Softball Comes Up Short in Game Two at UNC
April 26, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The NC State softball team dropped a hard-fought contest in the second game of the doubleheader at North Carolina, 11-7, Saturday afternoon at Anderson Stadium. The Wolfpack trimmed the deficit to one with five runs in the sixth, but ultimately fell just short.
“It’s disappointing to get the split,” said head coach Shawn Rychcik. “I’d like to see our pitchers throw a little better because seven runs should be enough to win a game. We had some really good at-bats and the team never quit, so I’m happy about that.”
The Wolfpack (31-15, 15-8 ACC) struck first in the contest thanks to a leadoff home run from junior Renada Davis. It was her 14th homer of the year and fifth leadoff blast of the season. UNC countered with three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead.
State added its second run of the game in the third after Davis’ second round-tripper of the game. The Tomball, Texas native has now recorded three multi-homer games this season and eight for her career.
A five-run fourth inning gave North Carolina a seemingly commanding lead, but NC State responded with five runs in the top of the fifth to pull within one.
Senior Kirsty Grant led off the frame with her third homer of the season to straight away center field. After a pair of singles from sophomore Hanna Sommer and senior Leah Jones, junior Sara Lippard walked to load the bases.
Coach Rychcik decided to go to his bench and bring Tyler Ross, who had a pinch-hit homer in game one of the doubleheader, on to pinch-hit. The freshman delivered with a grand slam to deep left field to trim the deficit to 8-7.
“I’ve been working on some specific things in practice and fortunately, I got two really good pitches to hit today,” said Ross. “Pinch-hitting is kind of nerve-wrecking because you’re in there just for that purpose which is to get a hit. I’m glad I was able to deliver in my at-bats to help the team.”
“Tyler [Ross] had some real quality at-bats in both games,” Rychcik added. “She’s been swinging the bat well in practice and really maturing at the plate. Her at-bat in game one was huge and for her to duplicate it in game two was really impressive. It was a good day for her and I’m really happy for her.”
Unfortunately for the Pack, the Tar Heels were able to retire the next hitter to get out of the inning and added three more runs in the sixth to stretch the lead to 11-7.
Junior Emily Weiman (26-12) started the game and pitched an inning and a third before being relieved by freshman Courtney Mirabella. Mirabella threw two innings prior to giving way to sophomore Chelsea Stanfield.
The Wolfpack will return to the field on Sunday, April 27 for the series finale at UNC. First pitch of the contest is slated for 1 p.m.