Pack Softball Shuts Out Virginia Tech in Series Finale, 5-0
March 23, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State softball team defeated Virginia Tech, 5-0, Sunday afternoon at Dail Stadium to clinch the three-game series. The Wolfpack improved to 19-10 on the season and 10-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), while the Hokies fell to 16-14 and 5-6 in the ACC.
“I thought we did what we needed to do in order to win the series,” said head coach Shawn Rychcik. “We got a couple big hits from Sara [Lippard] and Molly [Hutchison] in some big situations. I’m really proud of how we competed, made the plays and had some big at-bats.”
Junior Emily Weiman threw her ninth complete game shutout of the season in the contest, limiting the Hokies to just three hits. In the latest statistics release from the NCAA on March 16, Weiman’s nine complete game shutouts ranks as the best total in the nation.
“I wanted to be better today,” said Weiman. “I didn’t have my strongest performance of the season yesterday, so I just wanted to work a little harder on the things that didn’t go well yesterday and stay confident throughout the game.”
Sara Lippard, a junior from Wilson, N.C., put the Wolfpack on top in the bottom of the fourth with a two-RBI double to right center. The ball bounced off the top of the fence and back into play appearing to be a home run, but the umpires were uncertain and it was scored as a double. Freshman Molly Hutchison walked and Hanna Sommer singled through the left side prior to Lippard’s at-bat.
The Wolfpack plated three more runs the following inning to break the game open and extend the lead to 5-0. Senior Kirsty Grant was hit by pitch and Renada Davis walked to put runners at first and second base to drive Virginia Tech’s starting pitcher Kelly Heinz (8-10) from the game.
Maggie Tyler came in to relieve Heinz for VT and issued Lana Van Dyken a free pass to load the bases for Hutchison. The freshman from San Diego, Calif., delivered with a bases clearing double down the right field line, collecting three RBI.
In the top of the sixth, Virginia Tech threatened to score by loading the bases, but Weiman induced a groundout to Davis at shortstop to retire the side and get out of the inning. It was the first and only time in the game where the Hokies had a runner reach third base.
“It was good to see us come back today and be clean defensively,” Rychcik added. “We’re a good defensive team, we just made some uncharacteristic mistakes yesterday in both games.”
Senior Scout Albertson and Sommer led the squad at the plate with two hits each, while Davis, Hutchison and Lippard each had one hit.
NC State will return to action on Wednesday, March 26 when it takes on the Elon Phoenix at Dail Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.