No. 10/14 Stanford Set for Cal Series

April 4, 2007

Stanford, Calif. -

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THIS WEEK: The Cardinal continues Pac-10 play this week, taking on Bay Area rival Cal in a three game series. On Thursday night, Stanford and Cal will square off at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium, with first pitch set for 7 p.m. On Friday, the teams will meet across the Bay in Berkeley at Levine-Fricke Field in a 3 p.m. start. The series will conclude on Saturday, with a 1 p.m. contest in Berkeley.

ON DECK: Stanford heads to the Arizona schools for a road series in the desert, Apr. 13-15. The weekend will begin in Tucson on Friday night, with a 7 p.m. showdown with the defending National Champion Arizona Wildcats at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Cardinal then heads to Tempe for a pair of games with Arizona State, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

SEASON TO DATE: Stanford is 26-7 overall in 2007 and opened the conference season last weekend with a 2-1 record at the Oregon schools. On Feb. 9, the Cardinal opened the season at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz., and went 3-2, with a trio of solid wins and a pair of losses to No. 4/4 Northwestern and No. 17/18 Texas. Stanford closed out the weekend with a decisive win over Northwestern State, however, and came home to dominate six games on its home field. After topping Sacramento State in the home-opener, the Cardinal went a perfect 5-0 and shutout two opponents at the Stanford Invitational to claim the tournament championship. The Cardinal won another title at the FIU/Adidas Invitational the following weekend, with a perfect 5-0 record at the Golden Panthers' tournament in Miami, Fla. The squad shutout four opponents during the weekend, behind an impressive performance by Missy Penna. At the Worth Classic in Fullerton, Stanford went 2-3, with wins over Texas Tech and Minnesota. At the Stanford Classic, the team picked up wins over Loyola, Sacramento State, San Diego State and two over UC Santa Barbara and won another home tournament title. At its final home tournament, the team went 3-1 and dropped its first home contest of the season to Portland State. During the first weekend of conference play, Stanford topped No. 17/19 Oregon State, 2-1, before splitting with the No. 13/13 Oregon Ducks. The Cardinal has outscored opponents 168-71 this season and is batting .303 as a team.

LOTS OF LONG BALLS: The Cardinal belted a season-high five homeruns against Oregon on Sunday, including a pair of grand slams by Michelle Smith and Missy Penna. Smith knocked the first one over in the first inning, clearing the bases to give the squad a four-run lead. In the fifth inning, Penna blasted her grand slam before Rosey Neill hit her first of two long balls in the game. Erin Howe opened the sixth inning with the fourth Cardinal homerun of the day, and Neill added another one that inning to complete the afternoon. Stanford now has 24 homeruns this season, and is already within four blasts of matching last year's season total of 28. Smith is the team leader with six so far this year.

BEST SO FAR: At Oregon on Sunday, the Cardinal set a series of the season-best marks. The team put up 15 runs, the most since Apr. 20, 2005, when the team scored 16 on Sacramento State. The team also notched a season-best 16 hits and five homeruns and went without a strikeout for just the second time this season.

LEADING LADY: For two straight weeks now, junior Tricia Aggabao has led Stanford at the plate. She has notched nine hits in the last six games and has hit .563 during that time. This weekend, she led the team with a .571 average, boosted by a 3-for-3 performance against Oregon State on Friday. Last season, Aggabao turned her hitting consistency on at the right time as well, notching hits in eight of the last nine games of 2006. On the year, the Cardinal second baseman is batting .322 and is tied for third on the team with 28 hits.

GETTING ABOARD: A trio of Stanford freshmen have led the way in getting aboard this season, as Shannon Koplitz, Rosey Neill and Alissa Haber are three of the four most likely Cardinal players to reach base. Koplitz, who earned her starting spot in late February, is on a five-game hitting streak and is second on the team with a .360 average. Neill has started 32 games behind the plate for the Cardinal and is second on the team with 26 RBI. Haber is one of the top hitters on the team with a .352 average and stands second on the team with 38 hits and seven doubles.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: Sophomore Missy Penna has been a significant contributor to both the Cardinal offense and defense this season. In addition to being the team's top pitcher, Penna has been a strong hitter for the squad. During the first weekend of Pac-10 play, the Miami, Fla. native led Stanford with five RBI, blasted her second career grand slam, struck out 17 batters and collected two wins in the circle.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Cardinal is 14-1 at home this season and dropped its first contest of the year at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium on Mar. 25. Stanford has outscored opponents 78-21 at its home venue this year.

SCALING THE CHARTS: Seven Stanford players have etched their names on the Stanford career top-10 charts and are continuing to climb. Jackie Rinehart remains sixth all-time with 235 hits in a Stanford uniform and is alone in seventh in career runs scored (118). The senior is also sixth on the career stolen bases chart (25) and eighth on the career triples chart (4), three behind teammate Anna Beardman who stands sixth all-time (7). Junior Michelle Smith added another notch to her collegiate homerun tally (29) this weekend and now stands alone in fourth on the career chart. Smith also stands sixth with 121 RBI and tied for tenth with 24 doubles. As just a sophomore, Maddy Coon has already made the top-10 chart with 12 homeruns and 24 doubles. Junior Erin Howe stands sixth in career putouts, with 628 to date.

PITCHING LEADERS: Although Stanford has just two active pitchers, the staff is one of the most successful combinations in Stanford history. As just a sophomore, Missy Penna stands fourth in Stanford history with 363 career strikeouts, and seventh with 40 career wins. Penna is averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per game, with 184 K's this season. Junior Becky McCullough is sixth on the career strikeouts chart with 266 and eighth on the career wins chart with 39.

