Iowa State and Iowa were both undefeated in conference play heading into the series between them this weekend.
“We've known that this series would probably be the one that has the biggest effect on the outcome of the conference,” said senior and player-coach Ethan Schroeder. “We actually were not able to get any decent outdoor practices in last week due to the poor weather, however everyone was still ready to go come Saturday morning.”
The series between the in-state rivals would determine the lone conference leader and a possibility to remain undefeated in conference play. However, both team’s undefeated record was ruined as Iowa (11-4, 5-1 Mid-America North) defeated Iowa State (8-8, 6-2) two out of three times.
“We definitely have the talent needed to beat Iowa and unfortunately fell short this time around,” said sophomore pitcher Chad Allmann. “To finish big down the stretch, we just need to solidify our offense and the pitching staff has got to throw more strikes.”
In game one of the series, the Cyclones quickly got up to a 5-0 lead before the Hawkeyes scored six unanswered runs to win 6-5.
“It was really just a few plays that made the outcome, a couple of errors that helped lead to them scoring some late-game runs and not being able to execute at the plate while having runners in scoring position caused us to leave a lot of runs on the field," Schroeder said. "We just need to be able to continue to execute while the pressure is on.”
In the second game of the series, the Cyclones were able to get up to another quick lead of 3-0 in the third inning. The Hawkeyes' comeback effort was not enough this time as the Cyclones won 4-3.
The series was tied at 1-1 heading into the next day with one game to decide the winner. The third-and-final game of the series was delayed an hour due to the weather that carried over scattered showers throughout the game.
The Hawkeyes were able to score a run in the final inning to win 1-0 and take the lead in the conference standings. The Hawkeyes have won four consecutive Mid-America North Conference titles heading into the season.
The closely fought series between the teams showed that the improvement is there from when the season started in Florida.
“Everyone has gotten better, not to mention that our team chemistry is fantastic now,” Allmann said.
As far as talent goes, the club feels it is in good position in that department, too.
“I think that this team we have right now is one of the more talented we've had in a while,” Schroeder said. “Our pitching staff is as good as it's ever been in the four years I've been here, and we have a lot of guys really seeing the ball well at the plate right now”
The Cyclones will be back in action in two weeks against Northern Iowa at Cap Timm Field in Ames on April 27-28, 2013.