NC State swept nationally ranked Notre Dame in its first ACC softball series of the season and found itself ranked in the subsequent poll, coming in at 25th. The Wolfpack women may have a hard time staying there, as their bats have largely gone silent since cracking the poll. State has gone a respectable 4-2 since entering the poll but managed just 20 runs in those six games, one an embarrassing 5-1 loss to something called Longwood (insert sophomoric joke here).
It took the ladies until the eighth inning to scratch against Lipscomb, which is apparently not a device for mustache maintenance but rather a university. At least they won that one 1-0. The Wolfpack have faced one solid foe in the six-game stretch but dropped to 3-7 against ranked opponents Sunday when they were hammered 13-3 at home against #21 Missouri.
State will now play 11 straight games away from the Dail, and the long stretch of games away from home will likely have much to say regarding whether the team can stay in the polls. Though the team is 7-0 in neutral site games, it has just one road win.
There were some highlights in the recent spate of nonconference action, including Emily Weiman breaking her own program record with 18 strikeouts (to just one walk) in the win over Lipscomb. Weiman also shutout Fordham and combined with Courtney Mirabella to blank Binghamton. Meredith Burroughs homered three times in the six games to bring her season total to six, just one shy of team-leading Molly Hutchison.
Just when the Pack nine seemed to be getting things together (winning six of seven, including taking their opening ACC series against Clemson) Friday night in Coral Gables happened. State took an early 2-0 lead but couldn't hold it thanks largely to the complete inability to throw three strikes before throwing four balls. But despite the staff issuing nine free passes, the score was knotted at 2-2 entering the bottom of the 10th when David Thompson (really, that's his name) walked off with the game-winning homer off Tommy Dejuneas (who had not allowed a hit all year entering the series). George Iskenderian's lone homer of the season, which followed a walk, had tied the game earlier off Cory Wilder, who was even wilder than usual (six walks in three IPs).
Losing the nail-biter seemed to take the wind out the Pack's sails for the rest of the weekend; #19 Miami took the next two easily, winning 9-2 Saturday and 6-0 in the series finale.
At 2-4 now in league play, the Pack better make hay in their next two series, at Boston College and at home against Pittsburgh, as Florida State and North Carolina loom in the weekends that follow. WPN can take some solace at least in UNC's recent struggles. The Tar Heels have lost four of six (including a 13-2 drubbing at the hands of Coastal Carolina and a series loss against the Panthers this weekend).
Last week we took a look at the solid offensive numbers being cobbled together by the Pack regulars. After getting held to four runs in 27 innings at Miami, things look a bit different now.
Spearheaded by Brock Deatherage's 90-point plummet, six of the seven saw their averages drop this week, with Andrew Knizner the lone exception.
The men's golf team placed third in the 18-team field at the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular with teammates David Cooke and Carter Page finishing tied for 8th at +2. Cooke's final round of 68 (-4) was the low round of the tournament.
Virginia Tech took the event with a team score of -3, which was good for a healthy 27-stroke advantage over second place East Carolina.
Nicole Chavis earned All-American honors for the second straight year with a sixth-place result in the women's weight throw at the NCAA indoor track and field championships. Megan Moye, Tiana Patillo, Kenyetta Iyevbele, and Samantha George set a school record in the distance medley relay with a time of 11:10.41. That mark was good for sixth in the event, earning the foursome All-American status as well.
The men's tennis team entered ACC play with a solid 10-3 mark, and each of their losses came by just one match (4-3). That one-match loss trend has continued against league foes; State is 0-3 in ACC play, including 4-3 setbacks to UNC and Louisville, the latter of which went down Friday. The Ville features the nation's #1 ranked singles player in Sebastian Stiefelmeyer. State's duo of Robbie Mudge and Ian Dempster are #17 in doubles.
The women have behaved similarly with an 8-2 nonconference mark but an 0-4 record against league foes that includes a Friday loss against #20 Duke that, for reasons I do not know, was played in Las Vegas. It was considered a home match for the Blue Devils because I guess Vegas and New Jersey are both known for their casinos.