March 21, 2013
THIS WEEK: The No. 15/16 Stanford softball team (22-5) opens Pac-12 Conference play on the road this weekend at No. 10 Oregon (23-4). The Cardinal and Ducks will square off on Saturday, March 23 at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m. and Monday, March 25 at Noon at Howe Field in Eugene, Ore.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can follow this week’s games on Gametracker or a live webstream, both available on www.GoStanford.com. Live updates will also be available on Twitter @StanfordSball. Sunday’s game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks, marking the first softball game to be shown on the network.
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks, a 2012 Women’s College World Series participant, enters conference play with a 23-4 record. Three of its four losses have come against ranked opponenets, while Oregon holds notable wins over then-No. 11 LSU (10-2, 5) and then-No. 14 Michigan (13-4, 6). As a team, Oregon is third in the Pac-12 with a .347 batting average and holding its opponents to a .177 clip. The Ducks lead the conference in stolen bases (40) and rank third in hits (259), runs scored (183), RBI (163), home runs (37) and slugging percentage (.548). Leading Oregon offensively is sophomore centerfielder Janie Takeda. Having started every game, Takeda leads the Pac-12 with a .500 batting average, 43 hits and 14 stolen bases. Short stop Courtney Ceo is second in the conference with 40 hits, third in batting average (.471), runs scored (30) and stolen bases (12) and sixth in on-base percentage (.505). Senior Kaylan Howard and junior Kailee Cuico have combined for 49 hits, 14 home runs and 51 RBI. Oregon also has a solid pitching staff, which includes senior Jessica Moore, sophomore Karissa Hovinga and freshman Cheridan Hawkins. Moore is 12-3 with a 1.28 ERA and 71 strikeouts, while Hawkins is 8-1 with a 1.25 ERA and a team-high 95 strikeouts.
THE SERIES AGAINST THE DUCKS:
Stanford holds a 33-24 (.579) all-time series lead over Oregon. Last season, the Ducks won two of the three games at Stanford to capture the series win. The last time Stanford won the season series against Oregon came in 2010, when the Cardinal swept the Ducks (May 13-15) at Smith Family Stadium.
UP NEXT: Stanford will continue Pac-12 play next week as it plays host to No. 12/13 UCLA for a three-game series, March 28-30. The Pac-12 Networks will be televising the Thursday and Friday games between the Cardinal and Bruins at Smith Family Stadium.
IN THE POLLS: The Cardinal, which has appeared in every regular-season poll for more than a decade, stands at No. 15 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and at No. 16 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 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.
FAMILY AFFAIR: This weekend’s series at Oregon marks the second time sophomore pitcher Nyree White will face her father, Oregon head coach Mike White. Last year, Oregon won two of the three games played at Stanford to win the series.
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 Stanford teammate Ashley Hansen for third on the all-time RBI list with 184 and is just four away from Jessica Mendoza’s second-place mark of 188. Sarah Beeson (‘02) is the Cardinal’s career leader with 201 RBI.
FINDING HER GROOVE: Senior pitcher Teagan Gerhart has been sensational in Stanford’s most recent outings this season. At the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic (March 8-10), Gerhart posted a 0.00 ERA, capturing three wins and a save to go with 25 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched. On the season, Gerhart leads the team with an 11-3 record and holds a 1.36 ERA, 91 strikeouts and three saves, which leads the Pac-12.
CLOSER: Sophomore Nyree White has been a solid relief pitcher for the Cardinal this season. She ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with nine games in relief. She boasts a 1.00 ERA and a 2-0 record in nine appearances. Her six strikeouts against Minnesota (3/9) marked a career high.
THREE’S COMPANY: This year’s Stanford squad has already hit 14 triples, trying for the third-most in a single season in school history. The 2012 team set the school record with 20 triples. Sophomore outfielder Cassandra Roulund leads the team with five, also trying for the third-most in a single season at Stanford. Roulund’s five triples leads the Pac-12 and ranks second nationally.
ROOKIE REVIEW: Stanford freshmen Kayla Bonstrom, Jessica Plaza and Kaitlin Schaberg have all contributed to the Cardinal offensively this season. Bonstrom has been the designated player and seen time at first base, leads the team with a .358 batting average. Her first collegiate home run was a grand slam against Florida Gulf Coast (3/9). Plaza, the team’s catcher, has registered two home runs on the year and boasts a team-best .541 slugging percentage. Schaberg has also been in and out of the line-up, holding a .257 average with a home run and eight RBI.
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.
PAC-12 NETWORKS: The launch of the Pac-12 television networks on August 15, 2012 marked the beginning of a new era for the Conference of Champions. Among the televised events will be 35 Pac-12 softball games. Stanford will take part in eight of those broadcasts, including the first softball game on the networks at Oregon on March 24. The Pac-12 Networks consists of one national and six regional networks devoted solely to the Pac-12 Conference. Below is a complete list of the Stanford broadcasts:
March 24 at Oregon (3 p.m. PT)
March 28 vs. UCLA (7 p.m. PT)
March 29 vs. UCLA (7 p.m. PT)
April 6 vs. Arizona State (2 p.m. PT)
April 6 vs. Arizona State (4:30 p.m. PT)
April 26 vs. Utah (5 p.m. PT)
April 28 vs. Utah (1 p.m.)
May 9 vs. Arizona (7 p.m. PT)
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 703-318-3 (.688) 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 captured his 700th career win on March 8 in a 2-1 victory over Florida Gulf Coast at the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic. All 700-plus wins have come during his time on The Farm. He is among the top 20 in the nation of the active winingest head coaches (.688).