No. 8/8 Stanford Heads To San Diego For Campbell/Cartier Classic

Feb. 10, 2009

UP NEXT: The 2009 season continues this week in San Diego, where Stanford is scheduled to compete in San Diego State's Campbell/Cartier Classic. Over the course of the weekend, the Cardinal will meet the host Aztecs, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and Utah State.

THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE: Games this weekend will be played at SDSU Softball Stadium on the campus of San Diego State. On Thursday, Stanford plays UC Santa Barbara at 4:30 p.m. On Friday, the team will play its only doubleheader of the weekend, taking on back-to-back ranked teams in No. 24/-- Long Beach State and --/No. 24 San Diego State beginning at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, the team has an 11:30 a.m. date with Utah State, then wraps up the weekend with a Sunday morning rematch with UCSB (9 a.m.).

PLAYER OF THE WEEK SWEEP: Senior pitcher Missy Penna and junior catcher Rosey Neill combined to sweep the first set of Pac-10 Player and Pitcher of the Week awards, after leading Stanford to three run-rule wins and a 4-1 record last weekend. Penna threw four complete games, struck out 39 batters over 23 innings and threw her fifth career no-hitter against Kansas. Neill belted three home runs and hit .500 (6-for-12) for the weekend, with seven RBI and a 1.250 slugging percentage. Penna's award was the fifth of her career, while Neill's was her third.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON...: Stanford's Missy Penna and Alissa Haber were among the 50 players named to the initial USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year watch list last week. The 50 picks represent 32 different schools and 13 different conferences. Haber and Penna were two of the 13 selections from the Pac-10. Both were also named to ESPN's Preseason All-America Second Team.

PRESEASON PICKS: Stanford was selected to finish fifth in the Pac-10 this season in the annual poll of the league's coaches. UCLA, the 2008 Pac-10 runner-up, edged defending national champion Arizona State for the top spot, while Washington and Arizona finished just ahead of the Cardinal.

IN THE POLLS: Stanford moved up in both major softball polls this week, after going 4-1 with three run-rule wins during the opening weekend. The Cardinal, which has appeared in every regular-season poll for more than a decade, was listed at No. 8 in both the NFCA/USA Today and Softball polls. Six of the eight Pac-10 schools appeared in both polls, and all six made USA Softball's top 10.

NO-HITTER CHATTER: Missy Penna's no-hitter against Kansas last Saturday was the fifth of her career, tying Dana Sorensen's school record. Penna has now thrown five of the school's 17 all-time no-hitters. Sophomore Ashley Chinn threw two no-hitters, including the school's seventh perfect game, as a rookie last year.

GOOD START: Statistically, Stanford had the best start in the Pac-10. The Cardinal posted the best batting average in the conference (.367), slugged a conference-best .667, reached base at a Pac-10-high .480 rate and recorded a conference-leading 13 doubles. Defensively, Stanford allowed the least runs (4) and struck out the most opponent batters (46).

TOP OF THE HEAP: Stanford pitcher Missy Penna remains in a club all her own, as she is the only active pitcher in the nation with more than 900 career strikeouts. In addition to being the nation's active K leader, Penna entered the year as the country's third-winningest pitcher.

ON THE WAY TO NO. 1: Senior pitcher Missy Penna resumes her climb up the Stanford charts this week, looking to systematically take down the records of three-time All-American Dana Sorensen. Penna is 18 wins, 212 strikeouts, one shutout and 131.2 innings short of the Stanford career records in each category, and will likely break all four records later this year.

FLOOD OF FREE PASSES: Senior infielder Maddy Coon will likely set the school walk record this weekend, as she is just three short of matching Sarah Beeson's all-time best mark of 115. Coon already holds the school's single-season (47) and single-game (4) walk records and could complete a sweep of the category this weekend. Coon walked a team-high seven times over the opening weekend, including three times in the season opener.

COON ON THE CLIMB: Coon has also established herself on a number of the school's other top-10 lists. Currently, Coon ranks eighth in career doubles (39), home runs (23), runs (117) and RBI (111). Also with 146 hits to her name, Coon is just the second player in school history to register triple digits in four different offensive categories (Sarah Beeson `02 is the other).

HOMER QUEEN: Fresh off matching a school record and ranking 10th nationally with 19 home runs in 2008, junior catcher Rosey Neill was back slugging away to start the new year. Neill belted three homers last Saturday, including a pair in back-to-back at-bats against Texas Tech. Just past the midpoint of her career, Neill now has 29 home runs, fifth best in school history. Only four of Stanford's greatest sluggers - Jessica Mendoza `02, Jessica Allister `04, Catalina Morris `06 and Michelle Smith `08 - have hit 30 or more career homers.

BY COMPARISON: Midway through their careers, juniors Rosey Neill and Alissa Haber have their eyes on some of the school records set by the best player in Stanford history, two-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza. Neill entered her junior year with 26 home runs (and now has 29). Mendoza hit 22 of her 50 bombs prior to her junior season. After one weekend of play, Haber now has 35 doubles to her name. Mendoza had 33 of her school-record 70 doubles after two seasons.

HARD TO HANDLE: All-American outfielder Alissa Haber enters her junior season with a .370 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 two years, Haber has twice earned All-America accolades. She is just the third player in school history to enter her junior year as a two-time All-American, matching the accomplishments of eventual four-time All-American Mendoza and eventual three-time All-American Dana Sorensen.

