Back in early March, the Cyclones played a game in Phoenix, Arizona, against the South Dakota Coyotes. That game needed two extra innings for the Cyclones to come out on top, but the Cyclones only needed five innings to beat the Coyotes on Tuesday.
The Cyclones earned a 9-1 victory in five innings over the Coyotes on Tuesday. Two freshmen made a significant impact against the Coyotes in pitcher Shannon Mortimer and second basemen Kasey Simpson.
Coming into their game against the Coyotes on Tuesday, the Cyclones had struggled defensively, allowing 45 runs in their last six games. However, on Tuesday, the Cyclones played much better, holding the Coyotes to a solitary run.
Part of their success defensively against South Dakota was due to Simpson at second base and Mortimer on the mound.
In five innings pitched, Mortimer — a South Grafton, Massachusetts, native — threw four strikeouts, allowed five hits and allowed one run.
Mortimer now has a record of 5-4 and an ERA of 2.43 on the season.
“It definitely feels great to play a big role in getting the win, and I did a lot better than I have been doing,” Mortimer said.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Cyclones were not playing sound defensively like in their last six games unlike how they were playing to begin the season.
On Tuesday, despite having two errors, the Cyclones appeared to shore things up, and it showed on the scoreboard.
“Personally, I made an error, but overall we did well compared to the last few games,” Mortimer said.
Simpson made her 27th start of the season and turned two double plays in the field for the Cyclones.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, Simpson had gone hitless in the last six games but had played well defensively.
“One thing that hasn’t really wavered with her since she’s been scuffling at the plate is her defense,” said Iowa State coach Jamie Pinkerton. “The reason why we have been turning these double plays is cause she turns them well.”
Simpson turned things around offensively on Tuesday. In the batter’s box, she had three hits in three at-bats and hit two home runs — including a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning — and had seven RBIs.
“My mindset today to square up on the ball and hit it hard,” Simpson said. “[Before today] I was way out in front in every at-bat, so I had to change my mindset.”
Against the Coyotes, Simpson produced seven of the Cyclones nine runs. Simpson's seven RBIs tied her for the most RBIs by a Cyclone in a game with Erica Miller, who had seven RBIs against St. John's in 2013.
Simpson also hit the game-ending two RBI double to centerfield that sealed the 9-1 victory for Iowa State in the bottom of the fifth inning.