March 6, 2012
THIS WEEK:Stanford will play a mid-week game at Saint Mary’s on March 7 before returning to The Farm for a 10-game homestand, starting with the Louisville Slugger Classic, March 9-11 at Smith Family Stadium.
THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will play three double-headers over the weekend. Friday, the Cardinal will open with Ole Miss at 1:30 p.m. followed by James Madison at 6 p.m. PT. Stanford will face Colorado State at 11:15 a.m. and Ole Miss at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Cardinal wraps-up the weekend against Cal Poly at 1:30 p.m. and San Jose State at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can follow this week’s games on Gametracker available on www.GoStanford.com. Live updates will also be available on Twitter @StanfordSball.
UP NEXT: Stanford will take an 11-day break for finals before returning to the field to open the Pac-12 Conference season at home against Bay Area rival Califonia, March 23-25. The Cardinal and Golden Bears’ game on Mar. 23 will be televised by FSN on a tape-delayed basis. Check local listings for game times in your area.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH: Senior Ashley Hansen, a two-time All-American and the reigning collegiate player of the year, is one of 50 players selected to USA Softball’s preseason player of the year watch list. She has already solidified her place in Cardinal history, ranking in the top-10 in program history in career average (.408), hits (261), doubles (72), triples (12), RBI (154), slugging percentage (.643) and runs scored (158).
GERHART IN THE CIRCLE: Junior Teagan Gerhart has reached the 20-win plateau in each of her first two seasons on The Farm. She is 66-20 overall with a 1.59 career ERA. With 531 strikeouts to her name, she ranks fourth all-time in program history. She is fifth in shutouts with 18.
ROOKIE DEBUTS: All eight freshmen on the Cardinal roster made their debuts in the season opener against Cal State Northridge. Rookies Leah White and Hanna Winter have started all 21 games this season and are leading the team offensively. Pitcher Nyree White has made 13 appearances in the circle, posting a 3.04 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 23.0 innings pitched.
ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNERS: Stanford had six players selected to the all-conference teams in 2011. Five of those players return to the roster this season, including senior Ashley Hansen and Sarah Hassman, juniors Teagan Gerhart and Jenna Rich and sophomore Corey Hanewich.
IN THE POLLS: Stanford remains ranked this week in both major polls. The Cardinal, which has appeared in every regular-season poll for more than a decade, moved up to No. 10 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and remained at No. 10 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 after going undefeated last week at theDeMarini Invitational. Seven of the nine Pac-12 schools appeared in the top-25 of both polls.
SOLID VETERANS: With seven upperclassmen on a roster of 21, the Cardinal is still a fairly young squad. However, the team’s veteran’s look to continue their production and success at several key positions. The seniors, Jenna Becerra, Maya Burns, Ashley Hansen and Sarah Hassman, have been to two super regionals and were a part of the 2009 squad which posted the best winning percentage in school history (.814). Combined with the juniors, Kelsey Gerhart, Teagan Gerhart and Jenna Rich, the upperclassmen have combined to produce 477 runs, 692 hits and 381 RBI and 424 strikeouts entering the 2012 season. Led by Hansen, the group contains a conference and national player of the year, two All-America honors, six all-conference accolades and seven all-region selections.
PRESEASON PICKS: Stanford was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 this season in the annual poll of the league’s coaches. 2011 National Champion Arizona State garnered six first-place votes to sit at the top of the poll. California earned two first-place votes and came in second, while Arizona snagged the final first-place vote for third. UCLA was picked just ahead of the Cardinal at fourth. Washington, Oregon, Oregon State and conference newcomer Utah rounded out the poll.
2011 IN REVIEW: Stanford is coming off a 42-17 season in which it finished fifth in the Pac-10 Conference and was one win shy of advancing to the Women’s College World Series. Stanford, which made its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament and fifth super regional appearance in the last seven years, finished with a No. 10 national ranking. Infielder Ashley Hansen became the program’s first national player of the year after being named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and a First Team All-American by the NFCA. Teagan Gerhart, Sarah Hassman and Jenna Rich joined Hansen on the All-West Region and All-Pac-10 Conference teams.
TEAM USA TIES: Head coach John Rittman was a member of the United States National Team coaching staff from 2001-08. In 2010, four players with ties to the Cardinal program helped the U.S. capture the World Championship in Venezuela. Competing for the red, white and blue were Stanford alums Alissa Haber, Lauren Lappin and Jessica Mendoza, and current Cardinal infielder Ashley Hansen. The alums were also a part of the United State’s World Cup title in Oklahoma City.
