Under first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik, the Wolfpack won the school's second ACC title, advanced to an NCAA Regional title game for the first time in school history and broke nearly 40 team and individual school records.
Freshman Hanna Sommer hit a solo home run in the fifth and Kirsty Grant and Renada Davis had back-to-back doubles in the seventh to give sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman her 33rd win of the season. The Pack will now play No. 5 Tennessee in the first of two possible games Sunday afternoon for the NCAA Knoxville Regional championship.
Tennessee scores its seven runs in the first four innings to eliminate the ACC champion Wolfpack and win the NCAA Knoxville Regional.
Sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman goes the distance in the longest postseason game in both NC State and Tennessee history. An 11th-inning, run-scoring triple ended the classic pitcher's duel between Weiman and Tennessee's Ellen Renfroe. The Pack played a second game later Saturday night.
The senior left fielder smacked her eighth homer of the season in the bottom of the sixth, leading NC State to its first win ever in the first game of an NCAA Regional, a 2-0 victory over James Madison in the NCAA Knoxville Regional. Sophomore righthander Emily Weiman picked up the complete-game win.
NC State first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik talks about his team's season. The Wolfpack finished its regular season in second place in the ACC standings.
NC State head softball coach Shawn Rychcik completed his second season at the helm of the program in 2014. For the second consecutive year, he guided the squad to an NCAA Regional Final.
His 2014 team made school and state of North Carolina history by becoming the first team to advance to the regional final without a loss, following the Wolfpack's 5-4 upset win over fourth-seeded and seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The Pack became just the fifth team to beat a top-four seed before a regional final since 2005.
State finished the season with a 36-18 record in 2014, the fourth-most wins in program history and the fewest losses by an NC State team in school history.
The Wolfpack also made history during the regular season by winning 14 games straight, breaking the previous school record of 13 consecutive games set by the 2013 team. The squad also bested the program mark for home wins with 22 and home winning percentage with an .880 clip.
Rychcik's 2014 team compiled a batting average of .275, eclipsing the previous school record of .273 set by the 2007 squad. State also hit 67 home runs during the year, second only to the 88 homers the 2013 team hit.
Defensively, the Wolfpack committed the fewest errors in the field to record the program's highest fielding percentage at .973. That mark was also good for second in the ACC and 16th nationally.
In his initial season with the Wolfpack softball team, Rychcik led the squad to the 2013 ACC Championship title - becoming the first head coach in the history of the conference to do so in his/her first season.
Rychcik guided the Pack to a 35-20-1 record in 2013, highlighted by the ACC Championship crown to receive an automatic bid to an NCAA Regional. State won two games in the Knoxville regional before falling to regional champ and NCAA runner-up Tennessee.
The Wolfpack offense flourished in its first season under Rychcik, breaking multiple program records, individual records and setting multiple ACC marks. In 2013, the Pack smashed 88 home runs surpassing the previous record of 66 set in 2007 by 22. State also scored 288 runs, batted in 266 runs and had a team slugging percentage of .491, all of which are new school records.
Under his instruction, junior Renada Davis hit 26 homers, the third-most in NCAA Division I softball and most by a Wolfpack player. She surpassed the previous school record of 14 by 12 home runs.
On the defensive side, junior Emily Weiman earned ACC Pitcher of the Year honors - becoming the first Wolfpack player to receive the honor. She led the conference in wins (33), innings pitched (323.1), appearances (54) and games started (52), all of which are school records.
Throughout his playing and coaching career, Rychcik has produced champions and championships.
In a 23-year hall-of-fame playing career, Rychcik won five International Softball Congress world championships and two American Softball Association national championships and twice was recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee as the men's fast-pitch player of the year.
In his 14 years as a collegiate coach - four as an assistant and 10 as a head coach - Rychcik has won five conference championships and four regular-season championships and led his teams to six NCAA Regionals, including five in the last six seasons.
He's never had a losing season, overall or in conference play, in his 10 seasons as a head coach.
"I want people to know that this will be a hard-working program and we are going to do everything we can to win," Rychcik said. "Everywhere I have been, I've been a winner, whether it was my playing career or my coaching career.
The native of Salamanca, N.Y., was hired on July 6, 2012, to take over the Wolfpack's fastpitch program, which is entering its 12th season as a varsity sport at NC State. He inherited a program that won the 2006 ACC Championship in its third year, but had posted four consecutive losing seasons in league play.
Rychcik, meanwhile, spent the previous eight seasons turning Boston University into an America East powerhouse, while rewriting the school record book, setting 10 team offensive records and 11 individual single-season marks. His 2007 team was ranked fourth in the nation with 65 home runs in 48 games, sixth in slugging percentage and 12th in scoring.
"Some coaches like to run exclusively, some like to sit back and build on power," Rychcik said. "I like to do a little bit of both. I like to stay aggressive and put pressure on people. Sometimes we will have runners thrown out stealing or trying to take an extra base.
"I like trying to force the other team to execute. I would rather see a more reckless offense and a more conservative defense, where you give them a single, but don't try to make a big play by throwing it away at first base and putting the other team in scoring position. We want to create as many runs as we can on offense, without giving anything away on defense."
Rychcik's success at Boston University paved the way for his selection as one of 14 members of the U.S. national team coaching pool. From 2009-12, he worked with the national team, including many players who helped the United States win a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
As a player, Rychcik was a power-hitting outfielder and first baseman. He was named to the ISC All-World Team 10 times and was the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 ASA championships, after driving in a record 15 RBIs in five games.
In all, he won five ISC world titles and two ASA national titles, while playing for teams in Florida, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. He was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame on Aug. 12, 2012.
After retiring in 2006, Rychcik poured his energy into building on the initial success he had at Boston University. Now, he hopes to replicate that success in Raleigh.
Rychcik graduated from Gannon University in 1991 with a degree in physical education/sports management.
He and his wife, Tricia, live in Apex, N.C., with their two sons, Ajay and Drew.
Rychcik's Career Accomplishments