SB: NC State tops UNC, 4-2, to claim series
Posted April 27
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The NC State softball team defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels, 4-2, Sunday afternoon at Anderson Stadium to claim the series after the two teams split a pair of games Saturday. The Wolfpack used a three-run fifth inning to retake the lead and never relinquished it.
“It was important to get the series win,” said head coach Shawn Rychcik. “We’ve been playing well this season, but we didn’t play our best yesterday so I wanted us to come out and play well today. It was nice to see Emily [Weiman] have a better day today with more control of all of her pitches.”
Junior Renada Davis gave the Wolfpack (32-15, 16-8 ACC) a 1-0 lead in the top of the third following her 16th home run of the season. The shortstop blasted her third round-tripper of the weekend to straight away center field.
North Carolina (23-25, 14-11 ACC) countered in the bottom of the inning with two runs in the frame following a couple RBI singles from Amy Nece and Jenna Kelly as the Tar Heels took a 2-1 advantage.
State plated three runs in the top of the fifth to regain the lead, 4-2. Sophomore Lana Van Dyken led off with a single past the UNC second baseman and Davis followed with a single to right center to move Van Dyken over to third base. Sophomore Hanna Sommer was hit-by-pitch to load the bases with one out.
After a lineout back to the pitcher, senior Leah Jones slashed a two-RBI single into right field plating Van Dyken and Davis on the play. Senior Chelsea Tate reached base after the second hit-by-pitch of the inning to reload the bases. Hannah Yeager, a freshman from Los Gatos, Calif., dropped a single into left field to score the final run of the inning and make it 4-2 in favor of the Wolfpack.
“I was looking to get something through the right side to drive in the run,” said Jones in reference to her double in the fifth. “Fortunately, it got through for a hit and I stayed on it long enough for it to reach the outfield and drive in two runs. It feels good to get the win, but I just wanted to help put our team in the best position for the NCAA Tournament.”
“We had some good at-bats in the fifth inning,” Rychcik added. “Leah [Jones] didn’t hit it that hard, but we always talk about putting the ball in play and she did that. I told Hannah [Yeager] that I thought she would get a good first pitch to hit and she hit it to left field for an RBI single.”
Junior Emily Weiman started the game in the circle for the Pack and was really sharp, limiting UNC to just five hits and two earned runs, while striking out eight. She picked up her 27th win of the year in the contest and threw her 36th complete game of the year.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Tar Heels threatened to score after putting runners at second and third with just one out. Weiman struck out the next hitter on a swinging strikeout before dealing a called strikeout to end the game with the bases loaded.
“I had a tough day with their hitters yesterday, so we came up with a different game plan for today,” said Weiman. “I was a little sharper today and I was able to make pitches when I needed to in order to come through for my team. I was more focused today and I really wanted the win.”
Davis led the Pack at the plate with a 2-for-4 outing, highlighted by a solo homer in the third and two runs scored in the contest. Jones, Sommer, Tate, Van Dyken and Yeager each had one hit in the game.
NC State will return to action and conclude its regular season slate on Saturday, May 3 when it makes the trip down to Charlotte for a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. with the second game to follow.