Pack Softball Sets Record-Smashing Standard
May 21, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. – Now that NC State softball’s record-setting ACC Championship and NCAA Regional title appearance season is over, the team’s accomplishments under first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik can be put into full context in the history of the 10-year-old program.
Rychcik’s inaugural squad posted a 35-20-1 overall record and a 13-7 ACC mark, while breaking nearly 40 team and individual school records and setting multiple ACC marks. In addition, the Pack had the fewest losses in school history, thanks in part to a 13-game winning streak late in the year and a 21-4 record in April and May.
“It was just an incredible first year here,” said Rychcik, who inherited a team with a 23-31 record in 2012 that tied for seventh place in the ACC. “I’m just really proud of how the team accepted our new staff and bought into what we wanted to do.
“I couldn’t be prouder that we have helped restore success to the program and to the university.”
Playing 41 of its 56 games on the road, the Wolfpack logged 13,984 round-trip miles while making three trips to Florida, two to Georgia and Virginia and one each to California, Massachusetts and Tennessee.
Rychcik and his 14-player roster carried the “Our State” banner as well, posting a 9-2 record against in-state teams, including a series win over North Carolina on the Pack’s senior weekend.
“We set a heckuva standard in our first year,” Rychcik said. “We can’t expect that everything will go as smoothly as it did at times this year. We’ll still have some growing pains.
“But hopefully we will always take two steps forward if we take one step back.”
Rychcik’s initial season ended on Sunday with a 7-0 loss to Tennessee in the NCAA Knoxville Regional title game, after the Pack had twice beaten James Madison and lost a 1-0, 11-inning heartbreaker to the Volunteers. Still, it was the first time the Pack had ever won two games in NCAA regional play and the first time it had ever advanced to a title game.
A week before in Tallahassee, Fla., the team that had been picked sixth in a preseason poll of league coaches won the school’s second ACC title by beating Virginia, Virginia Tech and host and ACC regular-season champion Florida State.
Among the notable team records set by the Pack were (previous record and year in parenthesis):
Record-setting shortstop Renada Davis added to her collection of school marks and righthander Emily Weiman emerged as one of the nation’s most effective and durable starting pitchers, throwing a remarkable 4,840 pitches over the course of 323 1/3 innings.
Davis, who set school records for batting average (.362) and on-base percentage (.450) during her ACC Freshman of the Year campaign in 2012, added power to her game as a sophomore, blasting 26 home runs, collecting 146 total bases and posting a .768 slugging percentage to wipe out the previous marks.
She also had the second most runs scored (50) and RBIs (51) in school history.
Weiman, who finished with a 33-18 record, went from workhorse to thoroughbred with her performance during the Wolfpack’s stretch run, topping former All-American Abbie Sims’ school mark of 27 wins in a season by six. She was named ACC Pitcher of the Year and the ACC Championship Most Valuable Player after allowing just one run in 21 innings during the Wolfpack’s run to the ACC title.
Among her other school pitching marks are most appearances (54), most games started (52), most complete games (42), most games finished (12), most innings pitched (323 1/3), hits allowed (267), most batters faced (1,336) and most ground outs (441).
Davis and Weiman weren’t the only ones who put their names in the school record book. Senior outfielder Caitlin Dent matched Stephanie Call’s previous mark of 14 home runs, which Davis passed earlier in the season.
Dent (.606) and junior outfielder Scout Albertson (.577) both finished in the top 10 in slugging percentage. Dent’s 11 doubles on the season tied Heather Gelbard’s total from 2005 as the third most in the NC State record book. Her 27 walks is the seventh most.
Junior first baseman Leah Jones broke the school mark and led the ACC with 435 putouts and matched the school mark of six others with three sacrifice flies on the season, while Albertson and Tate had two each.
Davis currently owns three career records: highest batting average (.330), highest slugging percentage (.661) and highest on-base percentage (.417).
In addition to their leadership during their final season, the Pack’s three seniors – Dent and fifth-year outfielder Bethaney Wells and infielder Katie Mansilla – left their names in the career record books.
Wells is third all time with 30 home runs, first with four intentional walks, fifth with 21 hit by pitch, fifth with five sacrifice flies, seventh with 91 runs batted in, seventh with a .484 slugging percentage, ninth with 72 runs scored, ninth with 129 hits and 10th with a .364 on-base percentage.
Dent finished her career ranked fifth with 75 walks and eighth with 21 doubles and 91 runs batted in.
Mansilla has the school’s third most career stolen bases at 27, the third most stolen base attempts with 37, seventh highest stolen base percentage at .730, the 10th most sacrifice hits with 11, the th
And fifth-year seniors Wells and Mansilla – while overcoming knee and shoulder injuries, respectively – combined for 10 career surgeries during their collective 10 seasons in the program.
The Wolfpack’s three freshmen all made impressive debuts.
Lana Van Dyken made 54 starts at third base, while Hanna Sommer made 55 as the team’s designated player. Van Dyken hit .232 with a home run and 14 RBIs during the year. She made just two errors in the team’s final 22 games and turned the second triple play in school history to end the Pack’s 16-2 victory at Boston College on April 27.
Sommer blasted 11 home runs, the third most in school history for a freshman, and added 30 RBIs.
Lefthanded pitcher Chelsea Stanfield made 14 appearances in the circle for the Wolfpack, compiling a 2-2 record.
Next year’s team will add nine new players: pitcher Courtney Mirabella of East Manatee, Fla.; outfielders Jordan Aughinbaugh of Port Tobacco, Md., Tyler Ross of Cameron, N.C., and Hannah Yeager of Los Gatos, Calif.; infielders Nadia Kemp of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., and Molly Martin of Mount Airy, N.C., and Louisburg College transfer Morgan Tharrington fo Franklinton, N.C.; catchers Molly Hutchinson of San Diego and catcher Morgan Medford of Whitakers, N.C.
“I’m excited for the people coming in and looking forward to improving on this year’s success,” Rychcik said.