NC State Softball Grabs ACC Championship With 1-0 Win over FSU
May 11, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - ACC Pitcher of the Year Emily Weiman shut down top-seeded host Florida State en route to a 1-0 victory on Saturday night in the title game of the ACC Championship at FSU's JoAnne Graf Field.
Weiman (31-16) outdueled FSU's Lacey Waldrop, keeping thehigh-powered Seminoles quiet all night long and retiring the final 13 batters she faced to clinch the Wolfpack's second ACC Championship in the program's 10-year history and its first since 2006.
"I knew if they were going to beat me, they were going to have to work for it," said the sophomore righthander from Pasadena, Md. "I felt really strong and confident.
"My defense has always said they had my back, and tonight they did. I told them all I needed was one run, and they got it. I just went out every inning and gave it my best effort."
Weiman, who has pitched 295 innings this season and started 48 of the Pack's 52 games, finished off her 37th complete game of the season, going all seven innings and allowing just four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
"I am going to check to see if Emily is wearing a cape under her jersey," said first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik. "She's been our Superman all year long.
"She was really on tonight. You can usually tell in the first inning, and she was there. It was an unbelievable performance. She had her best game in the championship."
The Wolfpack (33-18-1 overall) has now won 12 consecutive games and 19 of its last 21. It will receive the ACC's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship, with pairings being announced Sunday night at 10 p.m. on ESPNU.
"Right now, it's just surreal," Rychcik said. "I stood in the lockerroom at the beginning of the season and told the team, some of you are going to win an ACC Championship and some of you are going to go to a regional. From that moment, they bought into it.
"It's been an unbelievable season and a lot of incredible efforts. To go from seventh in the ACC to first, I don't have a lot of words for it. I am so happy for my seniors and the fifth-year kids who have stuck it out so long and grinded it out. It's an amazing feeling."
Director of Athletics Debbie Yow was also impressed with theWolfpack's efforts on Saturday and all season long.
"I, along with Wolfpackers everywhere, could not be more proud of our ACC Champion softball team," Yow said. "Our student-athletes and their coaches have represented NC State with class all season long, and their remarkable turnaround from last year has been special to watch.
"When we hired Coach Rychcik, we knew it would only be a matter of time until he would guide us back to the NCAA postseason. The fact that it happened in his first season at State should be a positive sign of things to come for our softball program, including this week at NCAA Regionals."
Senior Dent, who along with fifth-year seniors Bethaney Wells and Katie Mansilla, missed her graduation ceremony on Saturday at Raleigh's PNC Arena, drove in the Pack's only run, thanks to a hard-hit ground ball that bounced off Florida State second baseman Kelly Hensley's glove to score freshman Lana Van Dyken.
Van Dyken started the Wolfpack's run-scoring rally in the third with a single to right field, extending her hitting streak to seven consecutive games and 11 of her last 12 contests. With two out, sophomore shortstop Davis laced a single between third and shortstop, extending her hitting streak to 12 in a row, a new school record.
Dent followed with her hit to plate the game's only run.
The Pack played an error-free game, and its defense saved Weiman several baserunners. Second baseman Chelsea Tate made a diving catch on a liner to shallow right field and doubled off a runner at first base, killing a potential early rally for the Seminoles on their home field.
Davis, who has been steady defensively all season at short, made a couple of impressive plays, stabbing a liner up the middle and keeping several other balls in the infield.
"Our defense has been third fiddle to our offense and our pitching," Rychcik said. "But we've played good defense all season. We've been able to get the big out all season when we needed it.
"The big out today was that play Tate made in the first inning. We could have had runners on first and third and been in a little bit of trouble. We believe in all parts of our game right now."
The Pack twice stranded runners on second base after a one-out double by Scout Albertson and lead-off double by Dent, as Waldrop buckled down with runners in scoring position.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Seminoles loaded the bases on a pair of infield singles and a two-out walk, but Weiman got out of the inning on a foul-out by FSU's Alex Kossoff.
Follow the Wolfpack on Twitter (@PackSoftball), by liking the team's official NC State Softball Facebook page and at www.GoPack.com/softball.