Softball opens season with 3 victories

Emily Arthur

Despite finishing last in the Big 12 Conference last season, the ISU softball team is making an effort to turn things around, setting high expectations and goals for this season’s team.

“We want to finish in the top half of the Big 12,” ISU head coach Ruth Crowe said. “When you look at how strong the conference is, I think it’s huge goal for us. We just want to move up the ladder – any movement in the Big 12 is a big step because of the quality of teams in the conference.”

Crowe said if the Cyclones could get in the top five or six in the Big 12, they’d probably be in the top 30 in the country.

Although just a freshman, Lindsey Herrin realizes what it’s going to take for the team to meet its goals.

“The Big 12 is one of the top conferences in the country. If you look at some of the teams, we’re going to have to play well the entire season,” she said. “We talked about [our goal] as a team – we think we can do it.”

In order to meet their goal with strong teams like Nebraska and Oklahoma competing in the Big 12, the Cyclones will need to improve on last year’s 4-14 conference record and 14-27 mark overall.

Iowa State took a big step last weekend when Iowa State went 3-2 at the Santa Barbara Invitational in Santa Barbara, Calif. They collected wins over Santa Clara, Santa Barbara and Providence, but fell to Cal Poly and Sacramento State.

“Anytime we go out west, we typically face teams who have already played a few games, and if they haven’t, they’ve been practicing outside,” Crowe said. “We had one practice outside right before we left. I thought we did very well for only being outside once.”

A number of players played well, but a few performances stood out.

“It wasn’t really a surprise, but Lindsey Herrin stepping up as a freshmen and having two home runs was big,” Crowe said. “She had seven RBIs, most of those were off her home runs.”

Crowe was also happy with the efforts of junior pitchers Jen Bice and Erica Martinez.

Bice went 2-1 on the weekend with three complete games and a save while Martinez went 1-1.

“I was happy with [the pitching], because I feel like those two are only going to get better,” Crowe said. “They pitched well, but we’re only going to see improvements. I don’t feel like the two are at their peak yet.”

Herrin said Bice and Martinez each had a big role in all of Iowa State’s wins.

“We had really good pitching. It was solid the whole way through,” she said. “The pitching was a definite strength.”

Despite the unseasonably warm weather, the ISU softball team is hoping for a little more sunshine and a little less wind this week as they prepare for the Southeast Missouri Tournament this weekend in Cape Ciradeau, Mo.

“We’ve only had one practice outside this year,” Crowe said. “We’re hoping the weather cooperates this week and that we’re able to get a little time in before we go to Cape Ciradeau.”