Softball sets eyes on Cyclones

Haley Richards, Assistant Photo Editor

AMES, IA. – The Western Illinois softball team will hit the road this weekend for a double-header against Iowa State University. The Leathernecks are currently 13-22 on the season and 6-0 in Summit League play. First pitch is set for Saturday, at 1 p.m. and game two is set to follow that.

“Heating up in league play is just something that Western Illinois softball usually does. When league play starts, we try not to press too hard and just work on the little things,” said head coach Beth Golitko. “When it comes to hitting, we just try not to overdo it. Hitting is all about timing and pitch selection, so we don’t want to work on mechanics too much. We trusted our training today and played extremely well.”

Western Illinois currently sits atop the Summit League being undefeated in conference play. South Dakota State University is in second place with a conference record of 4-2, followed by North Dakota State University with a record of 1-1. University of South Dakota, University of Nebraska-Omaha, and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne take the fourth, fifth, and six spots.

Junior infielder Hailey Duwa ranks fourth in the League for hitting with a .369 batting average. Junior pitcher Emily Ira is ranked second in the conference for strikeout at 115. Overall, Western sits at fourth in the conference for overall runs. The Leathernecks have 274 hits on the season and 141 runs. Leading the Summit in runs in South Dakota State with 211.

Ira also received a Summit League Pitcher of the Week honor for the week of April 2-8. That was her eighth-career honor and second honor this season. She went 2-0 in two games against conference foe, Fort Wayne. She struck out 12 batters in 14 innings with a 1.50 ERA and only allowed six hits for three runs.

After winning the last six games, the Purple and Gold will take a break from conference play to face the Cyclones. Iowa State is currently 18-24 on their season and have a conference record of 1-8. They are currently on a six-game losing streak.

So far this season, Iowa State has faced some pretty impressive opponents such as the nationally ranked University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas, Penn State University, Virginia Tech, and Brigham Young University.

Iowa State plays in the Big 12 and is currently ranked seven out of the eight teams in the conference. The offensive leader for the Cyclones is sophomore infielder Sami Williams with a .378 batting average. She has 54 hits, nine homeruns, and 23 RBIs on the season. This ranks her at ninth in the Big 12 for individual statistics.

The Purple and Gold will not return home again until April 21, where they will face Omaha to continue Summit League play. After this weekend, there will only be eight more regular season games before the Summit League tournament which will be May 8-12 in Fargo, North Dakota.

Twitter: hayfourrr