Davis' 2 HRs Keep Pack Close in 7-4 Loss to No. 10 Texas
March 16, 2013
Thursday, March 14
Friday, March 15
Saturday, March 16
FULLERTON, Calif. – Sophomore shortstop Renada Davis banged out two home runs to increase her ACC-leading total to 12 on the season, but NC State softball could not overcome an early deficit in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to No. 10 Texas in the Wolfpack’s final game of the Judi Garman Classic on the campus of Cal State-Fullerton.
Trailing 5-0 after the first three innings, the Wolfpack went straight through its batting order without getting a runner on base until junior Sara Lippard was hit by a pitch with two outs in the bottom of the third. Davis followed with the Pack’s first hit of the game, a long shot over the left-field wall that scored two runs.
Texas starter Blaire Luna (13-1) then struck out the next eight Wolfpack hitters until Davis came up in the top of the sixth. She hit another long shot to left field for her 12th of the season. The Pack added another run in the inning when junior Chelsea Tate reached on a passed ball after striking out. Scout Albertson sent her to third base on a double to left-centerfield, her fifth of the season.
After Dent walked to load the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate, Tate scored an unearned run when senior Bethaney Wells reached first on an infield error. But the Pack left the bases full when freshman Hanna Sommer hit a hard grounder to third base to end the inning.
The Pack again brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh against Texas reliever Gabby Smith, when junior Leah Jones led off with a single to centerfield and Kirsty Grant reached on a hit by pitch. The game ended, however, when Smith struck out the final batter of the game.
Luna struck out 15 hitters on the day, while Smith recorded three in her lone inning of work. Wolfpack starter Emily Weiman (10-12) took the loss after giving up two runs in the first inning. She was relieved in the second inning by freshman Chelsea Stanfield, who gave up five runs in six innings of work.
“I give our kids a lot of credit for battling back today against one of the best pitchers in the country,” said first-year coach Shawn Rychcik, whose team lost a heartbreaking 1-0 decision in eight innings against No. 15 Michigan earlier in the day. “She’s a three-time All-American and we put her in a tough situation in the last couple of innings. We were battling in the box and eventually wore her down.”
Texas third baseman Taylor Hoagland matched Davis by hitting two solo home runs for the Longhorns (26-4). Pinch hitter Lindsay Stephens also drove in two runs with a double in the sixth inning.
The loss was the eighth in a row for the Wolfpack, though all but one of the losses were against teams that are ranked, have been ranked or are receiving votes in the two major polls. Three of the five losses in the Garman tournament were to No. 1 Oklahoma (3-0), No. 10 Texas (7-4) and No. 15 Michigan (1-0 in eight innings).
“For the weekend, we played against really good teams and competed hard,” Rychcik said. “We had the tying run at the plate in all five of our games.
“All weekend, Emily Weiman was outstanding. She proved she can go pitch-for-pitch with some of the most talented players in the country. She can keep us in any game we play. We just have to work on getting her more runs.”
Davis, who had five homers when she was named the 2012 ACC Freshman of the Year, has now more than doubled that total, hitting three in the Pack’s last two games.
“She’s swinging the bat really well right now,” Rychcik said. “She is a threat any time she steps in the box. She’s giving us great production at the top of the order.”
The Wolfpack will return home on Sunday to begin preparing for its ACC road opener. The Pack will travel to Blacksburg, Va., on Friday for a three-game series against the Hokies. Keep up with the Wolfpack all season via Twitter at @PackSoftball, on Facebook at NC State Softball and on www.GoPack.com/softball.