The bats were hot for the ISU baseball club this past weekend in a four-game series against South Dakota, which led to Iowa State outscoring South Dakota, 64-11.
The offensive onslaught got started in the first game of the series when the Cyclones pounded out 14 runs in the first inning. To put that into perspective, ISU leadoff man Adam Fichter came to the plate three times that inning.
“Being our home opener, it could have been easy for our guys to lose their heads a little, but they didn’t,” said junior Elliot Frey, club president and coach. “We came out and hit the ball hard and often.”
After posting 14 runs, the team scored five more, which put an end to the game due to the run-rule limit. South Dakota could only muster two runs throughout the five innings. Adam Schmidt and Kellen Yoder led the Cyclones with three hits apiece, while Chad Allmann pitched a complete game for the win. Allmann allowed one hit while giving up two runs and striking out six. Tanner Judd had a team-high five runs batted in.
The hot bats carried over into game two, with the club racking up 13 runs on eight hits. Justin Kelm and Mitch Gerber each had two hits. Gerber and Erik Rasmussen each drove in three runs to give Rasmussen seven RBI’s on the day. Just like Allmann did in game one, Dylan Dwyer was able to keep the Coyotes hitters off balance and guessing all game long. Dwyer allowed one run on five hits and struck out nine batters.
Dwyer and Allman proved to the country why they could possibly be one of the best one and two starters in the conference. Both picked up their first wins of the season and allowed six hits combined during the two games. The two aces also combined for 15 strikeouts in 10 total innings.
Entering day two, the Cyclones attempted to stay hot, but Frey made sure the rest of the team kept level heads.
“After beating [South Dakota] pretty good, some of the players thought today would be automatic wins,” Frey said. “I had to keep the team focused and hungry for two more wins.”
Despite Frey’s efforts to keep the team focused, the Coyotes jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. Travis Havel, who adds to the team's already deep starting rotation, started the game with three strikeouts in the first inning, but after that Havel started to struggle. The Coyotes tagged Havel for four runs on six hits and nine strikeouts. Frey said Havel struggled with the heavy wind while on the mound.
Ian Probst might have saved the day for the Cyclones, as he took over for Havel in the fourth inning. Probst entered the game down one run after the Cyclones put up three runs. The Coyotes had no answer for Probst as he racked up six strikeouts over four innings, while allowing one run on two hits.
Daniel Clements added three hits, while Riley Meirick, Kellon Ausdemore and Kyle Tjossem each had two hits. Meirick had an impressive day at the plate, with a triple and three runs scored. Probst picked up the win in relief of Havel. It was Probst’s first career conference win.
“Going into the game down one, I knew my offense would score runs, so I just had to throw the ball over the plate,” Probst said. “I trusted my defense and that took a lot of pressure off of me.”
In the final game of the series, a non-conference game, the team exploded for a weekend high 21 runs. In a run-ruled five-inning game, the Cyclones won 21-3.
Corey Stapes led the way with four hits and Colton Hageman added two triples. Justin Kelm had a team high four RBIs. Southpaw Troy Kettwick kept the Coyotes off balance with a monster curve ball. He racked up seven strikeouts, while allowing three runs on three hits.
On the weekend, the Cyclones went 4-0 and improved on several bad habits the team picked up while in Florida.
“Our defense was much better than in Florida. We were making the routine plays and it helped our pitchers out a lot,” Frey said.
The team continues its quest for nationals on Friday and Saturday against Northern Iowa. The series continues Saturday at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Cap Timm Field.
"We need to stay hot and continue to practice with a purpose to continue with the success," Meirick said. "Good things will happen if we continue to play this way."