Cyclones head to Texas for CenturyLink Classic


Junior Bianca Lopez slides into second base, avoiding a Valparaiso opponent.

Zach Gourley

The ISU softball team is heading to Texas to take part in the CenturyLink Classic against Texas State Bobcats and the Purdue Boilermakers.

The 5-1 Cyclones are hoping to get back to the winning ways of their first five games while also remembering lessons learned in an 11-2 loss to Valparaiso.

“I hope what they walk away from that last game with is an idea of how good it can be when they play well and also how bad it can be when they don’t,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “It wasn’t all bad for them. If you’re going to lose, you might as well learn some big lessons from it.”

The Cyclones will leave their home turf for the first time this season and travel to San Marcos, Texas, to face a couple of battle-tested teams.

The Texas State Bobcats, defending champions of the Southland Conference, are 2-3 on the year. The Bobcats have already faced stiff competition this season after coming up against No. 8 Hawaii, a game they lost 1-0. TSU pitching ace Chandler Hall has compiled an ERA of just 0.42 this season in three appearances. The Bobcats have struggled hitting the ball at times, scoring just one run in all three of their losses combined.

The Purdue Boilermakers come into this weekend holding a 2-2 record, with their only losses coming at the hands of the No. 16 LSU Tigers.

The Boilermakers are led in hitting by freshman Andie Varsho, who is batting .545 this season on 6 of 11 appearances. The Cyclones and the Boilermakers met once last season in a 3-2 Cyclone victory in extra innings.

Gemeinhardt-Cesler’s young squad currently leads the Big 12 Conference with a .423 batting average.

“They hit with the right attitude. They attacked,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “That’s the way we need to play all the time in order to have a lot of success.” 

Perhaps the biggest surprise so far this season is the batting of Bianca Lopez, who leads the Big 12 in batting average at .692 after registering just 17 hits all of last season.

“I tried to tell myself I was going to hit like that,” Lopez said. “Who knew it would actually happen?”

The Cyclones will face both Texas State and Purdue twice this weekend, starting with the Bobcats on Friday at 6 p.m.