QUICK WINS: Stanford won three games by run-rule last week, putting itself in position to chase the school record it set last season. The Cardinal run-ruled 14 opponents last season, with its largest margin of victory coming against Pacific on Feb. 16 (14 runs).

SOLID VETERANS: With just five upperclassmen, the Cardinal is, for the most part, a very young team. Yet, the squad is armed with some of the Pac-10's most talented veterans at key positions. All five upperclassmen - Missy Penna, Maddy Coon, Shannon Koplitz, Alissa Haber and Rosey Neill - have been starters since the day they arrived on The Farm. The group has also been well decorated, accumulating 10 All-Pac-10 awards, six all-region honors and three All-America nods. Before the 2009 season even began, the fivesome has already combined to score 329 Cardinal runs, notch 531 hits and belt 73 home runs.

ROOKIES ON THE FAST TRACK: Five Stanford rookies put solid starts to their careers last weekend, combining for 15 hits and a .333 batting average. Ashley Hansen, the only high school player invited to USA Softball's Olympic Selection Camp, lived up to expectation, hitting a home run on her first collegiate at-bat. Hansen started all five games at shortstop and hit .412 (7-for-17) with two doubles, eight RBI and a home run. Sarah Hassman recorded four hits, made five starts and hit .364, while Maya Burns cracked a key RBI double against Texas Tech. Christina Goswiller and Jenna Becerra each doubled against Wagner for their first collegiate hits.

2008 IN REVIEW: Stanford is coming off a strong 2008 season, in which it went 49-15 and finished fourth in the competitive Pac-10 Conference. The program posted its 10th 40-win season, recorded the second-most wins in school history, made its 11th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and made a postseason run to its third NCAA Super Regional in four years. At the end of the year, eight players were honored with All-Pac-10 awards, four received all-region recognition and two - pitcher Missy Penna and outfielder Alissa Haber - were named All-Americans.

TEAM USA TIES: Head Coach John Rittman spent last summer on the coaching staff for Team USA at the Beijing Olympic Games, marking his second appearance on the Olympic coaching staff. Two former Cardinal standouts, Jessica Mendoza `02 and Lauren Lappin `06, were on the squad that outscored opponents 58-5 over nine games and captured the silver medal. Current players Rosey Neill, Alissa Haber and Ashley Hansen are all veterans of the USA Junior National Team.

HEAD COACH John Rittman: In his 13th season at the helm of the Cardinal, head coach John Rittman is one of the winningest coaches in collegiate softball, boasting a 518-248-3 (.676) career record. Since stepping onto the Farm in July 1996, he has coached the team to 12 consecutive winning seasons, 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 10 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.

ABOUT CAMPBELL/CARTIER: Stanford will be appearing in the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego for the seventh time in school history. Stanford is 27-6 at the tournament and last appeared in 2002.

SERIES RECORDS: Stanford is familiar with all four of its opponents this weekend, have gone a combined 33-9-1 against them all-time. The Cardinal is 10-2 against UC Santa Barbara, and defeated the Gauchos 2-0 in the most recent meeting on March 11, 2007. Stanford is 9-4-1 against Long Beach State and picked up 1-0 decisions in back-to-back games against the 49ers last February. The Cardinal is 8-3 against San Diego State and won the most recent meeting, 4-3, on March 10, 2007. Stanford has beat Utah State all six times the teams have played, and run-ruled the Aggies in the season opener in 2006 (11-0).

SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos finished second in the Big West last season with a 30-24 overall mark, just missing a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Twelve letterwinners return, including four 2008 All-Big-West picks. Senior outfielder Tiffany Wright, the 2008 Big West Player of the Year and an All-West Region pick, is the team's top returner. Senior Christine Ramos, a 2008 All-Big West First Team selection, has started 2009 with a .600 batting average (9-for-15). In the circle, three solid pitchers return, but freshman Krista Cobb saw most of the action over the opening weekend. The rookie picked up two wins and struck out 11 batters without allowing a run.

SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE: The 49ers are the defending Big West Champions and are coming off an impressive 40-17 season. Long Beach State earned a seed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, but was sent on the road and upset in the Iowa City Regional. All-American pitcher Brooke Turner highlights the 49er lineup, as the 2008 Big West Pitcher of the Year posted a 0.80 ERA and a 27-6 record as a rookie last season. Senior Danielle Linke also earned first-team All-Big West honors last year and was the team's top hitter over the opening weekend (.533, 8-for-15).

SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs return eight starters from a team that went 44-17, won the Mountain West and advanced to the Fresno Regional. Highlighting those returners is All-Mountain West catcher Erin Floros, who hit .291 with a team-high 38 RBI last year. In the circle, the Aztecs lost ace Christina Ross, but so far have relied on sophomore Samantha Beasley (4.85 ERA, 11 K's) and freshman Bailey Micetich (3.27 ERA, 7 K's) to fill the hole.

SCOUTING UTAH STATE: The Aggies went 14-34 last year and finished seventh in the WAC. Thirteen letterwinners return, but the squad lost both of its all-conference picks. The top returner is sophomore Kelley Kaneshiro, who hit .359 with 10 home runs as a rookie last year. In the circle, the Aggies' ace is senior Lindsey Benson, who earned 13 of the team's 14 wins and posted a 4.46 ERA last season.

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