Devin Wallace has dominated the circle for NC State softball this season. The sophomore pitcher returned to Raleigh this season after a season pitching at Coastal Carolina.
She leads the team in innings pitched by over 70 innings with 160.2 and the success Wallace has had is hard to ignore. The right-hander has struck out 118 batters with a 2.66 ERA while holding opponents to a .237 batting average.
“Physically, I definitely feel like I’m in better shape this year,” Wallace said. “It’s easier to do it when you’re in good shape. It’s definitely a good feeling knowing that you get to lead your team and your coach trusts in you to get the win for most games.”
Rychcik is confident in all of his pitchers, but Wallace has been the go-to pitcher this season when the Pack needs a strong outing. In a recent victory against USC Upstate, Wallace pitched seven innings, allowing one run on only two hits.
“We’ve had some injuries, so some of it has been dictated a little bit by injury,” head coach Shawn Rychcik said. “Devin’s had some really good games and shut some really good teams down, so every time she takes the mound, we feel like it’s going to be one of those outings.”
Wallace has been on Rychcik’s radar since she was in high school when he saw her throw after she was committed to Coastal Carolina. Wallace has increased her velocity and continues to get better, giving her an opportunity at NC State.
“[Coastal Carolina] had a couple pitchers in front of her so she didn’t get the opportunity,” Rychcik said. ”That’s what she wanted and she wanted to have innings, so she’s actually pretty average in the number of innings pitched compared to some pitchers around the league and around the country.”
In high school, she was a talented, well-rounded player. She put up a staggering .73 ERA while striking out 92 hitters in 49 innings. Maybe more impressively, she hit .528 at the plate with 23 RBIs and two home runs. Wallace was a two-time all-conference, all-district and all-state selection.
“I definitely miss being at the plate, but I like being focused on one thing and giving it my full attention,” Wallace said. “In practice, when they do let the pitchers hit, It’s very exciting.”
The full-time pitcher certainly got her chance here in Raleigh. Wallace was always an NC State fan, so after her freshman season at Coastal Carolina where she threw just 68.2 innings, she transferred back to Raleigh where she grew up.
“I am much happier at NC State,” Wallace said. “I love being home so I can play in front of my family and I get to be with all my friends from high school. It’s just a better atmosphere in my opinion.”
Balancing athletics with academics is a normal obstacle for student-athletes, but Wallace really challenged herself by loading up 18 hours this semester. Wallace continues to succeed and challenge herself in time management as she pursues a degree in business administration.
Although Wallace enjoys the success, she doesn’t care much for individual stats and puts the team before herself. The sophomore still has plenty of time to build on her first two seasons around a young team with promising seasons ahead.
“My ultimate goal is to lead the Pack to success,” Wallace said. “I try not to set personal goals for myself, because I just take it one day at a time, but definitely to lead the Pack to success and hopefully an NCAA regional or more.”