to taking last weekend off, UC Davis competed at the National Invitational Softball Tournament in Sunnyvale, going 2-2 including wins over St. Francis (NY) and South Dakota State. Last week Ashley Johnson was named Independent Softball Player of the Week for the second week in a row after batting .471 in five games over the weekend with eight hits. Lauren Pieretti was Pitcher of the Week after tallying a 0.81 ERA and one win. Roxanne Hannan was awarded Newcomer of the Week after going 7-15 in Sunnyvale. Hannah and Johnson lead the Aggies with three home runs each.

NATIONAL POLL: Arizona slipped down to share the second spot in the Softball rankings this week with Tennessee and drops to fourth in the USA Today/NFCA poll. UCLA climbed to the top ranking in both polls after improving to 27-1 last weekend. In the USA Today/NFCA poll, Tennessee ranks second with 11 first-place votes, while Texas is in third with three first-place votes. Stanford remains solid in fifth place for both polls.

CONFERENCE RANKINGS: Stanford was selected by conference coaches in the preseason poll to finish third in the Pac-10 this season. UCLA earned seven first-place votes to take the top spot, followed by Arizona in second with one first-place vote. Bay Area rival California is ranked fourth in the conference. UCLA, Arizona and California all advanced to the WCWS in 2005, with UCLA losing to Michigan in the championship series. 2005 marked the 19th-straight season in which a Pac-10 team played in the WCWS championship game.

HEAD COACH John Rittman: Now in his tenth season on The Farm, head coach John Rittman has tallied a 388-181-1 overall record (nine full seasons) and coached his team to the school's first-ever conference championship last season. Rittman recently celebrated his 400th career win against Maryland at the Palm Springs Classic. In 2004, Rittman was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and went on to help coach Team USA to a gold medal at the Athens Summer Olympics.

RECORD-BREAKING 2005: Stanford is looking to build off of a strong postseason finish in 2005, in which the Cardinal hosted the NCAA Super Regional versus Tennessee. The season proved to be record-breaking as Stanford claimed a share of the Pac-10 regular season championship for the first time in school history. Shortstop Lauren Lappin, outfielder Catalina Morris and rookie infielder Michelle Smith all earned NFCA All-American honors. In addition to being named First-Team All-Conference, Lappin was designated Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in the first year of the award's existence. The Cardinal returns 13 letterwinners and seven starters in 2006, including seniors Lappin, Morris, Megan Bordelon, Shoney Hixson and Laura Severson. Stanford will also enjoy the presense of talented newcomers Maddy Coon (Chappaqua, NY) and Missy Penna (Miami, FL).

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