Led by freshman shortstop April Visser, the NC State softball team swept Louisville in a three-game series this weekend at Dail Softball Stadium to clinch an ACC Tournament berth.
Visser, who has been on a tear since the beginning of April, launched an extra-innings, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning on Saturday and came through again with a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday to seal the sweep.
The Wolfpack (29-26, 9-15 ACC) entered the weekend needing two wins to clinch a spot in the ACC Tournament and it made an emphatic statement, sweeping a Cardinals (33-20, 12-12 ACC) squad that had won 11 of its previous 15 games.
Two-run home runs from sophomore infielder Logan Morris and junior infielder Skylar Johnston powered the Wolfpack to a 4-3 win in the first game as junior right-hander Devin Wallace tossed a four-hit complete game to pick up the win.
In the second game, an RBI double by Visser and a two-run home run by Morris put NC State up 3-0 after the first inning. Louisville battled back to tie the game at 3-3 and send it into extra innings where the Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to grab a 6-3 lead.
The Wolfpack fought back in the bottom half as Morris drew a bases-loaded walk and Johnston ripped a two-run double down the left field line to even the game at 9-9 and extend the extra-inning affair.
Two innings later Visser decided she had had enough of the three hour and 22 minute-long game, hammering an 0-1 fastball deep to left field for a walk-off, ACC Tournament-clinching home run and a 7-6 victory.
Sunday’s game was a pitchers’ duel, as Wallace and sophomore right-hander Kama Woodall went toe-to-toe with Louisville pitchers Megan Hensley and Taylor Roby for over six innings, with both duos allowing just one run each going into the bottom of the seventh.
After sophomore left fielder Sam Russ reached first base on an error by the second baseman to leadoff the inning and stole second base, Visser stepped to the plate and lined a single down the left field line to score Russ and secure the Pack’s first ACC series sweep since 2017.
Visser has been on a hot streak over her last 14 games, batting .356 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs during that span, and has done the heavy lifting for a Wolfpack lineup that has struggled with inconsistency for most of the season.
NC State will return to action on Wednesday when it takes on Syracuse at 1 p.m. in the first round of the ACC Tournament on the campus of Florida State.