ISU softball to seek recovery after six-game losing streak

Junior Paris Imholz pitches against Texas on Friday, April 11. The Cyclones fell to the Longhorns 2-0 in the second game of the series.

Ben Paulus

If nothing else, the six-game losing streak the ISU softball team is currently on will be one that will test its resiliency.

Iowa State was unable to come away with a win during a three-game series this weekend against a formidable Texas squad. After dropping the first two in a double-header Friday, the Cyclones lost again Saturday, bringing their overall record to 18-21 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12 this season.

Without their ace freshman Katie Johnson available to pitch against Texas due to an unspecified illness, Iowa State had to find a way to switch its pitching rotation.

“Any time you’re without someone who has thrown so many innings like Katie, you’ve got to get pretty creative with how you get through a game,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler.

Johnson has already logged more than 180 innings and 31 starts for the Cyclones thus far in her freshman campaign. Only six of the 39 games for Iowa State have been started by someone other than Johnson.

Junior transfer Paris Imholz saw a majority of the innings in the circle against Texas, starting on the mound all three games during the weekend stretch.

Imholz, along with the rest of the ISU pitching staff had their work cut out for them in facing Texas. The Longhorns own the Big 12’s best offense, hitting .356 as a team.

Iowa State lost the opening game of Friday’s doubleheader 19-6. Imholz, junior transfer Stacy Roggentien, and junior Madison Jones, who made her first appearance on the season after shoulder surgery, combined to allow 14 hits and 11 walks.

Settling down after her first performance, Imholz found her form in the second game of the doubleheader.

“Since it was a doubleheader, I think it was a little bit of vengeance heading into the second game,” Imholz said. “I knew what the batters had and I just tried to attack a little more.”

Although Iowa State lost the second game 2-0, Imholz pitched her first complete game on the season. The only blemish in that contest Imholz had was a two-run homer allowed in the seventh by Texas’ Mandy Ogle.

After dropping the first two, the Cyclones struggled to turn it around in the series finale Saturday. Iowa State allowed 17 earned runs to lose 17-1 in only five innings.

ISU pitchers have struggled with their accuracy as of late. In the first and third games, the crew combined to allow 17 walks.

In the second game, in which Imholz only walked three batters in seven innings of work, the Cyclones were able to stay in contention and give them an opportunity to potentially win the game.

“We have to keep working on attacking the strike zone and trusting the defense,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “We can’t be worried about what happens when they put the ball into play.”

Down late in a 17-1 ballgame that most consider out of reach Saturday, Iowa State brought third baseman Sara Rice in to try and finish out the ballgame on the mound.

“I knew before the season that there was a slight possibility that if someone was out [on pitching],” Rice said. “I didn’t really expect to get in; I haven’t really pitched since sophomore year of high school.”

Rice was able to record a strikeout in her lone inning of work for Iowa State.

The Cyclones will get a short break from Big 12 competition this week. Iowa State will host North Dakota for an afternoon double-header starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday.