Feb. 14, 2012
THIS WEEK: Stanford plays a mid-week game at UC Davis on Wednesday, Feb. 15 before returning to The Farm for its home opener on Friday, Feb. 17 against Pacific. The Cardinal is hosting the Stanford Nike Invitational, Feb. 17-19, at Smith Family Stadium. Along with the Tigers, Stanford will take on Nevada and Bradley.
THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will face Pacific at 2:30 p.m. and Bradley at 4:45 p.m. on Friday Feb. 17. The Cardinal will face Nevada at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. Once all the squads have played one another once, the team’s will be seeded and a semifinals, consolation and championship games will take place.
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 hit the road again next week, travelling to the Cathedral City Classic. The Cardinal will face Long Island, No. 4 Oklahoma, Long Beach State, New Mexico State and San Diego State. The tournament will be held in Cathedral City, Calif., Feb. 24-26.
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 (.410), hits (241), doubles (67), triples (11), RBI (144), slugging percentage (.653) and runs scored (148).
CAREER THEFTS: Senior Sarah Hassman has ammassed 79 career stolen bases. She is eight away from passing two-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza (86) for the top spot in program history. Last season, her 35 stolen bases set a new Stanford single season record.
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 52-20 overall with a 1.78 career ERA. With 450 strikeouts to her name she ranks fourth all-time in program history. She is sixth in shutouts with 14.
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 started all five games last weekend at left field and third base, respectively. Pitcher Nyree White also made five appearances last week, posting a 0.88 ERA with six strikeouts in 8.0 innings in the circle.
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. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA poll, but fell to No. 12 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 after opening the season with a 4-1 record at the Kajikawa Classic. Seven of the nine Pac-12 schools appeared in the top-20 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 645-295-3 (.686) 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: Stanford holds a winning record over three of its opponents this week. The Cardinal is 15-3 all-time versus UC Davis, 22-10 against Pacific and a perfect 4-0 versus Nevada. This weekend’s match-up with Bradley will be the first meeting between the two programs.
SCOUTING UC DAVIS: UC Davis opened the season with a 1-4 record at its Aggie Stampede Tournament. UC Davis had back-to-back losses to Loyola Marymount, then fell to Nevada and Boise State before defeating Nevada in its final game of the weekend, 2-0. Leading the Aggies offensively is senior Heather Zimmerman, who is hitting .400. Junior Megan Guzman led all players with four hits, including a double, and an RBI. In the circle, rookie Justine Vela posted a 2.72 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 18.0 innings pitched. UC Davis was outscored by its opponents 17-7 in the five games.
SCOUTING PACIFIC: The Tigers have started the year with an 0-2 record, falling to No. 13 Kentucky (3-2) and No. 13 UCLA (10-2) in Los Angeles. Junior Nikki Armagost and sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez each hit .400 to lead the team. Rodriguez hit the squad’s lone home run versus the Bruins. Armagost also led the team in the circle, posting a 1.00 ERA with two strikeouts in 7.0 inning pitched. She gave up just three hits and one earned run.
SCOUTING BRADLEY: Bradley started the 2012 campagin with a 2-3 record at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Braves posted wins over UC Santa Barbara and Western Michigan. Senior Julie Sherman led the team with a .375 average, while senior Jackie Roth tallied four hits, including a double and a home run, and a team-best three RBI. In the circle, sophomore MadelineLynch-Crumrine ate up the majority of the team’s innings (21.0) and registered a 2.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts.
SCOUTING NEVADA: The Wolfpack has started the year with a 1-4 record at the Aggie Stampede Tournament in Davis, Calif. Its lone win came over UC Davis (6-3). Sophomore Sam Puzey led the team with a .357 average, recording five hits and two RBI. As a team, Nevada was held to a .177 batting average. In the circle, senior Mallary Darby tallied a 1.42 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 19.2 inning pitched to lead the team.