Iowa State experiences offensive struggles in series agianst Oklahoma


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

Ben Paulus

The Cyclones did not start off their Big 12 season the way they had hoped. Iowa State ended a three-game series against No. 16 Oklahoma in which they were outscored a combined 35-2 on the weekend.

Of Oklahoma’s eight losses, only one has been to a non-ranked opponent. Losing three-straight games against an OU team, which is a year removed from a Women’s College World Series championship, isn’t something for Iowa State to be overly concerned about.

The Cyclones own the third best offense in a very competitive Big 12 conference, and average a shade over five runs a game. Yet the Sooners were able to limit Iowa State to just two runs over 15 innings.

Iowa State had opportunities to score against Oklahoma, but the timely hits the Cyclones have gotten all season just weren’t seeming to go their way.

“We just need to do a better job taking advantage of our opportunities,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler on the Cyclones’ hitting. “I think we can do much better offensively [than this weekend].”

All year long the Cyclones have been productive offensively, especially when it comes to not stranding many runners on base. That is something Iowa State will need to continue in order to stay competitive in the Big 12.

Iowa State’s offense isn’t solely to blame for the recent struggles. The Cyclones pitchers labored their way through a tough OU batting order, surrendering over 10 runs in each contest.

Freshman Katie Johnson, who leads the Big 12 in innings pitched, is trying to find a rhythm heading into the conference season. Johnson pitched in the first and third games against Oklahoma, allowing 17 earned runs in eight innings.

“It all comes down to execution, they did what they needed to do,” Johnson said. “As a pitcher I just have to continue to stick to the game plan and we just have to execute.”

Iowa State is searching for a way to turn it around. After a hot start to the season, the Cyclones have dropped eight of their last 10 ball games.

In order for the Cyclones to be successful in a talent-packed conference, Iowa State will need to execute its game plan in every aspect of the game. Whether that means making some tough plays on defense or getting some timely hits on offense.

Gemeinhardt-Cesler is confident that her Cyclones will continue to work hard and be able to get beyond the tough weekend.

“I think the biggest thing is the pitchers need to have a good understanding of how they threw in certain situations versus others and applying that,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “And then just knowing that our offense can do better day in, day out and just show up every time.”

Iowa State is heading into a week in which the Cyclones will travel to Cedar Falls for a game April 2, before heading down to Stillwater, Okla. for a three-game set with Oklahoma State on April 4.

“It’s tough to start out with three losses [in Big 12 play], just because we’re such a better team than we have been,” said ISU shortstop Lexi Slater. “I think if we put it behind us and come to practice ready to work, than we are capable of sweeping this week.”