Softball home field prepares for Gopher visit

Darrin Cline

Home field has been relatively friendly to the ISU softball team thus far this season. Standing at 8-3 playing in Ames, the team will try to use the friendly atmosphere as they play host to the University of Minnesota.

The matchup will mark the first time the Gophers (19-16, 1-3 Big Ten) have played in Ames during Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler’s tenure with the Cyclones (17-13, 1-3 Big 12).

“It’s just so nice playing at home because our fans are great and we have a lot of parents in town this week because we have so many games this week and that’s really nice for the players,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

While it is the Gophers’ first visit, the two teams are very familiar with each other. It will be the 70th meeting between the schools, in a series where Minnesota has a 39-30 advantage.

Last season, the Cyclones made the trip to the Minneapolis for a doubleheader. The teams split separate 6-5 decisions, with the Cyclone loss coming in an extra-inning thriller.

“I think that they battle and we need to make sure that we play like we did [Tuesday] in order to have a good chance of winning,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

Iowa State’s recent demolition of rival Northern Iowa, 11-3, has set the stage for the squad to have a repeat performance, and pitcher Rachel Zabriskie stands just seven strikeouts away from cracking into the top 10 in Big 12 history.

The troublesome offense for the Cyclones appears to be rectified following the UNI game. A combined four-home-run performance by Tori Torrescano and Erica Miller puts each at seven longballs on the season.

The cooperative effort of the two power hitters and the dangerously fast lead off hitter Heidi Kidwell makes the top of the order an intimidating presence.

Iowa State may be picking up steam, but it hosts a team searching for an identity. The Gophers are 1-4 in their last five games, including a disappointing series against Ohio State. The Buckeyes, 9-20 on the season, blasted Minnesota 10-0 and rallied from a 5-1 deficit to make the sweep, 7-5.

“I think they play a lot of competitive games and so do we so it will be a lot of fun,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

Thursday’s doubleheader will begin at 2 p.m. at the Southwest Athletic Complex.