The Wolfpacker

January 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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74 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL F irst-year NC State softball coach Jennifer Patrick-Swift might not know her starting lineup, but she knows what will help decide it. Patrick-Swift wants a team full of hitters, preferably ones with home run power. Last season, NC State hit just .250 with 36 home runs, both statistics the new coach wants to see radically changed. Her squad at Saint Francis slugged a staggering, nation-leading 83 home runs while hitting .267 in 2018. "Our expectations are to make it to Okla- homa City," Patrick-Swift said, referencing the site of the Women's College World Series. "That is the end-all, be-all for our sport. That is our goal — win regional, super regional and get to Oklahoma City and have a good couple of days." Patrick-Swift's philosophy might be dif- ferent from other college coaches, but if her infielders end up being among the top nine hitters, then adjustments will be made and some players will learn how to play the outfield. "We are going to be a power-hitting team one through nine, and they will be able to hit it out," Patrick-Swift said. "At the same time, we'll have some speed in there to make things happen. We'll play small ball if we need to." Patrick-Swift's dedication to playing aggressive softball means one thing will never occur in the first inning of any game. "We will not do bunting in the first inning," she said. "You can take that to the bank. We are going to swing for the fences." The Wolfpack went 23-31 overall last year and 5-18 in the ACC, so no starting spot is locked up. The home run hitting will likely take care of itself and will always be a prominent aspect in recruiting. However, NC State will need to turn its pitching around after a rough season in the circle last year. The Wolfpack finished with a 3.51 earned run average and allowed 376 hits with 190 walks and 50 hit batters in 349 in- nings last year. Both junior Devin Wallace and sophomore Kama Woodall return, plus freshman Sydney Nester of Hillsville, Va., will get her shot. "If you want to be one of the top teams in the country, a huge part of that is pitch- ing," Patrick-Swift said. "It starts and ends in the circle. "When you have a 1.00 ERA or under, there is a pretty good chance you will win a lot of games." LONG BALL New Coach Jennifer Patrick-Swift Wants A Power-Hitting Squad Last season, sophomore second baseman Chandley Garner led NC State with 11 home runs and 31 runs batted in, and was fourth on the squad with a .276 batting average. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP SOFTBALL PREVIEW

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