March 6, 2013
THIS WEEK: The No. 18/19 Cardinal softball team (17-5) plays host to the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic Friday-Sunday, March 8-10 at Smith Family Stadium. Admission to all regular-season home games is free.
THE SCHEDULE: Stanford plays five games in the 10-game tournamet. The Cardinal will play a double-header on Friday and Saturday with Minnesota and Florida Gulf Coast starting at 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively. Stanford will wrap-up the tournament on Sunday against Pacific at 12:15 p.m.
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. KZSU radio will also be broadcasting the games online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/.
SERIES RECORDS: Stanford is 2-0 all-time against Minnesota and 23-10 overall versus Pacific. It will be the first meeting between Stanford and FGCU in school history.
SCOUTING MINNESOTA: Coached by former Cardinal catcher and assistant coach Jessica Allister, the Gophers are 10-7 heading into the weekend. Minnesota has a .244 team average on the season and is led by a pair of sophomores hitting over .400. Kaitlyn Richardson leads the squad with a .480 average, including team-highs in hits (24) and RBI (11). Tyler Walker boasts a .404 hitting percentage with team-bests six doubles, four home runs and seven stolen bases. In the circle, junior Sara Moulton has thrown 89.0 of the Gophers’ 114.2 total innings. She holds a 10-4 record with a 1.10 ERA and 115 strikeouts.
SCOUTING FLORIDA GULF COAST: The Eagles have begun the season with a 12-5 overall record and have won eight of their last nine contests. In the circle, sophomore pitcher Shelby Morgan holds a 0.63 ERA with four shutouts and a 5-3 record in 55.2 innings pitched. Offensively, FGCU leans on a trio of juniors to get the job done. Chelsea Zgrabik paces the ream with a .396 average, including five doubles and six home runs to go with 27 RBI. Jessica Barnes is hitting .333 with five extra-base hits and 13 RBI, while leading the Eagles with seven stolen bases. Emily Lanier has added four doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI.
The Tigers head into the weekend with a 13-7 overall mark, dropping a 7-2 decision at California on Wednesday. Pacific is an experienced squad led by its upperclassmen. Senior pitcher/utility player Nikki Armagost leads the team with a 1.20 ERA in the circle, 53 strikeouts and a 7-2 record. She is also the team leader in RBI (17). Senior Megan Hom and junior Megan Foglesong are both hitting .333 and have combined for 38 hits and 18 RBI.
UP NEXT: Stanford will have a 12-day break for finals before it heads to Eugene, Ore., to open the Pac-12 season, March 23-25 against the Oregon Ducks. The Cardinal will appear on the Pac-12 Networks for the first time this season on Saturday, March 24 at 3 p.m.
IN THE POLLS: The Cardinal, which has appeared in every regular-season poll for more than a decade, dropped a few spots in the polls this week after going 3-2 at the Easton Invitational. Stanford sits at No. 18 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and at No. 19 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball 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.
CARDINAL HOMECOMING: Friday will be a homecoming of sorts for Minnesota head coach Jessica Allister. She was an All-American catcher for Stanford from 2001-04, leading the Cardinal to two Women’s College World Series appearances (‘01 & ‘04). She was also an assistant coach on The Farm from 2007-09.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior Jenna Rich entered the season already ranked among the top-10 in several career statistical categories for the Cardinal. Most recently, Rich passed former Cardinal teammate Ashley Hansen for third on the all-time RBI list with 181. She also tied for third in triples (10), ranks fourth in home runs (36) and ninth in runs scored (141).
CARPE DIEM: Sophomore Tylyn Wells made the most of her opportunities as the team’s designated player against Cal State Fullerton and Indiana last weekend. She was 4-for-5 at the plate (.800), while scoring three runs and notching two stolen bases.
CLOSER: Sophomore Nyree White has been a solid relief pitcher for the Cardinal this season. She ranks second in the Pac-12 with seven games in relief and seven games finished. At the Easton Invitational, White posted a 0.88 ERA in three appearances while holding opponents to a .160 batting average.
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 15 walks this season. Of her 19 hits, eight have gone for extra bases.
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 698-318-3 (.686) 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 two wins away from the 700th in his career - all coming at Stanford. He and the Cardinal will have five chances to reach that milestone this weekend in the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic. He is among the top 20 in the nation of the active winingest head coaches (.686).