Pack Softball Falls 7-0 to #5 Tennessee; Ends Season at 35-20-1
May 19, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - ACC-champion NC State's impressive debut season under first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik came to an end on Sunday as the Wolfpack fell 7-0 to No. 5 host Tennessee in the title game of the NCAA Knoxville Regional.
On a rainy weekend that saw multiple weather delays, the Wolfpack (35-20-1) got an outstanding performance over three days from sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman, who threw the Pack's first 24 innings in the four-team regional without relief, including a 10 2/3-inning outing in a 1-0 loss to the Volunteers on Saturday that matched the longest of her career.
Weiman (33-18) took both losses against the Volunteers, but also both wins against James Madison, a 2-0 win in the opener on Friday, and a 6-4 win in a elimination game that was started on Saturday evening and was completed on Sunday morning, advancing the Pack to the title game against Tennessee.
In all, Weiman threw 423 pitches, going a total of 28.1 innings, while giving up 27 hits, 10 earned runs and three walks. She struck out 12 batters in the four games. Sunday, she was relieved in the fourth inning by freshman Chelsea Stanfield, in her only postseason appearance.
"Obviously, throwing that much is a little tiring and there was some fatigue," Weiman said. "I had prepared all season to do that, so I was just going out there every inning and giving it everything I had.
"I wasn't as sharp as I was earlier in the weekend and Tennessee has a great lineup."
Stanfield pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings against the offensively potent Volunteers, giving up only two hits.
"I was so proud of the way Chelsea came in a threw," Weiman said. "She had my back today."
The Pack had just one hit off Volunteer starter Ivy Renfroe, a third-inning single by freshman Lana Van Dyken. She walked two Wolfpack batters in the seventh inning and struck out five.
The Wolfpack ends the season with a slew of school records, including its most wins ever in NCAA regional play and its first regional championship game appearance. The Pack had never won two games in its previous two NCAA appearances in 2006 and '07.
The Pack also hit an amazing 88 home runs, 22 more than the previous school record of 66 set in 2007. It also had the most doubles, runs and RBIs in school history, as wells as the best slugging percentage and on-base percentage in the program's 10-year history.
Weiman, the ACC's Pitcher of the Year and ACC Championship Most Valuable Player, finished the season with a record 33 victories, topping the previous record of 27, set in 2007 by ACC Player of the Year Abbie Sims.
"I am so happy for all three of them," said Rychcik, who was also coaching in his first regional championship game after three appearances with Boston University. "I told them afterwards that they put a great mark on their time in the program by winning an ACC championship and going to a regional championship game.
"They have helped set the standards for where the program goes from here."
After the Wolfpack won the resumption of the James Madison game, the start of the game against Tennessee was delayed by two-and-a-half hours by a storm that passed through the Knoxville area.
When the game began, the Volunteers scored two runs in both the first and second innings against Weiman.
Tennessee's Madison Shipman had several big blows, beginning with a single and stolen base to put runners on second and third for the Volunteers' first two runs and a two-run homer in the second for the next two. She then completed her 3-for-4, three-RBI day by driving in her third run of the game in the Volunteers' three-run fourth inning that ultimately chased Weiman from the circle.
The Pack's only hit came in the third inning, when Van Dyken singled up the middle with one out. But she did not advance beyond first base.
State did put two runners on in the seventh, when pinch hitters Sara Lippard and Hayley Stowe drew the only walks Renfroe gave up all day. But the Pack was unable to plate a run for its second consecutive scoreless game against the Volunteers.
The team returned home after the loss to Raleigh.