Stanford Softball Opens 1998 Season
Hosts St. Mary's Feb. 3
Jan. 29, 1998
Saint Mary's at Stanford
This Week: The Stanford Cardinal will open the 1998 season on Tuesday, February 3 when the Saint Mary's Gaels come to town ... The first game of the doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m. at the Stanford Softball Complex.
The Series: Last season, the Cardinal swept the four game series ... The Cardinal defeated Saint Mary's, 8-0, 7-1 on Feb. 12 in Moraga ... On April 26, Stanford beat Saint Mary's, 10-0, 10-0 at the Stanford Softball Complex ... Stanford pitcher Becky Blevins tossed the first no-hitter of her career in the first game against the Gaels ... She walked three and struck out four in the 8-0 win at Saint Mary's.
1997 Review: Stanford recorded its first 30-win season while posting nine wins over ranked opponents along the way ... The team finished the season with a 31-27-1 record including a 7-3 mark over the last 10 games ... The Cardinal defeated No. 6 Washington and No. 23 California during the 10-game period ... Stanford's 10-18 record and fifth place finish in the conference warranted postseason consideration, but the Cardinal fell just short of earning its first NCAA berth.
Cardinal Notes: Stanford returns 11 letterwinners, including eight starters from the 1997 squad ... The Cardinal also adds four new faces to the roster ... The Cardinal will once again face a competitive schedule as eight opponents ranked in the final 1997 NFCA Coaches poll including seven that appeared in postseason play ... The Pac-10, fielding eight teams in 1998, is considered one of the toughest conferences in the nation ... Last season, five of eight conference teams appeared in postseason play while three teams participated in the College World Series ... Stanford posted its first-ever wins over conference and national powerhouses UCLA and Washington last year.
The Rankings: Stanford received three votes in the preseason USA Today/NFCA Preseason Coaches Poll.
In the Circle: Pitching will be a strength for the Cardinal as all three pitchers from the 1997 rotation return ... Junior Becky Blevins led the Cardinal last season with a 2.06 ERA ... In 33 appearances, she struck out 143 batters while posting a 15-16 mark ... She threw the first no-hitter of her career against Saint Mary's on Feb. 15 ... Junior Marcy Crouch turned in a solid sophomore season, recording a 16-11 record with a 2.48 ERA ... Crouch is also a threat at the plate ... Last season she earned second team All-Pac-10 honors while hitting .301, the team's second best ... She was second on the team in total hits (53) and RBI (28) ... She hit three home runs, including the first Grand Slam of her career against Cal State Fullerton ... Senior Jessica Schulman will see time after recovering from a back injury.
Leading the Cardinal: Junior shortstop Michelle Schneider leads Stanford on the field and at the plate ... She earned second team All-Pacific Region recognition after leading the team in batting average (.302), runs scored (32), hits (54) and triples (2) ... Schneider tallied 23 RBI, six doubles, five steals and one home ... She also earned All-Pac-10 second team recognition ... Utility player Michele Acosta will is a solid offensive threat ... She earned second team All-Pacific Region recognition after leading the team with 32 RBI in 1997 ... She hit .256 while scoring 23 runs and recording 45 hits.
Head Coach John Rittman: Rittman is entering his second season at the helm of the Stanford softball program ... He was named head coach on July 12, 1996 ... In his first season on The Farm, Rittman led Stanford to its first 30-win season ever as the Cardinal posted a 30-27-1 record ... Stanford's 10-18 mark in the Pac-10 gave the Cardinal a fifth-place finish, its best conference placing ever ...Rittman spent four seasons as Washington's assistant coach prior to joining the Stanford coaching staff ... In just four seasons, the Huskies earned a number one ranking, the 1996 Pac-10 championship, three NCAA Tournament appearances and a second place finish at the College World Series ... Rittman also spent two seasons at Minnesota and three at Oregon.