ISU softball faces weekend challenge at Rebel Classic

Garrett Kroeger

The last time the ISU softball team beat a ranked opponent was more than two years ago. The Cyclones have a chance to break that drought when they travel to the Rebel Classic on March 6 to 8.

Iowa State (11-4) squares off against No. 14 California (17-1) to open up the Rebel Classic. The Cyclones are excited for the opportunity to show that they can hang with a team like California.

“We look forward to putting our [ISU] name out there,” said junior Brittany Gomez. “When people think of ISU softball, they do not think of much. We are hoping when we face a team that is more well known for softball, that they see us just like them.”

If Iowa State wants to beat California, it has to make improvements from last weekend’s 2-2 record at the San Diego Classic.

The Cyclones lost their opening game, but were able to string together a two-game win streak, including a 12-inning victory against Cal Poly.

“That is the best we hit all season,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler.

After the Cal Poly game, however, the Cyclones hitting disappeared against San Diego State.

“We have to be more consistent in our hitting and more confident as well,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said.

Another area of improvement that ties together with the consistent hitting is not leaving runners stranded on base.

“We do a pretty good job on getting on base, but we have to get them home,” Gomez said.

The ISU run total dipped from 22 runs at the UTSA Classic to 7 runs at the San Diego Classic.

Iowa State may find an advantage over California in terms of fan base, which would aid in pulling an upset more than two years in the making.

“Our fan base travels well and gives us a lot of support,” said sophomore pitcher Katie Johnson.

California is the headliner, but there is more to the upcoming ISU road trip than nine innings with the Bears. The Cyclones also play host school to University of Nevada Las-Vegas, Houston, University of California Santa-Barbara and wrap up the tournament with Eastern Kentucky.

“I have been talking to some of my teammates and we believe that this weekend will give us a look on how good we will be this year,” Gomez said.

Iowa State plays California at 11 a.m. and UNLV at 3:30 p.m. on March 6. March 7, the Cyclones play Houston at 8 p.m. and UCSB at 10:15 p.m. Iowa State will finish the Rebel Classic with a 1:15 p.m. game March 8 against Eastern Kentucky.