Feb. 21, 2012
THIS WEEK: Stanford heads south to Cathedral City, Calif., for the Cathedral City Classic, Feb. 24-26, hosted by Oregon State University. The Cardinal will play five games over the three-day span.
THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will open the weekend with a double-header on Friday, Feb. 25 against Long Island University and No.6 Oklahoma starting at 3:30 p.m. PT. The Cardinal will face Long Beach State at 7:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Feb. 25. Stanford wraps-up the weekend against New Mexico State and San Diego State on Sunday, Feb. 26 beginning at 11 a.m. PT.
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 remain on the road, heading to the DeMarini Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., Mar. 2-4. The Cardinal will face Northwestern, Indiana, Florida International, Michican State and East Carolina next weekend.
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 (.409), hits (247), doubles (68), triples (11), RBI (146), slugging percentage (.647) and runs scored (151).
CAREER THEFTS: Senior Sarah Hassman has ammassed 82 career stolen bases. She is five 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 56-20 overall with a 1.72 career ERA. With 475 strikeouts to her name she ranks fourth all-time in program history. She is tied for fifth in shutouts with 15.
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 11 games this season at left field and third base, respectively. Pitcher Nyree White has made eight appearances in the circle, posting a 3.36 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 16.2 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, dropped to No. 14 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and fell to No. 15 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 after going 4-2 last week. 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 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: The Cardinal holds a winning record over four of the opponents it will face this weekend. Stanford is 1-0 against Long Island, 11-4 (1) versus Long Beach State, 10-4 against San Diego State, and 2-1 versus Oklahoma. The Cardinal is 1-1 versus New Mexico State.
SCOUTING LONG ISLAND: Long Island has started the season 1-9 overall, picking up a win in its most recent outing against Florida Atlantic (7-2). The Blackbirds have been outscored this season 54-16, having dropped three games to the run-rule. LIU is led by junior Karina Cervantes and redshirt freshman Nichole Toven. Both players lead the squad with six hits apiece. Toven has tallied two doubles and a team-high three RBI. In the circle, senior Sarah Reynolds holds a 2.89 ERA with a 1-5 record. She has tallied 41 strikeouts in 43.2 innings pitched.
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA: The Sooners, ranked sixth nationally, have opened the season with a 6-1 record. Their lone loss came at the hands of 23rd-ranked Georgia Tech by a 1-0 mark. Oklahoma has allowed just four runs on 17 hits in its first seven games. Offensively, rookie Lauren Chamberlain leads the squad with four home runs and 11 RBI, recording a 1.111 slugging percentage. Senior catcher Jessica Shults leads all players with 13 hits, including three doubles, and a .565 batting average. In the circle, junior left-handed pitcher Keilani Ricketts is 3-1 overall with a 0.67 ERA. She has racked up 49 strikeouts in 27.0 innings pitched.
SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE: Long Beach State is 5-5 overall after two weekends of play. The 49ers are led by their underclassmen, sophomore Hannah De Gaetano and freshman Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi, who have each registered 12 hits and have combined to produce five doubles, a triple, three home runs and eight RBI. Freshman Shayna Kimbrough and junior Nalani St. Germain pace the squad with five RBI apiece. In the circle, sophomore Erin Jones-Wesley holds a 1.11 ERA and a 5-1 record. She averages one strikeout per inning in 38.0 innings pitched.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO STATE: The Aggies boast a 9-2 record heading into the weekend, having played all of their games in Las Cruces. Senior Tiare Jennings leads NMSU with 18 hits, including 11 extra-base hits, and a whopping 25 RBI. Junior Amber Olive leads the team with 19 hits and a .543 average to go with three RBI. In the circle, the Aggies have split time between junior Alex Newman and sophomore Celisha Walker. Newman is 6-1 with 26 strikeouts, while Walker holds a 1.91 ERA with 13 Ks.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE: San Diego State enters the weekend with a 7-4 overall record, including a win over then-No. 23 Georgia Tech at the Kajikawa Classic. The Aztecs are receiving votes in both major polls this week. As a team, SDSU is hitting .297 on the year and led by a trio of sophomores. Lorena Klopp and Hayley Miles have combined for nine home runs, seven doubles and 22 RBI. Patrice Jackson has pitched in with three homers and nine RBI. The Aztecs ace in the circle is senior Bailey Micetich. She is 4-1 overall with a 2.48 ERA and has amassed 42 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched.