March 8, 2015
RALEIGH, N.C. – A power display for North Carolina State captivated the skies at the Dail Softball Stadium throughout the weekend. Five more home runs from the hosts on Sunday sent the Wolfpack (10-7, 3-0 ACC) to an 8-3 victory over the University of Notre Dame softball team to complete an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series sweep.
The No. 22/23 Irish (12-9, 0-3 ACC) put together its strongest offensive showing of the weekend against North Carolina State ace Emily Weiman (6-5), belting out seven hits on the afternoon. Weiman earned her second victory of the weekend after going the distance, walking three and striking out six.
Sophomore All-American Karley Wester led off the game by reaching base for the third straight contest following a North Carolina State fielding error. A sacrifice bunt and stolen base moved Wester into scoring position at third base. Senior Katey Haus worked a full-count walk off Weiman, but Weiman got out of the jam by inducing a sharp ground out to shortstop off the bat of junior All-American Micaela Arizmendi.
Renada Davis took the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the first deep and gone to right center field, giving North Carolina State an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Rachel Nasland (5-5) bounced back after walking Lana Van Dyken on four pitches to retire three straight North Carolina State batters and escape the inning,
Nasland shook off a one-out walk in the bottom of the second inning to strike out Hannah Yeager and Morgan Tharrington looking, hanging a zero in the North Carolina State run column.
North Carolina State’s Tyler Ross clubbed her second home run of the weekend with two on and two out in the bottom of the third, pulling one over the wall in the right center field to push the Wolfpack lead to 4-0.
Haus broke up Weiman’s no-hit bid in the top of the fourth inning, crushing a 2-2 pitch deep and gone onto the North Carolina State soccer pitch beyond left field to close the Notre Dame deficit to 4-1. Arizmendi followed with a sharp single through the right side, and pinch runner Morgan Reed stole second base and moved to third on an infield ground out. Weiman grinded the final out by forcing junior Casey Africano to chop out to second base.
The Wolfpack added a run in the bottom of the fourth (5-1), but Nasland performed brilliantly with the bases loaded and one out in the frame. Van Dyken struck out swinging and Molly Hutchison fouled out to Haus at third to strand all three runners on base.
A pair of solo home runs added to the North Carolina State column, including Ross’ second of the day, to push the Wolfpack lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
Haus opened with a solid single to right field in the top of the sixth inning, and senior Cassidy Whidden followed with a double off the right field fence. The Whidden two-bagger plated Haus from second to trim the margin to 7-2. An Africano single through the left side put Notre Dame runners on the corners, but Weiman grounded pinch hitter Carly Piccinich out to first base to stall the rally.
Davis connected on her second home run of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth to push the North Carolina State lead to 8-2. Nasland held strong with two on later in the frame, striking out Meredith Burroughs looking for the third out.
Notre Dame picked up one run in the last ups of the seventh inning. Wester crushed a leadoff triple off the wall in center field against Weiman, and senior co-captain Jenna Simon brought her home with an RBI ground out, closing the final gap to 8-3.
The Irish are scheduled to play two more games in the North Carolina triangle this week, heading next to Campbell for a 6 p.m. (ET) first pitch on Tuesday.
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