Cyclones go 2-1 at Iowa Big 4

Zach Gourley

DES MOINES — It was a tale of two days for the ISU softball team at the Iowa Big 4 Tournament in Des Moines this weekend.

The Cyclones beat Northern Iowa, 6-2, in their first game, followed shortly by a convincing 9-1 rout of Iowa on Saturday. However, the Cyclones fell in their Sunday game against Drake, 9-0.

“We played really well today. I thought that our pitchers both threw very well,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Celser on Saturday. “Obviously, when you score nine runs and six runs, your offense did it’s job.”

Junior pitcher Tori Torrescano got the start against the Panthers, giving up just two runs on five hits in six innings of work. Torrescano worked to get ahead in count with her arsenal of off-speed pitches, striking out eight Panther batters on the day.

The Cyclones got another quality pitching start against the Hawkeyes as senior Lauren Kennewell threw all five innings in a 9-1 run-rule victory.

Kennwell, who gave up just one run on four hits, forced Hawkeye hitters into a high number of ground balls while the infield held up well behind her.

“I was just trying to keep the ball low and hit my locations,” Kennewell said. “I knew that Iowa is a really good hitting team and I had to make good pitches. Their whole lineup, one through nine can hit the ball.”

Against Iowa, the Cyclone offense exploded behind a Torrescano grand slam in the bottom of the fourth and an Evan Folks two-run home run the very next inning.

On Sunday, it was an entirely different story for the Cyclones when they faced Drake.

Freshman pitcher Samantha Claman had a difficult collegiate debut, giving up seven runs off six hits, before being replaced at the mound by Torrescano early in the second inning.

“(Claman) came out and she hasn’t ever thrown a Division I game and I think that we didn’t help her at all,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “In the infield, we had a missed play at third and dropped a ball at first.”

Offensively, the Cyclones struggled with Drake pitchers Jordan Gronewold and Rebekah Schmidt, mustering just two hits in the 9-0 loss.

“I’s pretty clear that we can be great or we can not play well at all and I think it’s good to have both,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. There’s excitement and hope about what can be, and at the same time a consciousness that if we don’t always work to get better, our fate is right behind us.”

The Cyclones will be back in action at home for a double-header against Kirkwood this Sunday starting at 2 p.m.