The ISU baseball club (5-5, 2-1 Mid-America-North) easily guided itself to three wins by outscoring South Dakota 56-14 over the weekend. However, those three wins came with a lesson-learning loss.
In the first game of the series, the Cyclones came out swinging. The team put up 21 runs on 21 hits, all of which were season highs. Junior Ethan Kain and Kyle Rhodus led the way with five hits each, while Rhodus also had a home run.
“Our hitting in game one was incredible,” Kain said. “Everyone was seeing the ball well and helped our pitchers a lot.”
Chad Allmann, the team's ace, started game one for the Cyclones and threw three innings before being pulled because of his pitch count. Allmann allowed five hits and two runs, while striking out three. Thomas Anderson came in and shut down the Coyotes for the remainder of the game.
After cruising to a 21-2 win, the club immediately took the field for game two. Game two served as a test for both teams. Could the Cyclones keep the bats hot and could the Coyotes move on from an embarrassing loss? Unfortunately, for the Cyclones, the Coyotes were able to avenge their earlier defeat.
Falling 9-5, the Cyclones were able to learn several things about themselves, with the main one being focus leads to wins. After the shellacking it gave South Dakota in game one, the team came out lackadaisical.
The Cyclones were able to pound out seven hits, but left 10 guys on base throughout the game. Kain led the way again with two hits, while Troy Kettwick also added two more.
Matt Odland, club president and coach, was at a loss of words for the inexplicable loss.
“Game two was a humbling experience, and I wasn’t really sure what to tell the guys,” Odland said. “I just preached consistency and how we need to keep our foot on the pedal.”
Odland described the game in one word: frustrating. He went on to say that you can't assume anything to be given to you and that every game in the Mid-America-North Conference is going to be a battle.
With emotions running high after the frustrating loss, the Cyclones returned Sunday ready to play. The story of game three was freshman pitcher, Bobby Thompson.
Thompson went all seven inning and allowed only one run, a home run in the first inning. He went on to strike out nine South Dakota batters, while issuing zero walks. Similar to the previous two games, Kain led the way with three hits, and the Cyclones cruised to a 10-1 victory and series win.
“Kody [Sindelar] called a good game for me behind the plate,” Thompson said. “We were working the fastball early and finishing off the batters with the curveball, which was breaking a lot that day.”
The fourth and final game of the weekend was a non-conference game for the two teams, but that didn’t stop the Cyclones from applying pressure early and keeping their foot on the pedal.
They cruised to a 19-2 win, in which Kain once again proved his offensive dominance. Kain finished the game with two doubles and a home run for a total of five RBIs.
Kain finished the weekend with 13 hits in four games. Odland was pleasantly surprised with Kain’s offensive dominance, but quickly pointed out that Kain also played tremendous defense at shortstop. Kain filled in for Kellen Yoder, who was sick for Saturday’s game.
The club will kick off its 12-game home stand Saturday against Minnesota State-Moorhead. Games will be played at Woodward Academy in Woodward, Iowa.
Odland expects Moorhead to be a lot tougher than South Dakota, but believes that his team is up for the task.
“Our conference is tough, and South Dakota showed us that,” Odland said. “Anyone can steal a game from anyone and we need to be focused every pitch, every game."