UL Softball Preview: North Carolina St.
The 9th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team will take on the North Carolina St. Wolfpack on Friday, in their first game in the Louisiana Classic Tournament at Lamson Park.
The Louisiana/North Carolina St. match-up, the third game on the tournament schedule, and the 2015 regular season opener for both squads, is slated for Friday at 3 o'clock, with action in the first game of the tournament beginning at 10 am.
North Carolina St., members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, returns seven starters from last year’s squad, which finished with a record of 36-18 and only graduated five seniors.
The Wolfpack, who are ranked number 31 in the preseason NFCA poll, which was released last week, is picked to finish third in the ACC this year, behind Florida St. and Notre Dame.
Last season, NC State finished the season with a 36-18 record, including a 16-8 mark in ACC play, advancing to an NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, where they won the first two games of an NCAA Regional, before losing to fourth-seeded Georgia.
Only in their 15th season of NCAA softball, NC State has appeared in four NCAA Regionals, while capturing one regular season ACC title, along with two ACC Tournament crowns.
Offensively, the Wolfpack hit a .275 in 2014 with 67 home runs and 226 runs batted in, along with 39 stolen bases.
Senior shortstop Renada Dais led the way for NC State last season, hitting a .375, along with 19 homers and 39 RBI's, while junior third baseman Lana Van Dyken, who also returns this season, hit a .361 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI's.
Last season, NC State out-hit the opposition, .275/.240, and out-homered opponents, 67/39, while stealing 39 bases in 49 attempts
In the circle, the Wolfpack returns senior right-hander Emily Weiman, who went 30-15, with a 2.73 ERA., garnering First-Team All-ACC accolades last season, after winning 33 games in 2013.
The top newcomer for the Wolfpack will likely be catcher/first baseman Maggie Hawkins, who transferred to NC State after being a two-year starter at Hofstra, where she accumulated nine homers and 48 RBI's, while being tabbed a First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection a season ago.
Louisiana leads the all-time series with NC State, 2-0.
The Cajuns will play NC State on Friday at 3 o'clock, before playing twice more on Saturday, taking on Central Arkansas at 12:30 pm, and Eastern Illinois at 3 o'clock.
UL wraps-up play in the tournament on Sunday at 2 pm, when they face Eastern Illinois.
You can hear all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420, and espn1420.com, beginning with the pre-game show 20 minutes prior to first-pitch for each game.