Jennifer Patrick-Swift

Jennifer Patrick-Swift will be taking over the NC State Softball team next season. Patrick-Swift most recently coached at Saint Francis University, where she won back-to-back Northeast Conference championships in her last two seasons.

The NC State softball team scored seven unanswered runs in a 7-5 comeback win over the Louisville Cardinals in the series opener at Dail Softball Stadium.

The Wolfpack (24-12, 4-9 ACC) fell behind 4-0 in the fourth inning, but quickly responded with four runs of its own in the same inning and added three more on top of that, which was enough to beat the Cardinals (18-14, 2-5 ACC).

“I called them in after that inning, and I was like, ‘Guys, that’s like one or two swings for us,’” said head coach Jennifer Patrick-Swift. “They know that. They believe that. We’ve been through this. They really believe there’s no deficit we can’t chip away at.”

After a scoreless first three innings, the party got started in the fourth.

Sophomore starting pitcher Aisha Weixlman didn’t give up a hit through the first three innings for the Pack, but the floodgates opened on her in the fourth as the Cardinals hit a solo home run and followed that up with an RBI single and a two-run homer with two outs to go up 4-0.

That was the end of the day for Weixlman as graduate pitcher Maddie McPherson came in to replace her.

But that was just the beginning of the fun as the Pack scored four runs of its own in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, graduate right fielder Taylor Johnson scored on a wild pitch to give the Pack its first run. 

Then shortly after, fifth-year center fielder Brittany Jackson hit an equalizing three-run homer that scored redshirt sophomore designated player Libby Whittaker and freshman first baseman Michele Tarpey, putting the Pack right back in the game and tying the score 4-4.

“We trust our ability,” Jackson said. “We trust our bats. We trust what we’ve been prepping for all season. We did not panic. We kept the vibe the same. We kept believing in each other.”

After a scoreless fifth inning, the Pack loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth and Jackson stepped back up to the plate. Everyone in the ballpark would have gone berserk if she had hit a grand slam, but that was not the case, as she flew out, allowing Johnson to tag up from third to give the Pack its first lead, 5-4.

“Obviously, you want the grand slam, but whenever you can put your team in the lead, it’s always a happy feeling,” Jackson said.

The Pack then added some insurance runs as sophomore infielder Kaylee Lambrecht drilled a single that drove in both freshman infielder Maddy Schmeiser and Tarpey to make it a 7-4 ballgame.

Those runs proved to be critical as the Cardinals hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh, but that was it as the Pack won 7-5.

After coming in with her team down 4-0, McPherson pitched a solid game to get the win, giving up four hits and one earned run while her teammates did the rest. Jackson was the offensive player of the game as she had four RBIs in two at bats. 

The win was also Patrick-Swift’s 100th in her fourth season as head coach of the Wolfpack.

“I’m one small piece of an amazing group of young women,” Patrick-Swift said. “To me, it’s a tribute to them and how hard they’ve worked, how bought-in they’ve been and receptive since I’ve been here. Hopefully it’s 100 with many more to come, but for me, it’s just about us getting a win tonight against Louisville, and let’s take the series tomorrow.”

The Pack is in action again tomorrow in game two of the series at 1 p.m. as it hopes to take home its second ACC series of the year.

Assistant Sports Editor

I'm Ben Ellis. I am in the NC State Class of 2023 majoring in history. I've been writing for Technician since November of 2019.