N.C. State Baseball and Softball Win Weekend Series

USA TODAY Sports

The baseball team is creeping ever so close to making the ACC tournament. Also, suck it, Heels.

In case you missed it in the impromptu solo liveblogging in the comments of this article, N.C. State's baseball and softball teams took the respective rubber matches of their weekend ACC series on Sunday. The Pack nine pounded Georgia Tech early and cruised to a 7-1 win, while the women escaped Chapel Hill with a 4-2 win over North Carolina behind Emily Weiman.

The Pack batted around in the first against the Yellow Jackets, with Brett Austin delivering a bases-loaded triple as the big blow in the four-run inning. Immediately preceding Austin's liner down the right field line, Chance Shepard worked a walk after falling behind early in the count. A walk may not seem like much, but Shepard's ability to foul off tough pitches and lay off pitcher's pitches was both impressive and instrumental in the rally. The sophomore collected a pair of walks in the game to push his on-base percentage over .400 (.403) and appears to have supplanted Bubby Riley as the team's leftfielder.

Trea Turner had an RBI double off the left-center field wall to start the scoring in the second. Andrew Knizner, who went 2-for-4, followed with an RBI single. Jake Fincher eventually drove home the Pack's third run of the inning and seventh run of the game on a sac fly. Fincher, who went 2-for-3, also had an RBI single in the first.

Seven runs was plenty for the quintet of Pack pitchers that nearly recorded a team shutout for the second straight game. Logan Jernigan started and was his normal wild self, walking four and hitting two in just 2.1 innings, but he was bailed out by D.J. Thomas, who induced a double play with the bases loaded to get out of the third. After Thomas worked an inning, Joe O'Donnell went 3.1 innings and gave up the lone run allowed by the Pack (which was unearned thanks to a Turner overthrow). Brad Stone went 1.1 innings before Cory Wilder closed it out with a perfect frame in the ninth.

State only allowed two runs in the three-game series, its last in the ACC for a while. The Pack don't have a midweek game this week and host Coastal Carolina on the weekend. After welcoming Richmond to Raleigh on May 7th, the Pack close out their home slate with a three-game set against Wake Forest. After a fast start to ACC play, the Deacons are just 2-8 over their last 10 league games after getting swept at home by Duke over the weekend. A sweep by the Pack when the two programs meet would actually tie the two teams and put State in a pretty good position to make the ACC tournament since Wake closes its season against Virginia and the Pack have Virginia Tech.

Maryland, like Wake, continues to freefall in the standings. Boston College, which has won five straight ACC games to get into contention for the league's 10-team postseason tournament, swept the Terps over the weekend.

Here are your up-to-the-minute standings in the race for 10th:

Team/Place

ACC Record

Games Back

Wake Forest/7th

12-12

--

Georgia Tech/7th

12-12

--

Pittsburgh/9th

9-12

--

Maryland/10th

9-14

--

N.C. State/11th

9-15

0.5

Boston College/12th

8-16

1.5

Virginia Tech/13th

7-17

2.5

The "Games Back" column shows how far the teams below 10th are from overtaking Maryland, but Pittsburgh is also in a vulnerable position (1.5 games ahead of the Pack), and Wake is in play given its series at State and against #1 Virginia. Pitt's series this weekend at Boston College suddenly looks interesting; the Panthers also have a series remaining against Maryland, so a lot can change over the final three weekends.

The softball regular season is just about in the books. The ladies have a Saturday doubleheader at UNC-Charlotte before beginning defense of their league title in the ACC tournament on May 8th in College Park. Some ACC programs do have one series remaining this weekend, but it looks fairly certain that State will end up finishing fourth in the regular season behind Florida State (24-3 in ACC play), Virginia Tech (19-9), and Notre Dame (12-5). It's a shame the Pack (16-8) lost all three of their games against woeful Maryland (4-15) due to inclement weather, as those games may have been enough to propel them into second place. Interestingly, the Hokies, Irish, and Pack all have 32 wins overall. The Seminoles are an impressive 47-6.

Weiman pitched a complete game in Sunday's 4-2 series clincher against the Tar Heels, striking out Lauren Walker with the bases loaded to end the game. Weiman went the distance for the 29th time this year; she allowed just five hits and two earned runs while walking four and fanning eight.

Renada Davis homered for the 16th time this season, her third in the series, and enters the final weekend of the regular season with a .364/448/.769 triple slash line. First basewoman Leah Jones had a two-RBI hit; her average sits at an even .300 on the year, and she is third on the team with 26 RBI. Jones has made just one error in 347chances at first base.

The Pack have taken the series against their rival for two straight seasons.

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