Softball Makes Its Home Debut Friday Night In Wolfpack Challenge
Feb. 28, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. – After three consecutive weekends of playing on the road, the NC State softball team will make its 2013 home debut on Friday as the host of the five-team Wolfpack Challenge at the on-campus Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Softball Stadium.
The Wolfpack (7-5-1) will play Stony Brook (4-6) in Friday’s nightcap, a contest that is slated for a 7 p.m. start. It’s the first of four games the Pack will play over three days in the round-robin format event.
Next week, the Pack will host a doubleheader against USC Upstate on Tuesday and a three-game series against Florida State to open its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. In all, first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik and his team will play nine home games in the next 10 days.
“It will be good to play on our own field for the first time this season,” Rychcik said. “Other than the exhibition doubleheader we had here in [September], we haven’t played together on our own field as a team yet. I think the kids are excited to be playing here.”
The Pack has advanced to two championship games in its three tournaments, winning the FIU Panther Invitational in Miami, by beating Kansas 3-2 in the title game and falling to No. 4 Tennessee in the title game of the USF 4-Team Tournament in Tampa. Last weekend, the Pack went 1-1-1 at the rain-altered Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament in Atlanta.
“We’ve shown how good we can be,” Rychcik said. “We’ve picked up a few quality wins, like the one over [No. 12] South Florida and the one over Kansas. We’ve also shown that we can’t take anybody for granted.
“What we need to do this weekend is show that we can play well consistently. We are still searching for what the identity of this team is. Are we a pitching team? Are we a power team? We’ve seen what we can do when we play well.”
State leads the ACC in home runs this season, with sophomore shortstop Renada Davis atop the league with six and freshman designated player Hanna Sommer in third with four homers. Sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman also leads the league with seven wins and 72.2 innings pitched.
“We’ve gotten good production out of a couple of individuals and that’s been good for us,” Rychcik said. “Renada and Emily have done good things for us in stat categories that are important. If your pitcher gets wins and you have someone hitting home runs, that’s the kind of production that really matters.
“We need to get some other people producing like that.”
While the Pack has faced Kansas twice already this season in Miami, losing 8-0 in six innings and winning 3-2 in the FIU title game, the rest of the field is not particularly familiar to the Pack, which has played a total of three games against the other three teams in the tournament. However, Friday’s opponent, Stony Brook, was a member of the America East Conference with Boston University, where Rychcik was the head coach for eight years and assistant for 10.