Pack Softball Rides Momentum Into Weekend Series Vs. Maryland
April 5, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State softball’s 12-4 win last Sunday at Georgia Tech meant more to the Wolfpack than one victory in a three-games series. First-year head coach Shawn Rychcik hoped the victory over a team that had swept a doubleheader the day before would create a little momentum as his team began a stretch of eight of its next 10 games at home.
That proved to be true on Wednesday, when the Pack (17-16-1 overall, 3-5 ACC) swept a pair of games from in-state rival Charlotte, including a no-hitter by sophomore righthander Emily Weiman in a 2-0 win in the opener and a five-run first inning in an 10-3 win in the second game.
Rychcik’s team belted out six home runs in those three games, each by a different player.
The Pack hopes to continue that upward momentum this weekend when it hosts Maryland in its second ACC home series of the season at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Softball Stadium. Saturday's doubleheader, which will begin at 1 p.m., will be live-streamed at the GoPack All-Access link above. Admission is free for all spectators.
“It’s important for us because we are a team of emotion,” Rychcik said. “When things go tough, we are all kind of on that wagon, and when they go well, we jump on that wagon, as well. Having three wins in a row creates that momentum for us.
“We feel good about ourselves and that’s a good place to be before a big conference series.”
Maryland (19-18, 4-2) is a similar team of emotional ups and downs, so Rychcik is hoping his team can seize the momentum first.
“I think it will be a huge factor this weekend,” he said. “We don’t want to ride the rollercoaster. We just want to be constant in what we do all weekend.”
Saturday’s doubleheader will include the Pack’s annual Pink Game for breast cancer awareness, presented by Rex HealthCare, a national initiative that began largely with the efforts of former Wolfpack women’s basketball coach Kay Yow.
Yow was also the first softball coach in school history, back when the Pack sponsored slow-pitch softball as a varsity sport. She was also an accomplished amateur softball player.
For Rychcik, whose Boston University teams never sponsored a Pink Game in his 10 years at the school, this will be a career first, and he’s looking forward to it.
“What I love about college sports is all the traditions individual schools have,” he said. “Since I have been here, I’ve tried to embrace the traditions that are part of this school. This, obviously, is a big thing.
“It’s important that we do it and know why we are doing it, besides just wearing pink uniforms.”
The Pack, which has hit at least one home run in nine of the last 10 games, has several players at the moment who are performing at their peak.
Weiman (15-14) has won all three games in the Pack’s current streak, giving up five earned runs, 14 hits and six walks in 21 innings.
Junior second baseman Chelsea Tate is on a nine-game hitting streak, which she extended in the second Charlotte game with her fourth home run of the season. She has also reached base in 13 straight games and has been on base in 29 of the 33 games in which she has played.
Freshman Hanna Sommer has hit safely in eight of the last nine games and reached safely in nine straight.
Sophomore shortstop Renada Davis continues to lead the ACC with 14 home runs, which also ranks second nationally.
Following the weekend series, the Wolfpack will travel to Campbell for a midweek doubleheader and then return to Dail Stadium next weekend for its regular-season home finale by hosting North Carolina.
Fans can keep up with the Wolfpack via Twitter (@PackSoftball), by liking the NC State Softball Facebook page and by visiting www.GoPack.com/