Cyclones seek revenge on Hawkeyes


Photo: Bryan Langfeldt/Iowa State Daily

Third basemen Dalyn Varela tags a runner out during Iowa State’s loss to Texas Tech, 15-5.

Dan Cole

It’s the Hawkeyes.

That fact is sure to add intensity and a “must-win” vibe to any competition. Softball certainly is no exception.

“Rivalry is always huge,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “It’s always fun to play them and even more fun to beat them.”

The Hawkeyes (17-21, 7-5 Big Ten) make their way to Ames on Wednesday afternoon to face the ISU softball team in this season’s installment of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

“We’re all excited to play them,” said ISU senior Dalyn Varela. “It’s a big game. Biggest game of our year for us.”

The Cyclones (12-28, 1-11 Big 12) were swept in a three-game series at Oklahoma State this past weekend and are currently riding a four-game losing streak. Iowa State showed signs of fight during the weekend, losing by a combined total of only six runs over the three games.

“I thought we did really well, but we just did a couple things wrong that cost us the game,” said ISU sophomore Sara Davison.

Iowa took two out of three games against Nebraska this past weekend.

The Cyclones lead the all-time series against the Hawkeyes by a 38-34-1 mark. The rivals met in Tempe, Ariz., earlier this season, where Iowa walked away with a 26-5 victory.

That was then. This is now.

“We’ve come a long way since [Tempe] as a team,” Varela said. “We’re hitting a lot better, we’re making the plays we need to make and we’re keeping our pitchers up when they need to be.”

Iowa, while only 10th in the conference in team batting with a .254 average, ranks third in team pitching with a 2.63 ERA.

Hawkeye pitcher Kayla Massey threw a five-inning complete game in the last meeting with the Cyclones. Massey (8-9) has pitched 15 complete games this year and currently owns a 2.65 ERA.

“When we first faced [Massey], she was probably the best that we had seen at that point,” Davison said. “But now we’ve seen a lot of really good pitching and were starting to adjust to it, so it’ll be a lot different game.”

Massey and teammate Chelsea Lyon have combined to pitch 249.2 of 250.0 innings for Iowa this season. Lyon also has thrown 15 complete games this season and owns a 2.62 ERA.

“They’re both good pitchers,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said of Massey and Lyons. “Both have good screwballs; I think that they both spot the ball well.”

Offensively, freshman Megan Blank and senior Katie Keim lead the Hawkeyes. Blank leads the Big Ten in batting with a .417 average, in doubles with 13 and in triples with four. Keim is batting .325 and leads the team in home runs with five and RBIs with 30.

Wednesday’s game is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Southwest Athletic Complex in Ames.