The N. C. State softball team begins it quest for the CWS of collegiate softball Friday, May 16th, two-thirty Eastern Daylight Savings Time in Athens, Georgia. State is the number 2 seed in the four team Athens Regional along with host Georgia, State's first opponent the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Despite the fact that ESPN 2, ESPNU and ESPN 3 are showing a number of games on Friday, there is no indication at this time that State's game will be shown on any of these ESPN Networks. A link to live video of the game can be found at this NCAA softball regional coverage site (it could be that one will have to pay to watch the game).
The following rundown on each of the teams in the Athens Regional is presented as follows.
Georgia is the number 1 seed for the Athens Regional and the number 4 seed in the 64 team NCAA Softball Tournament. Georgia currently has an NCAA RPI of 2.
Georgia won the SEC championship by beating Kentucky for the SEC Softball Tournament Title. Georgia was the number five seed for the tournament with a record of 45-12 (15-9 conference). Offensively, Georgia is led by five-eight Alex Hugo who has a 349 battering average and 23 home runs. Georgia hit 81 home runs during the 2014 season.
Defensively, Georgia has a fielding percentage of 966 and committed 52 errors during the season.
Georgia pitching is led by Sophomore Chelsea Wilkinson who on May 13th was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the week for the second week in a row. Wilkinson has a record of 29-7 with an ERA of 2.04. Gerri Glasco adds to Georgia pitching with a record of 16-5 and an ERA of 2.55.
State, which has a current NCAA RPI of 34, finished fourth in the conference behind regular season and ACC Tournament Champ Florida State, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. State, who lost to UNC in the first round of the ACC tournament, has an overall record of 34-16 (16-8 conference). Offensively State is led by five-five Renada Davis who hit 17 home runs and batted 374. State as a team hit 63 home runs.
Defensively, State with a fielding percentage of 972 has the best fielding percentage in the Regional. State committed 39 errors during the season.
State pitching is lead by junior first team All-ACC pitcher Emily Weiman who has a record of 28-13 and an ERA of 2.51. State pitching is aided by freshman Courtney Mirabella who has a record of 6-3 and an ERA of 3.85.
UAB, which has a current NCAA RPI of 40, was the number 2 seed in the C-USA tournament and lost to Marshall in the first round. UAB has a record of 31-25 (15-8 conference).
Offensively, UAB is led by senior sisters Kristen McGrath and Megan McGrath who hit 13 and 14 home runs respectively, and batted 333 and 322 respectively. Sophomore Caitlin Attfield aids the UAB attack with a batting average of 422 and 5 home runs. UAB hit 54 home runs as a team.
Defensively, UAB has a fielding percentage of 971 and committed 47 errors.
Senior Leigh Streetman leads the pitching for UAB with a record of 19-15 and an ERA of 2.05. Senior Lannah Campbell aids UAB pitching with a record of 12-9 and an ERA of 2.82.
Chattanooga currently has an NCAA RPI of 69 with a record of 34-19 (13-7 conference). Chattanooga won the SoCon Softball Tournament to obtain their bid into the NCAA Softball Tournament.
If Georgia with 81 home runs is nuclear powered, State with 63 home runs is natural gas powered, and UAB with 54 home runs is coal powered, then Chattanooga must be wind and solar powered because they certainly show power outage/shortage hitting only 31 home runs. Sarah Beth Roberts and Jesslyn Stockard tied for team lead in home runs with 6 each; however, Roberts batted 349 to Stockard's 224.
Defensively Chattanooga has a fielding percentage of 953 and committed 73 errors.
Pitching for Chattanooga is led by junior Taylor Deason who has a record of 14-7 and an ERA of 1.21. Aiding Deason is sophmore Katie Henderson who has a record of 19-10 and an ERA of 1.63. Deason and Henderson have the best ERA's of the pitchers noted; however, their won-lost reords are not overly impressive for their ERA's.
Despite UAB's poor won lost record (31-25) as compared to State's (34-16), the game against UAB will be a tough one for the Pack. Weiman has to "be on" in the first inning if she starts (no doubt that she will) and cannot struggle in the first inning like she did against UNC - she gave up 5 runs. Admittedly, if Weiman had thrown without error to first base on a bunt for the second out, and Van Dyken had caught the sharply hit line drive following the bunt (ruled a hit-I say error), State and Weiman would have gotten out of the first inning against UNC without giving up a run.
Georgia seems overpowering and as shown by their seeding is expected to advance and host a super regional. Georgia defeated State on February 21 in a Florida tournament 8-0. Em gave up 8 hits and 7 runs in 3 innings. Georgia's Wilkinson went 5 innings (slaughter rule applied here-Georgia led by 8 after five) giving up only 2 hits. Maybe the Pack will change that. However, if the Pack advances, hosting a super will require monumental upsets everywhere.