ISU softball begins home stretch with Texas


Junior Lexi Slater bats against Oklahoma on March 29 at the Cyclone Sports Complex. The Cyclones fell to the Sooners 2-14.

Ben Paulus

After a promising start to the season, the ISU softball team (18-18, 1-5 Big 12) are scrambling to find consistency in all aspects of its game.

After falling to .500 on the season April 9, the Cyclones will try and right the ship heading into a three-game series with Big 12 opponent Texas (23-16, 3-1 Big 12).

Iowa State has dropped eight of its past 10 contests, including five of six to start off the conference season.

When the Longhorns come to town April 11, it will be the start of a nine-game home stand for the Cyclones, which is the longest of the year.

At times, the pitching — led by freshman Katie Johnson who made her 31st start on the season against Drake — has been dominant for Iowa State. But as of late, the ISU pitchers have struggled to find their control.

“We’ve really got to limit our walks. I think Drake scored five runs off of issued walks,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “I know Katie and Coach [Brittany] Weil-Miller have really been working hard on some things [to eliminate walks].”

Iowa State’s pitchers will have their work cut out for them against Texas, which leads the Big 12 in team hitting with a .348 batting average.

While Iowa State would benefit from more consistency on the mound this weekend, the Cyclones’ woes offensively have also contributed to the recent struggles.

The hitting for Iowa State has been explosive, from the leadoff spot down to number nine in the order. Lately, however, the team has struggled to find a rhythm throughout its lineup for all seven innings.

The ISU offense can manufacture runs in a number of ways, whether it’s speedster Brittany Gomez aggressively taking extra bases or the power duo of Lexi Slater and Aly Cappaert driving in runs, Iowa State does not lack promise.

For the Cyclones, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together at the same time for the whole game.

“I think we’ve just got to settle down and remember how we’re supposed to play,” said ISU center fielder Brittany Gomez. “As a team, we’ve really just got to hit the way we know we can.”

With a talented Texas team coming to Ames, Iowa State will have to clean up its play all around in order to get that elusive second conference victory.

“We’ve really got to clean up the little things,” Johnson said. “Texas is very tough, so we’ll definitely have to clean some things up in all three aspects of the game: pitching, hitting and fielding.”

Iowa State will take on Texas on April 11 in a double-header beginning at 2 p.m. with the second game right after the first. The Cyclones and Longhorns will face off in a third game at noon April 12 with no game April 13, which was changed on the ISU schedule April 10.