Feb. 27, 2013
THIS WEEK:The No. 15/16 Stanford softball team (14-3) travels to Fullerton, Calif., for the Easton Invitational, March 1-3. The Cardinal will play five games over the three-day span, including four against Big Ten foes.
THE SCHEDULE: Stanford opens the tournament on Friday, March 1 with a double-header against Iowa and Wisconsin starting at 11:15 a.m. PT. The Cardinal will then face host Cal State Fullerton and Northwestern on Saturday, March 2, while closing out the tournament on Sunday, March 3 against Indiana.
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.
SERIES RECORDS: Stanford is 29-10 against this week’s opponents (1-0 vs. Iowa, 4-0 vs. Wisconsin, 15-4 vs. Cal State Fullerton, 5-6 vs. Northwestern and 4-0 vs. Indiana). The Cardinal faced Indiana earlier this season, capturing an 8-2 victory at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
SCOUTING IOWA: Iowa has opened the season with a 10-5 overall and is hitting .256 as a team. In the circle for the Hawkeyes, senior pitcher Chelsea Lyon leads the team with a 5-1 record and a 2.08 ERA. Junior Kayla Massey has thrown 48.2 innings and racked up 27 strikeouts, while also leading the squad with a .405 batting average. Sophomore Megan Blank is hitting .364 and leads the team with 14 RBI and a .591 slugging percentage. Senior Johnnie Dowling paces the team in hits (18) and runs scored (11).
SCOUTING WISCONSIN: The Badgers are 10-1 with their lone loss of the year coming on opening day to Presbyterian (5-3). Wisconsin is hitting .352 as a team and has outscored its opponents 68-22. Junior Mary Massei leads the team with a .525 average, 21 hits, including four home runs and 17 RBI. Three other Wisconsin players are hitting .400 or better. In the circle, junior Cassandra Darrah is 6-0 with 38 strikeouts in 41.0 innings pitched with a 1.02 ERA. Freshman Taylor-Paige Stewart is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA.
SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON:
The Titans have opened the season with a 6-8 overall record, but have upset two top-10 opponents in recent outings (No. 7 Missouri on Feb. 23 and No. 10 UCLA on Feb. 26). Junior Ariel Tsuchiyama and sophomore Desiree Ybarra are leading the team offensively. Tsuchiyama has a .412 average, while Ybarra is hitting .345. The pair has combined for 24 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and 20 RBI. Rookie pitcher Jasmine Antunez is 4-4 in the circle with 57 strikeouts and a 2.82 ERA.
SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN: Northwestern dropped six of its first seven games of the season, but has since strung together seven straight wins, including a 3-2 decision over then-No. 4 Tennessee last weekend. Sophomore Andrea DiPrima leads the Wildcats with a .447 average. Junior Marisa Bast and sophomore Anna Edwards have totaled 33 hits, six home runs and 26 RBI together. In the circle, sophomore Amy Letourneau has thrown the bulk of the innings (52.0), racking up 76 strikeouts and a 5-3 overall record. Senior Meghan Lamberth has a 1.68 ERA and a 3-2 record in 33.1 innings pitched.
SCOUTING INDIANA: Indiana enters the weekend with a 10-5 overall record, including two wins over then-No. 24 Georgia Tech. The Hoosiers are led by senior Amanda Wagner’s .412 batting average. Sophomore Brianna Meyer and freshman Kassi Farmer have combined for 26 hits, three home runs and 24 RBI. In the circle, sophomore Lora Olson and junior Meaghan Murphy each have five wins.
UP NEXT: The Cardinal will play a mid-week contest at UC Davis on Wednesday, March 6 before hosting the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic, March 8-10 at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium. Florida Gulf Coast, Minnesota and Pacific will make their way to The Farm.
IN THE POLLS: The Cardinal, which has appeared in every regular-season poll for more than a decade, jumped to No. 15 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, while coming climbing four spots to No. 16 in the USA Today/NFCA top 25. Eight Pac-12 schools appear in the top-25 of at least one of the polls.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH: Seniors Teagan Gerhart and Jenna Rich and sophomore Hanna Winter are were named to the top 50 watch list for USA Softball Player of the Year. The Cardinal trio are three of the 14 players selected from the Pac-12 Conference.
NATIONAL HONORS: Rookie pitcher Kelsey Stevens had quite the weekend in the circle, tossing a perfect game against Virginia while not allowing an earned run in 19.0 innings pitched. She racked up 19 strikeouts and moved to 8-1 on the season, nabbing NFCA National Player of the Week honors for her effors.
RECORD SETTER: Senior Sarah Hassman’s stolen base against Oklahom State on Feb. 22 was the 87th of her career, passing Olympian Jessica Mendoza for the most stolen bases in program history. She is now 7-for-8 on the year and has 89 in her career. In 2011, her 35 stolen bases set a new Stanford single season record.
FREE PASSES: Senior All-American Jenna Rich may be hitting under .300 this season, but that’s because teams are pitching around her. The short stop is second in the Pac-12 with 11 walks this season. Of her 14 hits, six have gone for extra bases.
ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNERS: Stanford had seven players selected to the all-conference teams in 2012. Four of those players return to the roster this season, including seniors Teagan Gerhart and Jenna Rich and sophomores Leah White and Hanna Winter.
SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Stanford short stop Jenna Rich has been tabbed a top 30 candidate for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. She is one of three representatives from the Pac-12 Conference, as the candidates were chosen based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete - classroom, community, character and competition.
HEAD COACH John Rittman: In his 17th season at the helm of the Cardinal program, head coach John Rittman is one of the winningest coaches in collegiate softball, boasting a 695-316-3 (.687) career record. Since stepping onto the Farm in July 1996, he has coached the team to 16 consecutive winning seasons, 15 straight NCAA Tournament appearances and 13 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).
MILESTONE FOR RITTMAN: Cardinal head coach John Rittman is just five wins away from the 700th in his career - all coming at Stanford. Should the Cardinal go undefeated in the Easton Invitational, Rittman would reach that milestone against Indiana on March 3. He is among the top 20 in the nation of the active winingest head coaches (.686).