Pack Softball Completes Series Sweep Versus Virginia
March 2, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State softball team completed a series sweep against the Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday with a 9-1 win at Dail Stadium. The contest was shortened to five innings due to the eight-run mercy rule.
"The third game of the series is always the toughest," said head coach Shawn Rychcik. "They took an early lead on us, but we responded and they gave us a couple extra opportunities with some fielding errors. It was a nice finish for us as we hit a couple home runs late to end the game."
The Wolfpack (8-6, 3-0 ACC) used a six-run third inning to open up a 6-1 advantage. Senior Chelsea Tate singled to right field to lead off the frame, before classmate Kirsty Grant bunted for a base hit moving Tate over to third after a wild pitch sent her to second. Junior Renada Davis drove in the first run of the contest on a groundout to the shortstop, scoring Tate from third and advancing Grant to second.
After Lana Van Dyken walked, Molly Hutchison hit a liner to the Virginia (2-14, 0-3 ACC) shortstop that skipped under her glove and rolled to the fence, plating Grant and Van Dyken to make the score 3-0. Freshman Tyler Ross laced a single into right field to bring in Hutchison from third for the fourth run of the inning.
Freshman Nadia Kemp reached on the Cavaliers' second error of the inning, as Ross scampered home from third base. Tate collected the final RBI of the frame, as she lined her second hit of the inning to right field, scoring Kemp on the play.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Kemp led off with a four pitch walk putting her on first base. Rychcik decided to bring in a pinch hitter for the next batter and it proved to be an excellent move as junior Sara Lippard deposited a 2-2 delivery over the left field fence for a two-run homer, her first of the season to extend the Wolfpack's lead to 8-1.
"I knew there was a good chance that I would pinch hit in the inning," said Lippard. "I was looking for something up in the zone that I could drive and fortunately I got a good pitch to hit and it went over the fence."
Tate stepped up to the plate next and smashed her second home run of the weekend over the fence in left center to end the game, 9-1. It was the first time this season that the Wolfpack has hit back-to-back homers in a game.
At the plate, Tate led the squad with a 3-for-3 performance, including a home run and two RBI. Grant, Lippard, Ross, Sommer and Van Dyken each had one hit for the Wolfpack.
Junior Emily Weiman hurled all five innings of the contest, striking out four hitters without issuing a walk. She improved to 8-5 in the circle on the season and has won her last six outings.
"She had good snap on her pitches and was moving the ball around well," said Rychcik. "I think what I was most impressed with from her this weekend is that she didn't give up a walk all weekend."
Virginia scored its lone run of the game in the second inning, after a fly ball off the bat of Katie Park fell just out of reach of Kemp's out-stretched arm in left field for a home run.
"We're hoping to get three wins this weekend and I think we did a good job of taking it one game at a time," Rychcik added.
NC State will return to action on Wednesday, March 5 when it hosts USC Upstate in a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.