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May 21, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, May 21, 2004

Cardinal Cardinal (May 21, 2004)are No. 1 in nation

But baseball hosts USC as the No. 2 team in the Pac-10

by Rick Eymer

This week's polls have the Stanford baseball team ranked No. 1 in the nation again. This weekend, the Cardinal must prove they deserve the acclaim.

Stanford will have that opportunity beginning tonight at 6 p.m. when the Cardinal open a very important three-game series with USC in Sunken Diamond.

While the Cardinal is No. 1 in America, they are only No. 2 in the Pac-10 Conference. Losing two of three to host Arizona last weekend dropped Stanford a half-game behind Washington (14-7 in the conference).

Stanford bounced back with a 3-1 nonconference win over visiting San Francisco on Tuesday night and now sets its sights on USC. Stanford is 12-6 (40-10) while the Trojans are 8-10 (22-28). The Cardinal has reached 40 wins to a school-record 10 straight years.

The Cardinal have a 16-game win streak in Sunken Diamond, a 23-1 record this season and has won 32 of its past 33 at home. That streak continued Tuesday against USF (26-30). Four Stanford pitchers limited the Dons to one run and four hits with starter Greg Reynolds (4-1) earning the victory and Matt Manship picking up his third save of the season. John Hester was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a stolen base to lead the Cardinal offense. Jed Lowrie (2-2, SB) and Chris Lewis (2-3) also had two-hit games. Softball

Sixth-ranked Stanford (43-16) opened postseason play last night against Utah in NCAA Division I regional action. The Cardinal are seeded No. 1 and are joined by No. 2-seed Auburn, No. 3-seed Fresno State, No. 4-seed Pacific, No. 5-seed Southern Mississippi, No. 6-seed Southern Illinois, No. 7-seed Hofstra and No. 8-seed Utah.

Second-round winners'-bracket games are today at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., with Stanford favored to be playing in the latter contest. A victory today will move the Cardinal into Saturday's semifinals at 1 p.m. The championship game will be Sunday at 1 p.m., with a challenge game (if necessary) following at 3:30 p.m.

All games are at Stanford.

The regional winners advance to the Women's College World Series (WCWS), an eight-team, double-elimination tournament., set for May 27-31 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

A number of Stanford players and coaches were honored this week on the all-conference team. Coach of the Year was awarded to Stanford head coach John Rittman.

Rittman guided Stanford to its best Pac-10 finish in school history. Rittman led the Cardinal to a 43-16 mark this season, including a school-best 13 Pac-10 victories. This is the seventh consecutive 40+ win season for the Cardinal.

Five Cardinal players earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors including three first-team selections in Jessica Allister, Dana Sorensen and Lauren Lappin. Sophomore Catalina Morris was a second-team selection while freshman Jackie Rinehart was an honorable mention pick.
Women's soccer

The Stanford women's soccer team has announced that April Wall, who has committed to attend Stanford, will join the squad this fall for the upcoming 2004-05 season. Wall will join Elizabeth George and Erica Holland in the Cardinal's newest incoming class.

"April is a very intelligent and skillful midfielder," head coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "She has the talent to make an immediate impact at the college level."

Wall, a midfielder/forward from Scottsdale, Ariz., competed for the Sereno Golden Eagles Soccer Club and will graduate from Chaparral High School. In 2003, Wall helped the Golden Eagles to an Under-17 regional and national championship. For her efforts, Wall was named the club's player of the year.

She has been a member of the Region IV ODP team for the past two years, and competed in the 2003 Texas Shootout in Houston, Texas.

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