Cyclones prepare for final long road trip

Ryan Leon

The ISU softball team is preparing for its final road tournament this weekend at the Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament in Florida.

The Cyclones (13-7) are coming off a 2-3 weekend at the Rebel Classic in Las Vegas where they ended on a two-game winning streak. This will be a five-game tournament, taking place in Tampa Bay and Clearwater, Fla., that will prepare the Cyclones with a final road test before coming home.

The ISU softball team is led by senior shortstop Lexi Slater, who is coming off of a record-setting tournament. Slater hit her 59th double to become the all-time leader in doubles in Iowa State history. She also hit her 100th run batted in, making her the fifth Cyclone to accomplish this feat.

“We really want to finish strong,” Slater said. “We know we’re gonna be home a lot more, and it’s hard traveling, but we really just want to go out and play our game.”

The recent warm weather has been a major factor in preparing the Cyclones for this tournament. The team was finally able to move practice from the Bergstrom Football Complex to their home practice field at the Cyclone Sports Complex.

“It’s really great to finally be at home,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “We’re using our locker room, our cages, and it’s really just much easier.

The Cyclones are looking to be more offensively consistent and carry it from last week into this tournament. The offense went from scoring only two runs in the first three games of the Rebel Classic before they erupted for 16 runs and eight runs in their final two games.

They also hope to continue their current pitching trend. Cyclone pitcher Katie Johnson is leading the Cyclones with a 2.52 earned run average and leads the team with a 7-4 record. She also has already accumulated 61.1 innings pitched, almost double the next-closest Cyclone.

The Cyclones will be using all this in preparation for a five-game tournament against five different teams. Iowa State will play Boston University at 10:45 a.m. and South Florida at 12:45 p.m. on March 13 in Tampa Bay.

Then the tournament moves to Clearwater, Fla., where they will take on St. Joseph’s at 8 a.m. and Massachusetts at 10:15 a.m. on March 14. They will finish the tournament against Rutgers at 8 a.m. on March 15.