The 2013 ACC Women's Softball Tournament gets underway Thursday from Tallahassee, where the record-setting Wolfpack will take on Virginia in the second opening round game at 1:30 p.m.
N. C. State (30-18-1, 13-7), the #2 seed for the tournament, swept the #7 seed Cavaliers (21-27, 4-17) in the regular season, winning the three games by a combined score of 22-1. Should the Pack advance as expected, they would face the winner of #3 seed Maryland (31-25, 13-8) and #6 seed Virginia Tech (34-18, 9-11).
Despite their poor performance in ACC play, Virginia Tech carries an RPI ranking of #37, so the Pack should probably be rooting for the Hokies against the Terps, as a second round matchup with the Blacksburg ladies would do more to help advance State's postseason hopes. The Terps carry an underwhelming RPI ranking of 89th. The Pack are on the bubble at #45, though no team that won 30 regular season games and had an RPI of #45 or better was left out of the NCAA tournament last year.
The Hokies will have their work cut out for them, as they lost two of three at home to the Terps earlier in the year. The Pack were 2-1 against Maryland but held the Terps to three runs in three games. The Pack swept the Hokies, then ranked #19 in the nation, in a weather-abbreviated, two-game series. N.C. State entered the series mired in an eight-game slide but turned its season around with the 10-2 and 9-2 wins. Since the Virginia Tech series, the Pack are 19-5 and enter the ACC tournament having won nine straight games.
Among the many program records set by the N.C. State women this season are team home runs with 83 and counting. Sophomore shortstop Renada Davis has a school-record 24 round trippers so far and is tied for the national lead. Sophomore ace Emily Weiman's 28 wins are a program best and have her tied for third in the nation.
Thursday's first session will be carried on ESPN3 and some regional sports networks (check your local listings). The evening round will be on ESPN3. The semifinals will be broadcast on regional sports networks as well as ESPN3, and the championship game will air on ESPN2.