The Pack nine completed the sweep Sunday in easy fashion, putting up a five-spot in the bottom of the second and cruising to a 9-2 victory. Preston Palmeiro had two more hits to stay above .400 (.410 to be exact) and Andrew Knizner went 4-for-4 to raise his average to a not-too-shabby .347, but the big blow came off the bat of Joe Dunand. The freshman’s third home run of the season was a three-run job that capped the scoring in the second. Ryne Willard, who had a pair of hits and three RBI, doubled home a pair in front of Dunand’s blast to left.
Johnny Piedmonte left the game after recording just one out. He had a shaky start, making a throwing error, allowing a couple of hits, and issuing a four-pitch walk before being pulled. Piedmonte has had injury troubles in the past, so hopefully his early exit was performance and not injury related.
Joe O’Donnell made the case for more time toeing the rubber by relieving Piedmonte and picking up the win with 6.1 innings of two-hit baseball. The sophomore allowed just one unearned run to lower his ERA to 1.35 in 12 relief outings. He’s 3-0 on the season.
The Pack will play at BB&T field in Charlotte against UNCC Tuesday night before hosting Florida State in a pivotal series this weekend.
Shawn Rychcik got serious this weekend in Atlanta, pitching senior ace Emily Weiman for every inning of every game. Fortunately for Weiman, the women’s softball team needed just five innings to dispatch of Georgia Tech in the rubber match of the series. Weiman allowed four hits, a walk, and struck out six in the abbreviated 10-0 win.
Tyler Ross’s eighth home run spearheaded the offensive outburst. The sophomore’s dinger was her eighth and her five RBI pushed her team-leading total to 31.
Records fell in the game as Weiman’s win was the 91st of her career, the most ever for a Pack pitcher. Renada Davis, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two batted in, reached safely for the 22nd straight game, a school record.
After a midweek doubleheader in Conway against Coastal Carolina, the Pack host ACC favorite Florida State in Raleigh over the weekend.
When NC State plated five runs in the 15th to beat Boston College 9-4 last Saturday, it sparked an offensive onslaught that saw the Pack score 49 runs in a 25-inning stretch, culminating in Friday's 14-5 win over Pittsburgh. The Pack nine plated a more pedestrian seven runs to take the series Saturday with a 7-1 win. Finishing the series with a sweep Sunday would put State over .500 in the ACC at 6-5 and boost the team's overall mark to 17-9.
Before the extra-inning win over BC, the Pack were nearing offseason beard growing time at just 11-9 overall and 2-5 in the league, but the five-game winning streak has revived at least a pulse. But a 14-0 win over Elon and a 16-5 win over NC A&T are not exactly the feats the selection committee will be looking for. The team certainly will have no shortage of opportunities for marquee wins with Florida State (#10 in NCBWA poll), Louisville (#8), and Virginia (#12) remaining on the schedule. Fortunately all three of those series will take place at the Doak, where State is 12-1.
The road trip to Chapel Hill is looking a little less formidable than usual, as the Heels are just 15-11 with a losing mark in league play (5-6). The Heels dropped two of three against Pittsburgh, for comparison's sake. Of course they remain ranked (#22). State also has series against Notre Dame (bad) and Wake Forest (pretty good—the Deacs mash).
Preston Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in Saturday to raise his average to .406, a mark that is among the five best in the ACC. His 30 runs batted in trails only Wake Forest's Will Craig. The sophomore first baseman is the lone Pack regular with more walks (10) than strikeouts (9) on the season.
Freshmen Brian Brown (3-1, 3.29 ERA) and Tommy DeJuneas (1-1, 0.47 ERA) continued to impress against Pitt. Brown struck out eight and allowed just one run in five innings. DeJuneas got an eight-out save, recording four of the eight outs via strikeout. It was his second save in a debut season that's seen him hold opponents to a paltry .100 batting average against.
Johnny Piedmonte (1-1, 1.45) is the likely starter in Sunday's finale.
Things have been trending in the opposite direction for the women's softball team. After collapsing in epic fashion last weekend at Pitt, giving up six runs in the bottom of the seventh to lose a walk-off 9-8, the Pack dropped three of four before salvaging the second half of a doubleheader against Georgia Tech Saturday.
At 18-13 overall and 5-3 in a league not known for its softball prowess, the Pack has some work to do to return to the NCAA tournament for a third straight season. Seniors Renada Davis and Emily Weiman did their best in the 7-1 win over the Jackets to right the ship. Davis went 4-for-4 with a pair of runs scored to raise her season average to .330, a mark that leads the team. Weiman went the distance, allowing just two hits, for her 13th win of the season and 90th of her career. The 90th victory ties Weiman with Abbie Sims for the most all-time by a Pack hurler in her career.
The rubber match is Sunday at noon.