SOFTBALL: San Diego Classic II provides final tune-up for Big 12 play

Michael Zogg

The Cyclones go into this weekend with the same concerns they have had all season long.

Despite its 16-8 record through the tournament portion of its schedule, Iowa State has struggled with getting consistent offense, making errors and executing.

“We have been on and off as far as having good at-bats,” said sophomore Carrie Monroe. “Pitchers just need to keep doing a good job like they have all season, and defensively, we have just been making dumb errors — once again, that has sort of been an off and on thing.”

The team is focused on turning that trend around at the San Diego Classic II, where they went 1-4 last season against many of the same teams. San Diego (3-14), San Diego State (12-11) and New Mexico State will return to the Classic this year. Quinnipiac (1-8) and Cal State-Northridge (13-9) will also join the field.

Faster pitching

This weekend’s tournament will be a little bit more of what the Cyclones are used to.

They will play five different teams as opposed to the four straight games they played against New Mexico last weekend. They will also see faster pitching, instead of New Mexico’s slower pitchers, who gave the Cyclones problems for a couple of games last weekend.

“It will definitely be pitching that we are more used to seeing during the week in practice, and what we are going to expect in conference,” said junior outfielder Kelsey Kidwell.

A second chance

Iowa State will get a second chance against Cal-State Northridge this weekend at the San Diego Classic II. In the team’s first meeting, on Feb. 28, the Cyclones lost 3-2 in extra innings, on their only fielding error of the game.

“I’m glad we get to play them again,” Monroe said. “I’m glad we get a chance to go back and beat them because I know nobody was happy with that game.”

Preparation for the conference

The San Diego Classic is the last tournament before the Big 12 season begins with a series against No. 9 Oklahoma — the highest rated team in the conference.

“It will be our last opportunity to get as much game practice in as we can before we see some Big 12 teams,” Kidwell said.

ISU softball feels this will be a good tournament to prepare itself for the conference contests ahead.

“This is a good tournament for us to play going into the conference, because our conference teams are going to be a lot harder then some of the teams that we have faced,” Monroe said.