SOFTBALL:Cyclones fall in shortened series

Kelsey Kidwell rounds third base to score the Cyclones lone run of the game against Creighton on Wednesday. Iowa State lost 3 to 1. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Logan Gaedke

Kelsey Kidwell rounds third base to score the Cyclones lone run of the game against Creighton on Wednesday. Iowa State lost 3 to 1. Photo: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Michael Zogg

Before the rain started to fall at the Southwest Athletics Complex, Creighton pitcher Tara Oltman rained down strikes on Iowa State as she struck out 12 of the 25 Cyclones she faced.

The Bluejays were able to ride the strong performance by Oltman to a 3-1 victory over Iowa State in game one, the second game was rained out.

“Things were really clicking today and Lauren [Larson], my catcher, called a really smart game,” Oltman said. “We were just trying to be aggressive and really go at them and things just kind of worked out today.”

By the end of the day, Oltman had surrendered just one run and three hits. Her 12 strikeouts were a season high, just two strikeouts short of her career-high of 14.

“They are good hitters but they are also kind of aggressive, so they were swinging at things that weren’t always necessarily on the plate,” Oltman said of Iowa State’s offense. “Sometimes when you have aggressive teams they might get more hits, but they also might strike out more because they are really swinging a lot, so I think that was part of it.”

ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Celser and second-baseman Amanda Bradberry felt that Oltman deserved all the credit for her performance. Bradberry thought that her ability to get ahead of the ISU hitters played a major role in her strikeouts.

“She was hitting the black of the plate,” Bradberry said. “When you have two strikes on you, you have to widen up your zone and that pitch that’s right there on the black, you have to go after because you don’t want to leave it in the umpire’s hands.” 

Creighton stared off the scoring in the game when left fielder Michelle Graner hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning. After striking out the next batter, starting pitcher Rachel Zabriskie was taken out of the game.

“Every inning that we can save her from having to throw is rest for her,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

Zabriskie was replaced by freshman Lauren Kennewell, who came in and allowed two runs, one earned, in 3.2 innings of relief.

Gemeinhardt-Cesler was especially impressed with the way Kennewell got out of jams. In both the fifth and sixth innings, the Bluejays were able to load the bases, but on both occasions, Kennewell shut the door, striking out the last two batters in each inning.

The Cyclones only major threat offensively came in the sixth inning, as junior center fielder Kelsey Kidwell got her second single of the game, then stole second base.

Once on second base, freshman right fielder Bianca Lopez singled into shallow left field and Kidwell was able to come around and score. After Bradberry walked, Alex Johnson came up to the plate, but was retired on a grounder back to the pitcher.

“We were right there with AJ up and two people on, it’s 3-1,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “So we were right were we wanted to be and it just didn’t go in our favor.”

The second game of the double header started, and the Cyclones looked better offensively from the beginning, scoring two runs in the first inning and accumulating five hits in 3.2 innings when the game was called.

“I felt like in the second game on Sunday I wasn’t seeing the ball, and then I felt like I was seeing it better in the first game, and I was really seeing the ball in that second game,” said Bradberry, who was 2-for-2 in the second game before it was called. “So its really frustrating when you actually are on the ball and you’re seeing it and the game gets called… but it is a confidence builder because we were right there, everybody was right there and that helps with our confidence.”

Game two was tied 2-2 when it was