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    Softball to Host James Madison in Doubleheader on Wednesday
    Caroline Blount leads the team in batting heading into James Madison.
    Caroline Blount leads the team in batting heading into James Madison.

    March 9, 2004

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    NC State will host its third home doubleheader in a row, when the James Madison Dukes come into Raleigh on Wednesday at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex. The first game will begin at 2:00 pm on field 1. The Dukes are 7-8 on the season, all in tournament play.

    James Madison Notes Leading the Dukes' offense is Liz George, who in fifteen games has hit .500 with three doubles, one triple, and one homerun while driving in eight runs. Katie George isn't far behind, hitting .378 and leading the team in doubles (4), triples (2) and runs (10). Liz George is also one of the top pitchers from the circle, posting a 3.19 ERA and is second on the team with 24 strikeouts while allowing 25 walks in 37.1 innings. The team leader in wins, strikeouts and ERA, Briana Carrera is 3-2 with a 1.62 ERA and 27 strikeouts.

    Last At-Bat NC State split with Appalachian State on Monday, March 6 at Walnut Creek. App. State took the first game 5-2 on a three-run homerun in the top of the seventh, while the Wolfpack cruised in the second game behind a powerful offense and a two-hit shutout by Wolfpack pitcher Abbie Sims in the 6-0 win. NC State hit two two-run homeruns, as Sims struckout an NC State record 13 batters while walking only three for the win.

    On Deck The Wolfpack will conclude a six-game homestand with the James Madison doubleheader. NC State split doubleheaders with Charleston Southern (Sat. March 6) and Appalachian State (Mon., March 8) early this week. Softball then heads to Rock Hill, S.C. for the Winthrop Tournament, March 12-14.

    Offensive Explosion At Home The offense has exploded over the last four games, all at Walnut Creek, as NC State played its first home games of the season. NC State is scoring more than 1.5 runs more a game at home, and the Wolfpack has scored 19 runs in the four games, 40% of its total runs (47) on the season. Batting average has jumped to .301 as a team, and Allison Cuculich is hitting .429 with two RBIs. Abbie Sims leads all players who have played in all four home games, hitting .400, while leading the team in doubles (2) and runs (4), and tying for the team lead in hits (4), homeruns (1) and RBIs (2). She is also slugging a team best .900.

    Gelbard Getting It Done Heather Gelbard is getting it done at the plate, leading the Wolfpack in several offensive categories. Gelbard leads the team in hits (15), doubles (6), total bases (24), and slugging percentage (.511). She shares the team lead in homeruns with one, and is second in runs scored with five. Her .319 batting average is also second on the team.The starter at third base through the first 11 games, Gelbard moved to second for the Charleston Southern doubleheader and has started in 13 games.

    Sims Simply Special Abbie Sims leads NC State in eight statistical categories, five pitching and four batting (See inset). On top of that, on days when she's not pitching, she is the teams starting centerfielder and has commited zero errors on the season. From the circle, Sims has been sensational in her last two starts. She has gone 2-0 while striking out 25 batters, allowing only one run on five hits, and has walked only three while pitching two complete games, one a the eight games NC State has played at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex, Sims has gone 3-1 with a 0.28 ERA while allowing opponents to hit only .122, striking out 40 in 25.0 innings pitched.

    S. Ervin and Sims Top Freshman Pitchers Not only are NC State's top two pitchers ranked in a numerous top-10 categories in the conference overall, but Shaina Ervin and Abbie Sims are the top two freshman in the league as well. Ervin and Sims are the top two freshmen in the conference in every pitching category to this point in the season. The only other freshmen to rank in the top-10 in any ACC category is Coty Tolar of Virginia, who is tenth in complete games, and Lucas from Maryland is ninth in opp. batting average.

    Blount's Batting Leads Team Caroline Blount is hitting .333 on the year, getting 10 hits, third on the team, and driving in five runs, also third on the team. Her 11 total bases is fifth on the team, and she has started 12 games, committing only one error in the field.

    Power Ball NC State has hit five homeruns in the four home games at Walnut Creek this year, and only one other homerun in the other 11 games. In the first game against Charleston Southern, NC State hit three homeruns. Jen Chamberlin has two of the teams six homeruns on the season, both two-run shots.

    Pitch Out... Wolfpack has started the inaugural season off with a strong team effort from the circle. NC State is third in the conference in pitching behind No. 11 Florida State and Georgia Tech, who is No. 24 in the latest USA/Today NFCA Poll. NC State is third in team ERA and in opponents batting average and has the fourth highest strikeouts per seven innings ratio in the league.

    Sister, Sister It's not double vision. It's twins. Freshmen Miranda and Shaina Ervin are twins. Miranda will wear No. 11, while Shaina wears No. 12. Miranda catches for Shaina. The two led Charlotte's Hopewell HS to two-straight 4-A state championships. The two shared the Championship MVP title and Shaina became the first player to be honored with the MVP award in both seasons. In her 48 innings pitched, she had 82 strikeouts and two no-hitters. Miranda went 12-21 with nine RBI during the tournament, which included a 5-6 at bat and seven RBI in the last two games.

    Wolfpack Makes Six Prior to this season, the ACC had just five teams including Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. NC State's addition made it an even six. After the ACC expands, the conference will add Virgina Tech softball to the fray next season, and in 2005-06 Boston College will join the conference.

    Where My Girls At? NC State will play all of its home games at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex for the 2004 season. The Wolfpack will host its third home series on Wednesday, March 10, against James Madison at 2 p.m.

    Quick Hits NC State did not allow an earned run until the fourth inning of the fourth game of the season against Kent State ... Fourteen of the 19 players are freshman ... LaCroix is on a five game hit streak, and Sims is on a four game streak ... Four players are from west of the Mississippi River, Hasper (Arizona), Chamberlin and Patterson (California), and Sims (New Mexico) ... Four are from Florida (Blount, Gelbard, LeCroix, Shepherd) ...



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