NC State Softball Wins a Pair Against Pittsburgh
March 8, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State softball team won a pair of games against Pittsburgh on Saturday at Dail Stadium. The Wolfpack won the first game by the eight-run mercy rule, 9-0 (5), and defeated the Panthers in the second game, 5-2.
With the win, NC State has now won 11 games in a row. The Pack had a great day at the plate as a team and put at least one runner on base in every inning of the doubleheader, with the exception of the fifth inning of the second game.
“Any day you get two wins is a good day,” said head coach Shawn Rychcik. “I’m really pleased with our bats. We made good contact on the balls we hit and we also got the big hit when we needed it. It was a good day for us and we’ll have to come back out tomorrow ready to go.”
The Wolfpack (12-6, 5-0 ACC) jumped out to an early lead in game one, as the squad scored two runs in the first inning. Senior Chelsea Tate lined a two-out single to right field which scored Molly Hutchison, who walked earlier in the frame. Freshman Nadia Kemp followed with an RBI-single to center field to plate Hanna Sommer who also walked and moved over to third on Tate’s single.
Leading 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning, the Pack added four runs to its total to extend the lead to 6-0. State had six hits in the inning, highlighted by four consecutive singles.
Hutchison led off the inning with a single to left field, before Sommer followed with a hit to right field. Tate smacked her second hit of the game up the middle to load the bases. Kemp delivered for the second time on the day, driving in two runs with a single through the middle. Senior Scout Albertson laced a single to left field to drive in the third run of the frame and later scored on Renada Davis’ hit to left field.
“We’re starting to hit in bunches which is really good and that’s how you have big innings,” Rychcik added. “The fifth inning of the second game was the only inning that we didn’t have someone reach base, so I thought we did some good things throughout the lineup.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Tate extended the Wolfpack’s advantage to 9-0 by sending the first pitch of her at-bat sailing over the left field fence for a three-run homer. Hannah Yeager walked to open the inning and Sommer followed with a single prior to Tate’s third round-tripper of the season.
Pittsburgh (8-10, 0-2 ACC) mustered just one hit through the first four innings, before collecting an additional two in the top of the fifth.
Junior Emily Weiman (10-5) was fantastic in the circle, picking up a five-inning complete game shutout. She did not allow a runner to reach third base. She ended the contest with five strikeouts, while only issuing two base on balls.
“I thought Emily pitched really well in the first game,” said Rychcik. “She gave up a couple walks, but was really sharp with her command.”
Tate led State at the plate in the first game with a 3-for-3 outing, including a home run and four runs batted in. Kemp was 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Sommer was 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Albertson, Davis, Kirsty Grant and Hutchison all had one hit in the contest.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Sommer put the Pack on top in the first inning with a double to deep right field to score Davis, who singled to open the inning. The Wolfpack struck again in the second inning with two more runs after Lana Van Dyken ripped a single to right field to plate Albertson and Grant on the play to stretch the lead to 3-0.
State scored its fourth run of the contest following a wild pitch that skipped away from Pitt’s catcher, allowing Grant to scamper home from third. Junior Morgan Tharrington drove in the final run of the second game in the bottom of the sixth with a single past the third baseman that plated Grant from second who was hit by pitch to start the frame.
Freshman Courtney Mirabella (2-1) made the start for the Pack in the second game and was very impressive earning the win, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning before a two-run homer by Pitt’s Tori Nirschl ended it. Mirabella had a career-best seven strikeouts in the contest, highlighted by striking out the side in the third and fifth innings.
Weiman would come in to relieve Mirabella in the sixth and hurled the final two innings to earn her second save of the season, retiring two batters by strikeout.
“It was good to see Emily [Weiman] come in and shut the door,” Rychcik said. “We were pushing hard for that fifth run and Morgan [Tharrington] had a big pinch-hit.”
At the plate, Davis paced the group with two hits in four plate appearances, while senior Leah Jones was 2-for-3. Sommer, Tharrington, Tate and Van Dyken each had one hit. Grant was hit by pitch twice in the game and scored three runs, while collecting her fourth stolen base of the season.
NC State will play the final game of its series against Pittsburgh on Sunday, March 9. First pitch is slated for noon at Dail Stadium.