Cyclones split with Jayhawks

Darrin Cline

Iowa State used its home-field advantage to defeat the visiting Kansas Jayhawks and pick up a second Big 12 win Friday, 4-3. However, the Jayhawks rallied Saturday to split the series, 8-6.

“All aspects of our game were on. Friday was a perfect example of what can happen when we come together and mesh together as a team,” said Cyclone first baseman Erica Miller.

Kansas put up the first run in Friday’s bout before the Cyclone women found their groove. In the bottom of the third inning, Heidi Kidwell and Sara Davison found their way on base. The Jayhawks offered some welcome assistance, when an outfield error allowed Kidwell to cross the plate.

Davison had advanced to third, and made the bold play to steal home. Erica Miller added a solo home run to give the home team a 3-1 lead. The blast gave Miller her 10th homer of the season.

“It feels good to have some of that weight off my back. Coming into the season my goals were to have 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and bat above .300,” Miller said, who is currently batting .320 and stands at 37 RBIs.

Marissa Ingle then tied the game for Kansas with a two-run home run. With the teams knotted at 3-3, Iowa State’s Amandine Habben stepped to the plate. Speedster Jennifer Drahozal waited at third, and a ground out by the ISU catcher allowed Drahozal to cross the plate for the go-ahead run.

“We took our opportunities, and a lot of people came through for us when we needed it. It showed our abilities in being able to come back and not give up,” said third baseman Dalyn Varela.

Saturday’s game was back and forth early but went the way of the Jayhawks. Both teams opened with big offenses early. Kansas scored three runs in the top of the first inninng, and Iowa State countered with four in the second, powered by a Tori Torrescano two-run home run.

After two innings of play, the teams had already tied their run total from the first matchup. The Cyclones manufactured two more runs in the fourth inning before the Jayhawks put the game away.

Trailing 6-3, the Kansas sluggers loaded the bases. Left fielder Maggie Hull took relief pitcher Lauren Kennewell yard with a grand slam.

“We kind of got down after the home runs, and we didn’t take advantage. We tried to force runs instead of just playing the game,” Varela said.

Kansas had pulled ahead 7-6, but stymied the Cyclone offense for the remaining three at-bats. Laura Vickers contributed a solo home run to make the score 8-6, and give Kansas the hard-fought victory.

“Our defense didn’t play as well, I don’t think, and weren’t as aggressive as we were Friday,” Miller said. “We were hesitant and let them jump on us first.”

Rachel Zabriskie started both games for Iowa State, picking up one win. Lauren Kennewell took the loss as a reliever in the second game.

“It’s always nice to get that conference win, and it showed us that we can play hard and we can score runs. It can give us a strong push going into the rest of the season,” Miller said.

The Cyclones will return to action at home next weekend when they host the Baylor Bears.