Pack Softball Opens 7-Game Road Trip at Virginia
April 19, 2013
NC State-Virginia Game Notes
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - NC State's surging softball team, which has won nine of its last 11 games, begins a seven-game road trip to close out the regular season at Virginia, beginning with a doubleheader at noon on Saturday and a single game on Sunday.
The Wolfpack (23-18-1 overall, 7-7 ACC) has won its last two conference series, taking two of three games at home against Maryland and North Carolina, with a doubleheader sweep over Campbell in between.
"We've used momentum throughout the season," said first-year coach Shawn Rychcik. "Over our last dozen games or so, we have played pretty well. We have a good confidence.
"We have talked a lot about how tough the weekend is going to be. We have to give Virginia the respect that every team in our league deserves, but still feel confident that we can win these games. It's a little bit of a tricky balance."
Virginia (18-22, 3-12) has lost seven straight ACC contests, one against Boston College and series sweeps against North Carolina and Florida State.
The Wolfpack won its two games last weekend against the Tar Heels in dramatic fashion, as both senior Caitlin Dent and sophomore Renada Davis blasted three-run walk-off homers to give State the victories.
State has hit at least one home run in 27 of its 42 games, including 17 of its last 20 games.
"We have a lot of confidence that everyone in our lineup right now can hit a home run or get us a big hit when we need it," Rychcik said. "That confidence has helped us build this momentum."
As a team, the Pack leads the ACC with 57 home runs this season and is 11th nationally at 1.36 home runs per game.
Davis, with her school-record 18 home runs, leads the ACC and is tied for third in the nation. Her total is the eighth best single-season performance in ACC history.
Dent, who leads the team with 37 RBIs on the season, was recently named ACC Player of the Week after an outstanding stretch in which she had three two-homer games. Her total of six home runs last week gives her a career-high 10 on the season.
Sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman (21-16), who is second in the ACC and 11th nationally in total wins, was also named ACC Pitcher of the Week after winning four of the Pack's five games last week. She also ranks 17th nationally and second in the ACC with 198 strikeouts.
Rychcik hopes his team, which played four road tournaments early in the season and has compiled a 6-3 record in non-tournament road games, continues its impressive play away from home.
"Playing on the road has been good for us," Rychcik said. "We started the season on the road, we'll end up on the road, so that's we're comfortable."
Follow the Wolfpack all season on Twitter (@PackSoftball), by liking the official NC State Softball Facebook page and at www.GoPack.com.