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.
Throughout his playing and coaching career, first-year NC State softball coach Shawn Rychcik has produced champions and championships.
In a 23-year hall-of-fame playing career, Rychcik won three 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 10 years as a collegiate coach - two as an assistant and eight as a head coach - Rychcik helped Boston University win four America East Tournament championships and four regular-season championships and led the Terriers to four NCAA Regionals, including three in the last four seasons.
He's never had a losing season, overall or in conference play, in his eight seasons as a head coach.
With a 271-159-1 overall record and a 114-40 mark in league play, Rychcik is determined to return the Wolfpack to the top of the ACC, through hard work, discipline and an explosive, high-scoring offense.
"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.
"We will try to turn things around and get on a winning track this year. I know change takes time, but I want to get going right away."
The native of Salamanca, N.Y., was hired on July 6, 2012, to take over the Wolfpack's fast-pitch program, which is entering its 10th season as a varsity sport at NC State. He inherits a program that won the 2006 ACC Championship in its third year, but has posted four consecutive losing seasons in league play.
Rychcik, meanwhile, spent the last 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 three ISA 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.
"We have some work to do, but what I like is that all our players have been very accepting of what we plan on doing in changing the culture so that we have the opportunity to win games."
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
Shawn Rychcik Head Coaching Record
Assistant coaching record
Year School Overall Pct. Conf. Pct. Postseason