ISU softball takes 4-0 record on the road to Troy Cox Classic


Jen Hao Wong/Iowa State Daily

Freshman right-handed pitcher Katie Johnson is pitching during Iowa State’s 3-0 win over South Dakota State at Feb. 8 at Bergstrom Football Complex.

Ben Paulus

The ISU softball team will be hitting the road for a matchup with New Mexico State for the Troy Cox Classic this weekend. The Cyclones will be trying to build upon their perfect 4-0 start to the season.

Iowa State is scheduled to face Weber State, Colorado State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi one time each, and New Mexico State twice, for a total of five games in three days.

ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler expects good competition from the field at the Troy Cox Classic, but ultimately this weekend will be determined by how well her squad is able to execute their game plan.

“It goes back to being able to control what we can control,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “It really doesn’t matter who we are playing. If we are able to eliminate some of the mistakes we made this past weekend, then we will be fine.”

Overall, Gemeinhardt-Ceseler was pleased with how her team performed at the Cyclone Invitational, but knows the team needs to continue working to get better.

“I thought it was a big positive that we won all of our games this past weekend,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “I thought we probably could have done a better job scoring some runners when we had them in scoring position.”

The Cyclones have made their offense a point of emphasis this year. Through the first four games of the season, Iowa State has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 15-6, while batting for a team average of .333.

“I think this year, more than anything, we’ve really focused on hitting over our goal of .315 as a team,” said right fielder Sarah Hawryluk. “Everyone has been focused on doing their job, so setting that goal high and striving for it has been the biggest contributor so far.”

Freshman catcher Rachel Hartman attributes the hot offensive start to the coaching.

“I think the coaches are allowing us to hit with our own style but also in the way that they teach,” Hartman said. “We do a lot of front toss and a lot of work on mechanics, and I feel like that has helped us a lot.”

In addition to the hitting success to start the season, the pitching of freshman Katie Johnson has been crucial to their hot start for Iowa State. With five games in New Mexico, the Cyclones will rely heavily on their pitching staff this weekend.

Johnson will likely get the majority of innings, but Gemeinhardt-Cesler also hinted that junior transfer Paris Imholz might be back from her wrist injury as early as this weekend.

“We’re hoping Paris is ready to throw,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “She’ll throw live [in practice], so then that next step would be for her to pitch in a game.”

The competition at the Troy Cox Classic will begin the stretch of 24 straight games on the road for Iowa State.