Feb 17, 2013
Tampa, Fla. — The NC State softball team lost to No. 4 Tennessee in the championship game of the USF 4-Team Tournament at the USF Softball Stadium on Sunday morning.
The Pack (6-4) gave up four runs in the first inning against the undefeated Volunteers (10-0), but cut that lead in half on sophomore shortstop Renada Davis' third home run of the season, a two-run shot over the left-field wall in the top of the fifth.
The Volunteers answered with a wind-blown three-run shot by Raven Chavanne in the bottom of the inning and added an unearned run in the sixth to provide the final margin.
Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe (4-0) struck out 13 Wolfpack batters in the game and limited State to four hits on the day. Tennessee, meanwhile, had 16 hits, five of which went for extra bases, and left 10 runners on base.
NC State sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman (6-3) started the game, but gave up six hits and four runs in the opening frame and was relieved by freshman lefthander Chelsea Stanfield, who pitched five innings and struck out two.
"They jumped on Emily pretty quick, but she had a great weekend for us," said first-year coach Shawn Rychcik. "I thought Chelsea came in and gave us a chance."
In the fourth inning, the Wolfpack had two runners on base with one out and Bethaney Wells, who has led the Pack in home runs the last two seasons, at the plate. She pounded a long fly ball over the left-field wall, but it curled on the wrong side of the foul pole. She ended up hitting a pop-up to the shortstop and the inning ended with a strikeout.
"We just missed that shot by Wells, which would have put us within one run and then Renada hit her home run to get us within two," Rychcik said. "We were in the game, but they put some more pressure on us with that three-run homer.
"But that's why they are the fourth-ranked team in the country."
Rychcik was pleased with Stanfield's second appearance against the Volunteers. She faced them for two innings in Friday night's 7-0 loss.
"She did a good job, with three runs in five innings," Rychcik said. "She showed us what she has. We are going to need her this season and I thought it was a good game for her confidence."
The Wolfpack will play in its third tournament of the season next weekend when it travels to Woodstock, Ga., for the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament, a six-team round-robin format event.
The Pack will open against Northern Colorado next Friday at 10 a.m., followed by a 3 p.m. matchup against host Kennesaw State. The Pack will also face Jacksonville State, Youngstown State and Bowling Green during the weekend.
Keep up with Wolfpack softball all season long on Twitter (@PackSoftball) and on the NC State Softball page on Facebook.