HEAD COACH John Rittman: In his 16th season at the helm of the Cardinal program, head coach John Rittman is one of the winningest coaches in collegiate softball, boasting a 655-295-3 (.689) career record. Since stepping onto the Farm in July 1996, he has coached the team to 15 consecutive winning seasons, 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 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 (2001 & 2004).
SERIES RECORDS: The Cardinal boasts a winning record versus four of its opponents this weekend. Stanford is 1-0 (1.000) versus Colorado State, 28-6 (.824) against Saint Mary’s, 10-3 (.769) versus Cal Poly and 21-10 (.667) against San Jose State. This weekend’s games with Ole Miss and James Madison will be the first meetings between the programs.
SCOUTING SAINT MARY’S: The Gaels enter the week with a 5-9 overall record and are led by their seniors. Outfielder Michelle Mounts leads the team with 20 hits, including eight doubles, and a .488 batting average. Infielder Nicole Arce is hitting .414 with 12 hits and nine RBI, while infielder Rebecca Sabatini leads the team with 12 RBI. In the circle, Saint Mary’s has utilized five different pitchers. Senior Britany Linton and junior Jessica Lemmon have split the majority of the time, throwing 40.0 and 37.1 innings, respectively. The pair has combined for 48 strikeouts on the year.
SCOUTING OLE MISS: Ole Miss entered the week with an 8-6 overall record. The Rebels are embarking on a 12-game road trip starting at Central Arkansas on Tuesday. Ole Miss is hitting .333 as a team and has outscored its opponents 87-61 on the year. Senior Kendall Bruning leads the team witha .400 average, 12 hits (two doubles and two home runs), and 12 RBI. She is also the Rebels’ ace in the circle, boasting a 2.29 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 49.0 innings pitched. Sophomores RT Cantillo and Londen Ladner have combined to produce 24 hits, three doubles, three homers, and 23 RBI.
SCOUTING JAMES MADISON: James Madison (6-7) enters the weekend on a three-game winnings streak. The Dukes are hitting .283 as a squad and have a 3.38 team ERA. Leading JMU is senior Ashley Burnham, who is hitting .400 on the year. She has 16 hits, including three doubles and five home runs, and a team-best 13 RBI. The Dukes depend on a trio of freshmen pitchers in the circle. Sarah Mooney is 2-4 overall with a 2.81 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. Heather Kiefer holds a 2.62 ERA with 18 Ks in 21.1 innings, while Reba DePriest has fanned 14 batters in 28.2 innings and holds a 2-2 record.
SCOUTING COLORADO STATE: The Rams come to The Farm with a 7-13 overall record this season. Colorado State is hitting .282 as a team, while allowing its opponents to post a .328 clip. The Rams are led offensively by their underclassmen. Sophomore Ashlie Ortega paces the squad with a .375 average and 27 hits, including seven doubles, a triple and a home run. Sophomore Chelsea Biglow leads the Rams with four home runs and 20 RBI, while rookie Shae Rodriguez has added 19 RBI on 18 hits and sophomore Alysa Greckel has seven doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI.
SCOUTING CAL POLY: Cal Poly is 6-9 overall and has faced four ranked opponents, including a win over then-No. 22 Nebraska. Sophomore Kim Westlund leads the Mustangs offensively, hitting .333 with a team-best 14 hits and 11 RBI. Senior Nora Sobczak and sophomore Ashley Romano have combined for 26 hits and seven RBI. Sophomore Madi Vogelsang has added nine hits, including a double and three home runs. In the circle, junior Rebecca Patton leads the team with a 3.83 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 53.0 innings pitched. Rookie Chloe Wurst has racked up 22 Ks in 28.1 innings of work.
SCOUTING SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans have started the 2012 campaign with a 10-11 overall record and have faced five ranked opponents. Rookie Michelle Cox leads the team with 26 hits for a .406 average and 11-for-12 in stolen bases. Junior Markesha Collins is hitting .356 with 16 hits, including two doubles and two home runs for 12 RBI, while sophomore Jessica Garcia paces the Spartans with 16 RBI. In the circle, junior Amanda Pridmore holds a 6-4 record with a 3.17 ERA. She has tallied 60 strikeouts in 59.2 innings pitched.