Softball team makes steady strides


Chenyan Shan

Iowa State’s Tori Torrescano winds up to throw to an awaiting South Dakota hitter Feb. 9 at Bergstrom Football Complex. Iowa State won 11-4.

John Barry

Going up against some of the nation’s best athletes can be a challenging but encouraging step in any season.

The ISU softball team was in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Easton Classic during the first days of March. Two games against No. 1 Alabama and two games against Saint John’s would produce mixed results for the young team.

In day one, Iowa State was down to its final out in the top of the seventh inning, trailing the Red Storm 9-7. Sarah Hawryluk walked and advanced on a fielder’s choice by Brittany Gomez, leaving the Cyclones with runners on first and second with Erica Miller at bat.

Miller’s second career triple plated both runners to tie the game before Tori Torrescano’s home run gave the Cyclones their first lead since the third inning 11-9. Pitcher Taylor Smith (4-2) would go on to close out the bottom half of the inning to pick up the win.

“I think anytime you get a win like that, when you’re down to the last out, it will boost the team’s confidence and morale,” Gomez said. “It showed us that we can score runs with our backs against the wall.”

Iowa State dropped two games to Alabama during the weekend, losing 13-4 on March 1 and getting shut out the following day 6-0 against pitcher Jackie Traina.

“Traina is one of the best pitchers we will face all year,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “She is similar to some of the top pitchers we will face in the Big 12 this year like Kellani Rickets of Oklahoma and Cainon of Baylor, so it’s great preparation for them.”

In day two of the triangular, the Cyclones handled Saint John’s much easier. Miller led the team with a record-breaking seven RBIs and Gomez increased her steal total to 11 for the season as the team beat the Red Storm 11-1. 

Smith threw her second complete game of the season, allowing one run on seven hits. The junior walked none and struck out one.

Miller continued her red-hot hitting with another home run and bumped up her batting average for the season to .512.

“It’s great having Brittany [Gomez] and Sarah [Hawryluk] in front of me in the batting order,” Miller said. “I keep telling them that if they can get on base, I should be able to make contact and drive them in.”

The Cyclones return to the field next at the Fresno State Classic on March 7-9 with competition starting at 7 p.m. March 7 against host Fresno State.