IN CONFERENCE: Maddy Coon is tied for third in the Pac-10 with 11 doubles this season and also boasts one of the top-10 slugging percentages and on-base percentages in the conference. Coon and teammates Rosey Neill and Shannon Koplitz are some of the most likely players to be hit by a pitch in the conference, and Neill stands eighth in walks after drawing 22 already this season. Missy Penna remains one of the top pitchers in the conference with the third best opposing batting average (.161) in the league, the third most wins (18) and the fourth most strikeouts (184). She also stands seventh in the conference with a 1.53 ERA.

NOTES FROM THE DUGOUT: Stanford's longest winning streak was 12 games between Feb. 11 and Mar. 2 ... The team scored a season-high 15 runs against Oregon on Sunday ... The squad's 16 hits against the Ducks were also a season-high, as were the five homeruns ... The team's six doubles against Minnesota (3/4) was a season-high ... Alissa Haber and Jackie Rinehart lead the team with 11 multiple-hit games apiece ... Rosey Neill and Michelle Smith lead the team with eight multiple RBI games ... Haber's 10-game hitting streak between Feb. 10 and Feb. 22 stands as the longest by a Cardinal player this season ... Shannon Koplitz is currently on a season-high five game hitting streak ... Stanford has posted 11 shutouts this season and been held scoreless three times ... Stanford has scored 10 or more runs four times this season and run-ruled seven opponents ... Rinehart's five hits against Syracuse (2/24) tied a Stanford single-game record for hits against a Division I opponent ... Missy Penna's 16 strikeouts against Northwestern (2/10) tied a single-game school record.

SCOUTING THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS: The Bears are coming off of a 48-14 season, during which they won the Iowa Regional in three games before falling to Oregon State in the Super Regional. Cal entered the season at No. 10 in both major softball polls, but has struggled early on and is currently the only Pac-10 team not appearing in the top-25. The Bears have a 23-19 overall record and are coming off of a tough 0-3 weekend at the Oregon schools. Freshman Christina Schallig is currently the top hitter for the squad, averaging .385 with 45 hits. Sophomore Gina Leomiti is close behind at .377 and senior Alex Sutton is the power hitter of the group with seven homeruns and 10 doubles. Pitcher Lauren Frankiewicz has been the best bet in the circle for the Bears, leading the team with a 3.21 ERA and 10 wins. Stanford is 17-26 all-time against Cal.

THE 2007 CARDINAL: Stanford returns ten letterwinners to the field in 2007, and adds four new faces. Seven starters return for the Cardinal, including three players who hit over .300 last season. Infielders Maddy Coon and Michelle Smith, outfielder Jackie Rinehart and pitchers Becky McCullough and Missy Penna make up a group of solid returning All-Conference performers. Coon led the team with nine homeruns last season, while hitting .353, and Rinehart started all 60 games and was one of the squad's top three offensive players. Smith set the single-season homerun mark in 2005, while McCullough and Penna combined for 32 wins and 252 strikeouts last season. This year, Stanford will be looking for its tenth consecutive 40-win season and its tenth-straight trip to the postseason.

2006 IN REVIEW: The Cardinal is coming off of a successful 2006 season, during which the squad posted a 42-18 record and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Stanford closed out the regular season with a home Pac-10 sweep, topping Washington and posting a pair of upsets over UCLA. The Cardinal went 4-1 in its first postseason weekend to claim the Region VI Championship and advance to the NCAA Super Regional. The Cardinal fell to Alabama, 4-1, in the first game, before dropping an 8-7 decision in extra innings to end the season.

TAKING ON THE BEST: Once again, Head Coach John Rittman has lined up one of the most challenging schedules in the nation for the Cardinal. Nine opponents appeared in the preseason top-25, and 15 participated in the NCAA Championship last season.

COON, RINEHART NAMED TO TOP-50 WATCH LIST: Sophomore Maddy Coon and senior Jackie Rinehart were among the players listed on the Top-50 Watch List for the 6th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Considered one of the most prestigious honors in women's collegiate softball, the award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The 2007 Preseason Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 33 schools and 11 different NCAA Division I Conferences.

NATIONAL POLLS: Stanford stayed at No. 14 in the USA Today/NFCA poll, and climbed back to No. 10 in the Softball poll. Tennessee continues to hold the top spot in both polls and Oklahoma and Alabama round out the top-three. Seven of the eight Pac-10 schools are ranked in both polls, with the two Arizona schools remaining in the top-10 in both. Stanford has been listed at No. 8 three times this season, the squad's highest ranking of the season.

PAC-10 POLL: Stanford has been selected by conference coaches to finish fifth in the Pac-10 this season. Arizona, the defending National Champion, earned five first-place votes to take the top spot, followed by UCLA, the defending Pac-10 Champion, with three first-place votes. Arizona State came in third in the poll, followed by Oregon State and the Cardinal. The Pac-10 set a record in 2006 with seven teams, including Stanford, winning NCAA Regionals. Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington all advanced to Super Regionals last season, with the Wildcats, Sun Devils, Beavers and Bruins moving on to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Pac-10 teams represented half of last year's WCWS field, the most of any conference in the nation.

HEAD COACH John Rittman: At the start of his 11th season at Stanford, Head Coach John Rittman carries a 430-199-1 (.683) career record and has brought Stanford softball from a non-scholarship club-level program to a fully-funded championship contender. He has coached the team to nine consecutive 40-win seasons and nine-straight postseason appearances. Under Rittman, Stanford has claimed a share of its first conference championship and made two appearances in the Women's College World Series.

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