Iowa State freshman Kasey Simpson gets South Dakota junior Camille Fowler out at second base then throws to first during the Iowa State vs South Dakota softball game held at the Cyclone Sports Complex April 2. The Cyclones had three home run hits and defeated the Coyotes 9-1.

Northern Iowa is the next challenge that Iowa State will face as the Panthers will play in Ames at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Iowa State has a record of 23-18 (1-8 Big 12), and Northern Iowa is 20-16 (11-5 Missouri Valley Conference).

The Cyclones hold an all-time 42-36-1 series lead over the Panthers and have a record of 20-11 in home games.

In the last 10 matchups, Iowa State and Northern Iowa have split those games with five wins apiece. Last year, Iowa State won 10-7 in extra innings.

Coming into the game against the Panthers, the Cyclones are coming off getting swept by the then-No. 14 Oklahoma State.

“Coach’s message [after the final game of the series] was that we’ve got to just drop this and move on,” said junior third baseman Logan Schaben. “We can either sit on this and dwell on it and let things go downhill, or we can use it as a learning experience and move forward.”

Northern Iowa, on the other hand, is coming off three dominant performances with a sweep against Valparaiso.

“I know they’re well-coached, I know they’re going to come in play hard, and play the right way,” said Iowa State coach Jamie Pinkerton. “We’re just going to come in with the right mindset, be focused and we’ll be fine.”

The Panthers have won seven out of their last nine games and have outscored their opponents 56-26 in that stretch.

Among the Missouri Valley Conference teams, the Panthers have been an all-around solid team as they rank sixth in batting average and ERA (earned run average) and fifth in fielding percentage out of the 12 teams in their conference.

Northern Iowa’s offense is led by junior shortstop Sammey Bunch who leads the conference in batting average with a .442 batting average, runs scored with 43 and RBIs with 44.

In the circle, senior Brooke Craig has the best record of any pitcher on the team as she has a record of 5-2 with a 4.20 ERA.

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