Pack Softball Prepares for First ACC Road Trip to No. 11 Florida State
March 14, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. – The top two teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) preseason coaches poll will square off in a three-game series this weekend when the NC State Wolfpack softball team visits the 11th-ranked Florida State Seminoles. Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start, while Sunday’s contest is slated for noon at JoAnne Graf Field.
The Wolfpack (15-6, 6-0 ACC) was picked to finish second in the 2014 ACC preseason coaches poll with 87 points, including three first-place votes, while the Seminoles (22-4, 3-2 ACC) were chosen as the top team with 98 points and eight first-place votes.
Last year the teams met four times with Florida State sweeping the season series, but the Wolfpack avenged those three losses with a win when it mattered most – the ACC Championship game. The Pack defeated the Seminoles 1-0 in the 2013 championship game to win its first ACC Championship title since 2006.
State enters the weekend after winning its last 14 games, which is the second-longest win streak in school history just shy of the 16 consecutive games won by the 2007 squad. During the streak, the Wolfpack has compiled a batting average of .340, while limiting its opponents to a .146 clip.
The Pack has also outhit opponents 116-47, outscored opponents 79-12 and blasted more homers than the opposition, 14-2.
In its last outing, State won both games of a doubleheader against Radford, as the squad took the first game 7-0 before winning the second game by a score of 4-0. Freshman Molly Hutchison tied the school record with six runs batted in (RBI) during the first game, hitting a two-RBI single in the third and blasting a grand slam in the fifth. It was Hutchison’s team-leading sixth round-tripper of the season and the Pack's first grand slam of the year.
Junior Emily Weiman pitched both games of the doubleheader and threw complete seven inning game shutouts in those contests. She only allowed five combined hits on the day, limiting Radford to just three hits in the first game and two in the second. In her last 82 innings pitched, she is 12-0 with a 0.51 earned run average (ERA).
On Tuesday, NC State received two votes for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA)/USA Today top-25 poll. It was the first time the squad has received votes in the poll since the preseason.
SCOUTING FLORIDA STATE
The Seminoles defeated Florida Gulf Coast in their last outing on Wednesday and split a conference doubleheader with Virginia Tech the previous day. Last weekend, FSU took two of three from Virginia.
Maddie O’Brien leads the ‘Noles offensive attack at the plate with a .481 batting average, which leads the conference. She has 37 hits and nine homers both of which are good for the conference lead. Tiffani Brown is second on the squad in hits with 34 and batting average with a .378 clip.
In the circle, Lacey Waldrop has compiled a 0.53 ERA on the season with 115 strikeouts. She has only allowed seven earned runs in 92 innings pitched. Last year in the ACC Championship game, the Wolfpack was able to score one run off the Seminoles ace and that proved to be the difference.