Davis Breaks Career HR Mark; Season Ends in Regional Final
May 19, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - Junior Renada Davis became NC State softball's career home run leader with her 50th round-tripper, but the Wolfpack dropped a pair of games against 7th-ranked and No. 4 overall seed Georgia Sunday evening at Jack Turner Stadium.
"I'm really proud of this team," said head coach Shawn Rychcik. "I like the way we competed. I thought our energy was good after the long rain delay. I think the first five in their lineup are as good as I've ever faced in my time coaching. They put relentless pressure on you hitting as well as on the mound. We really respect them and I expect them to go far in this tournament."
NC State advanced to Sunday's regional final with a 2-0 record, becoming just the fifth team to beat a top-four seed before a regional final since 2005. The Wolfpack also made school history in the process as the 2014 team was the first-ever team to win the first two games of a regional.
Rychcik's squad concludes the season with a 36-18 record, after claiming the program's second consecutive trip to an NCAA Regional.
Georgia won the first game of the day 9-1 to force a winner-take-all contest. The Bulldogs, which rank third in the nation in home runs per game, scored all of their runs in the game off of home runs. The squad scored two runs in the first and third innings to take a 4-0 lead into the fourth inning.
"I think they changed the lineup a little bit and stacked the holes that we were able to work around yesterday," Rychcik added. "They were much more aggressive (today) and maybe were a little bit passive the first time we played them. They came out swinging today and put some pressure on us when we got in a couple of holes early in the game."
The Bulldogs tacked on three additional runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh. State scored its lone run of the game on Davis' home run which broke the program record for career homers. The junior shortstop entered the contest with 49 and needed only one more to move into first place all-time. Her 19th round-tripper of the season gave her that distinction.
"As a junior, I'm looking forward to next year," said Davis. "Next year there will be even more drive because it will be my last year. Getting this far and doing better this year than we did last year in Tennessee means it can only get better."
In the second game of the day, Georgia continued its hot-hitting as the squad scored two runs in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead. The Bulldogs used a big fourth inning to extend the lead to 6-0 after plating four runs in the frame.
The Wolfpack held Georgia scoreless in the second and fourth innings, but the Bulldogs scored two additional runs in the bottom of the fifth to win by the mercy rule, 8-0.
NC State finishes the year with a team batting average of .275, which is the highest for any Wolfpack squad in program history. Its .357 on-base percentage ties as the best in school history.