No. 9 Cardinal Hosts Stanford Invitational This Weekend

March 25, 2010

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Tournament Central

THIS WEEK: The ninth-ranked Cardinal (20-3) will host the Stanford Invitational, Fri.-Sun., Mar. 26-28 at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium. Stanford will welcome five teams to The Farm for three full days of softball.

THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will play five games over the three day period, including two contests with Cal State Bakersfield. The Cardinal opens the weekend with a double-header on Friday, facing CSUB at 2:30 p.m. and BYU at 4:45 p.m. Stanford will also play a double-header on Saturday, hosting UC Santa Barbara at 1:30 p.m. and CSUB at 6 p.m. The Cardinal will wrap up the tournament on Sunday at 1:30 versus Pacific.

UP NEXT: Stanford will open Pac-10 play at home versus Bay Area rival California, Thurs.-Sat., Apr. 1-3 at Smith Family Stadium. With a change to the Pac-10 scheduling this year, the Cardinal will play all three games against the Bears at home this season.

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, Haber and senior Missy Penna were both among the 50 preseason picks as well. Penna joined Hansen on the top 25 list last year, and Penna went on to be one of the 10 finalists.

IN THE POLLS: Stanford moved up in both the USA Today/NFCA poll and the Softball top-25, coming in at No. 9 and tied for ninth, 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.

QUICK WINS: Stanford opened the 2010 season with two run-rule five-inning wins at the Paradise Softball Classic in Honolulu. The Cardinal continued to pour in the runs at the Stanford Nike Invitational, run-ruling three of the four teams it faced. Overall, the team has earned nine of its 21 wins by the run-rule.

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 .467 with 35 hits on 75 at-bats. She has tallied 27 runs, seven doubles, a triple, four home runs and 20 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 1,534 putouts. Offensively, she has been looked upon to provide power in the middle of the lineup. On the season, she is hitting .338, with 22 hits, including six doubles and two home runs, 15 RBI and a .523 slugging percentage. She also leads the team with 13 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 17 runs, while hitting .414 with 24 hits, including a Pac-10 leading eight doubles, a home run, and 13 RBI.

IN THE CIRCLE: Freshman Teagan Gerhart has earned the majority of the time in the circle for the Cardinal to start the season. The rookie is 14-2 with a 1.36 ERA on the year. She pitched her first complete-game shut out versus McNeese State in a 9-0 run-rule victory, and now has five on the season. Gerhart has also amassed 113 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 this season. The freshman was first named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week on Monday, 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 last week. 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, while adding 39 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .194 off of Chinn this season, a mark that is eighth in the conference.

ROOKIE DEBUT: Freshman Jenna Rich has gotten off to a stellar start in her first season on The Farm. Rich is second on the team, hitting .385, tallying 30 hits, including a team-best nine home runs, and four doubles, two triples, 24 RBI and 65 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. Last weekend, Rich earned her first 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 nine so far this season. Her 28 career theftsis sixth all-time in program history. 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, Melisa Koutz, and Brittany Minder, 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 535-253-3 (.678) 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.

SERIES RECORDS: Stanford is 35-13 all-time versus this weekend’s opponents. The Cardinal is 19-10 (.655) overall against Pacific and 11-2 (.846) versus UC Santa Barbara. Stanford also holds winning records over BYU (5-1). The Cardinal’s games with Cal State Bakersfield will be the first-ever meetings between the two programs.

SCOUTING CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD: CS Bakersfield is 10-15 overall to start the 2010 season. Junior infielder Ryane Peterson leads the Roadrunners with a .392 batting average. She also leads the team with 31 hits, eight doubles, five home runs, 25 RBI and a .684 slugging percentage. Senior Kelli Bailey has pitched in with 30 hits, seven doubles, 11 RBI, while hitting .385 with a .513 slugging percentage. In the circle, sophomore Sammy Rodriguez leads the squad with a 2.66 ERA, 13 complete games and 63 strikeouts.

SCOUTING BYU: BYU enters the weekend with a 16-7 overall record, including a 14-5 mark playing on a neutral site. Senior Angeline Quiocho paces the Cougars, hitting .478 with 33 hits, 10 doubles, six home runs and 23 RBI. She also leads the team with a .884 slugging percentage and a .525 on-base percentage. Freshman J.C. Clayton has also been productive in her rookie season, hitting .406 with 26 hits and seven RBI. Junior Paige Affleck leads the team with an 11-5 record in the circle, holding a 2.56 ERA and tallying 88 strikeouts in 87.2 innings pitched.

SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA: UC Santa Barbara is 8-17 overall, but split a double-header at San Diego earlier this week. The Gauchos are led offensively by a pair of .300 hitters. Senior Jessica Ziegler holds a .350 average with a team-best 28 hits on 80 at-bats, while sophomore Brooke Putich is hitting .327 with 16 hits, two doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI. Additionally, freshman Kelly McDonald leads the team with two home runs and 12 RBI. UCSB has rotated three different pitchers in the circle this season. Senior Lindsey Correa leads the team with a 4.36 ERA, while senior MeLinda Matsumoto has registered a team-best 30 strikeouts. Sophomore Krista Cobb has pitched in with 27 strikeouts in 41.0 innings pitched.

SCOUTING PACIFIC: The Tigers are 10-14 overall this season for head coach Brian Kolze. Junior Lindsey Pierce leads the team with a .424 average, totaling 28 hits, 14 runs, a double and two triples for a .500 slugging percentage. She has gotten help from senior Kellee Wilson and freshman Nikki Armagost. Wilson has 18 hits, including four doubles, two home runs and a team-leading 15 RBI, while Armagost has tallied 21 hits, six doubles, a home run and 14 RBI. Armagost has also seen time in the circle for Pacific, striking out 35 batters in 44.0 innings for a 4-3 record and a team-best 2.70 ERA.

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