Cyclones struggle to 2-2 weekend record

Zach Gourley

The Cyclone softball team needed two late-inning rallies to avoid going winless in Tulsa, Okla., this weekend.

Ohio State offered a rude awakening to begin the road trip, handing the Cyclones an 8-0 loss. Ohio State entered the weekend with a 4-12 record, but picked up the easy win behind the pitching of Audrey Plant, who didn’t give up any runs on just one hit.

“We really struggled on Friday,” coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “I don’t think we played well at all.”

Gemeinhardt-Cesler added that there was not any singular phase of the game that was to blame, but many.

A matchup with the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes offered little relief for the Cyclones, as pitcher Rachel Zabriskie struggled through four innings, giving up eight runs on eight hits before Lauren Kennewell relieved her.

The Cyclones managed to manufacture three runs on four hits against Tulsa but still fell 9-3, ending a forgettable day for Gemeinhardt-Cesler’s club.

The Cyclones jumped out to 5-1 lead after five innings against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux on Saturday.

However, the Cyclones allowed four runs in the top of the sixth inning and another in the top of the seventh. Trailing 6-5 with just half an inning remaining, Amandine Habben hit an RBI triple to tie the game.

Freshman Anna Cole, who received her first start of the year over the weekend, hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to score Habben from third, stealing a win for the Cyclones.

“[Cole] hasn’t been playing a whole lot, and it was great for her to get an opportunity and to really come through,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “I was really proud of her. She’s worked hard.”

The Cyclones faced in-state rival Drake in the final game of the weekend. The Bulldogs had a 2-0 lead heading into the final inning, and again the Cyclones provided some late-game theatrics.

Cole once again played a key role, starting the seventh-inning rally for the Cyclones, and eventually scored the team’s first run of the game. Sara Davison and Heidi Kidwell both had key RBIs, sparking the Cyclones to a three-run inning.

The Bulldogs would be shut down in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Cyclones a 3-2 victory. The win moved the Cyclones to 11-8 on the season.

While pleased with the result, Gemeinhardt-Cesler felt her team had a better performance in them.

“Honestly, I was hoping they would react a little bit better, even than what they did,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “It was nice that they got the wins, but I still think they seemed down on themselves.”

The Cyclones will be back in action March 12-13, with a trio of games in Wichita, Kan., against Wichita State.