Wolfpack softball put the rest of the league on notice in the past week with a trio of dominating performances to sweep North Carolina A&T. Currently sitting at sixth in the ACC, the Pack will look to continue improving as the season progresses to keep climbing up the conference ladder.
In a three-game series with a combined score of 39-2 in favor of NC State, it seemed the Pack was nearly unstoppable. The heightened play was championed by multiple big contributors, including redshirt junior shortstop Randi Farricker.
Farricker managed to tie the program record for most home runs in a single game during the last game in the series with three. She stepped up to the plate for three at-bats and connected enough with all three to send them flying over the fence. She was also able to post five RBIs, making her one of the biggest contributors to the Pack’s offense in the 17-1 victory.
Game one of this series was certainly the closest despite a final score line of 8-0. Despite an eight-run difference between the teams, N.C. A&T could’ve had confidence in its ability to come back in the next game with most of the Pack’s offense coming in a second-inning frenzy.
Game two of Friday’s doubleheader was much more one sided, with the Pack winning 14-1 behind extremely consistent offensive play. Redshirt senior center fielder Angie Rizzie led the way in this one, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs and scoring three runs herself. The Pack managed to score at least one run in each inning in this specific game, only adding to how dominant the team was over the weekend.
Overall, NC State has a lot of ground to cover in the ACC. Despite the top four teams in the standings having a considerable game advantage over the Pack, boasting conference winning percentages of .700 and over, NC State is only one game behind Syracuse for fifth place.
The Orange currently sits at .500 in conference play on the season with a 6-6 record. The Pack falls one game under Syracuse with a .476 percentage that results from being 10-11 in conference. While any push into the top four in the ACC before the conclusion of the regular season would be quite the feat, a top-five finish is very attainable.
Notre Dame and North Carolina are also in the running for a top-five ACC finish, with each team boasting a conference winning percentage of over .400. Despite a heavily-contested race for fifth, NC State has all of the tools it needs to achieve that goal by the end of the season as tournament time begins.
The Pack currently has three players hitting over .300 on the year, something that will certainly contribute to continued success for this team if it can be maintained. This most recent series against North Carolina A&T was a clear indicator of how explosive this offense was; however, against more challenging opponents this year, like Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, the bats have mostly gone cold.
On the defensive side of the game, the Pack could certainly make improvements on the number of errors committed. NC State has posted 29 errors this season, compared to the 24 put up by its opponents. Cleaning up small mistakes in the field would be a big boost, as making the routine plays is often the biggest difference maker.
The first look at life after the 3-0 sweep comes in the shape of a series against Pittsburgh (10-22, 5-17 ACC) over the weekend of April 9-11. Four matchups against a below-average Pitt team will provide the Pack with plenty of opportunity to increase that ACC win percentage and move up into the top five for the time being.