Wolfpack Softball Closes Fall Schedule With 2 More Wins
Oct. 14, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State softball team concluded its fall schedule on Sunday with two more wins in the Ray Chandler Memorial Softball Tournament at Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Softball Complex.
Sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman pitched a complete game in a 3-2 win in eight innings against Elon Sunday morning. Weiman, who had not given up a run in her four previous fall outings, gave up two against the Phoenix, but got the support of two unearned runs from her offense and a walk-off bloop single by junior catcher Kirsty Grant in the bottom of the eighth.
Freshman Chelsea Stanfield also pitched a complete-game victory as the Wolfpack downed UNC Pembroke in its afternoon game. Grant had two hits in the game, while freshman first baseman Hanna Sommer drove in a pair of runs.
“We did what we were supposed to do in these games, go out and win,” said NC State first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik, whose team went 4-1 this weekend and 6-1 overall in the fall. “I like what I saw this weekend and how far we have come during our fall workouts.”
Sommer, a native of Tustin, Calif., who was ranked the No. 37 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN, continued to impress Rychcik with her timely hitting, helping with the two wins on Sunday and in the Pack's two wins in three games on Saturday.
“She was a machine this weekend, driving in five or six runs for us,” Rychcik said. “She came to play and is obviously ready to get going.”
The most impressive outcome of the fall season was the improvement of Weiman as the Pack’s top pitcher and the progress made by Stanfield, a freshman lefthander from Franklin, N.C., who had a 17-3 record as a high school senior last season.
In her first collegiate season, Weiman led the Pack in appearances, innings pitched, earned run average and strikeouts, posting a 14-18 record and a 2.65 earned run average.
“I think the most important thing for us this fall is that our pitching gave us a chance to win every game we played,” Rychcik said. “We didn’t take advantage of every opportunity we had on offense and we left some people on base, especially in the [2-1] loss to North Carolina, but those are things we can improve.
“If our pitching can keep us in the game the way they did this fall, I think we have a chance to win games.”
Rychcik likes the way his team plays defense and is impressed by the intensity of his 14-player roster.
“I like seeing the team compete,” Rychcik said. “We had some timely hitting, but I think we can be more efficient in our offense. It’s a matter of how we can make a few changes here and there.
“We need to change our mental approach to some of our critical at-bats and in our games. Those are things we can work on together to improve. I feel like I know how to make this team better.”
In the end, Rychcik’s initial experience with his team has been positive..
“This was my time to figure out what NC State softball was all about, where we are as a program and what we need to do to get better,” Rychcik said. “I think I have a good handle on that now.”
Rychcik and his team will continue full team workouts through Thanksgiving and then reduce its practice time to two hours a week through exams and the holidays. They will return to a full practice schedule on Jan. 7 at the start of the spring semester.
The Wolfpack, which was 23-31 overall and 5-16 in the ACC in 2012, opens its 2013 schedule on Feb. 8 against Georgetown in the FIU Panther Invitational in Miami, in one of its five early season tournaments.
The Pack will also participate in tournaments in Tampa, Atlanta and Fullerton, Calif., in addition to hosting its own NC State Wolfpack Challenge at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Softball Stadium March 1-3.