Sports

Clayton, Hirshman lead Stanford men to tennis win in opener

 

Alex Clayton and Greg Hirshman helped the Stanford men's tennis team open the dual-meet season with an impressive 7-0 victory over visiting Sacramento State Tuesday.

Clayton, at No. 3 singles, and Hirshman, at No. 5 singles, each won by scores of 6-1, 6-2 as all six singles players won in straight sets.

Bradley Klahn and Matt Kandath also won big, each recording a 6-3, 6-0 victory. Denis Lin won his match, 6-1, 6-3 and Ryan Thacher needed an extra game to earn his 6-1, 7-5 victory.

The Cardinal, which also swept its doubles matches, is back in action Friday, hosting Santa Clara at 10 a.m. as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

Women's gymnastics

Stanford senior Shelley Alexander was named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week Tuesday and sophomore Ashley Morgan earned Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week honors for their efforts in leading the No. 2 Cardinal to a dual-meet victory over UCLA on Sunday.

Alexander anchored Stanford's balance beam lineup with a score of 9.925 to give the Cardinal momentum in its effort to overtake UCLA on the final rotation. Alexander tied her career-best on her winning beam routine and also captured the all-around victory (39.350) as Stanford improved to 7-0 on the season with its second triumph over the defending national champion Bruins in two meets.

Morgan wowed added difficulty to her floor routine, with a double Arabian on her tumbling pass. Her score of 9.925 anchored Stanford's floor lineup and enabled the Cardinal to beat the defending national champions.

Morgan has scored 9.925 in both meets this season and her scoring average leads the nation.

Stanford (7-0) is at No. 4 Utah for a meet Friday night.

Softball

Stanford is ranked No. 18 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll and holds the No. 20 spot in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason poll it was announced Tuesday.

The Cardinal finished 37-19 last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 13th consecutive season. The team finished tied for sixth in the always-competitive Pac-10 Conference and ended the year with a No. 21/24 ranking.

Stanford returns 12 letterwinners from last year's squad, including All-American infielder Ashley Hansen.

Also back are starters Jenna Becerra, Maya Burns, Sarah Hassman, Melisa Koutz and Jenna Rich.

The Cardinal returns all three pitchers in senior Ashley Chinn and sophomores Teagan Gerhart and Rich.

Seven of the eight Pac-10 squads appeared in the top-20 of both polls. Defending national champion UCLA is No. 1 in the NFCA poll, while 2010 national runner-up Arizona tops the ESPN/USA Softball list.

Washington (10/11), California (12/12), Arizona State (13/10) and Oregon (14/14) are the other conference teams in the rankings.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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