AMES, Iowa – 2013 was a banner year for Iowa State softball (21-34, 4-14 Big 12). The offense set nine team records, including records for highest batting average and the most runs driven in during a season, and the stellar defense posted a record-high fielding percentage while turning the fourth-most double plays in the nation.
Two of the Cyclones’ record 284 runs during the spring came in a 2-1 upset win over No. 8 Oregon in Iowa State’s first win over a top-10 team since 2009. The Cyclones christened the new Cyclone Sports Complex with a sweep of Oklahoma State, April 5-7, in the first conference sweep for Iowa State since the Big 12 moved to the three-game series format in 2012.
Junior Sarah Hawryluk became the first Cyclone since 2007 to win the Big 12 Player of the Week Award on April 8 after hitting .600 with four stolen bases and four runs scored in the sweep of the Cowgirls.
Seniors Erica Miller and Tori Torrescano powered the Iowa State offense to 253 RBI in 2013, another school record, and Miller set a single-season record with 52 runs batted. Torrescano was close behind with 43 RBI and tied her own program record with 14 home runs, the last coming on the final day of the season. Patient at the plate, the seniors each walked 29 times during the year, another Iowa State-best.
Newcomers Brittany Gomez and Hawryluk made their presence known on the basepaths, stealing 31 and 26 bases, respectively. Gomez’s 31 thefts is a single-season record and the two are the only Cyclones to ever eclipse 25 steals in a season. Sophomore transfer Maddie Reese also got in on the basepath action, stealing 11 bases in as many attempts.
Gomez’s solid freshman campaign was not limited to her speed, although it did account for opponents’ frustration as the New Braunfels, Texas native routinely raced to catch balls that would be unreachable for anyone a step slower. Gomez led Iowa State with a .361 average, the highest ever by a Cyclone freshman, and scored a record 50 runs, just one of four Big 12 players to cross home 50 times in 2013. Gomez’s 66 hits for the season were another Iowa State-best and her 21 hits in conference play led the squad.
The Iowa State defense was stalwart on the year, especially in Big 12 play, turning 29 double plays overall and 12 against league opponents. The Cyclones hit into 14 double plays during the season, not one of them coming against a Big 12 team. Lexi Slater and Sara Davison were each a part of 12 double plays while playing short stop and second base, respectively. Slater played the entire season at short, and Davison split time between second and catcher where she caught seven would-be base stealers.
In addition to her pitchers’ duel win over the eighth-ranked Ducks, Torrescano threw a no-hitter against Elon during the Cyclones’ 10-game Florida road trip. Torrescano’s no-no was the second for the Cyclones as freshman Riley Fisher no-hit North Dakota on Feb. 10 at the Cyclone Invitational in Ames.
Postseason awards rolled in for several Cyclones after their successful seasons. Miller was named to the All-Big 12 First Team for the second consecutive year, her third conference honor, and Gomez earned her first postseason nod, elected to the all-conference second team. The duo was also honored by College Sports Madness, named to the website’s All-Big 12 Second Team. Miller capped her on-field career with a second selection to the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association All-Midwest Region Second Team.
For her quick reflexes and power arm that helped turn six double plays during the conference season, Slater was named the league’s top defensive short stop by the Big 12 coaches on the league’s inaugural All-Big 12 Defensive Team.
Academically strong, five Cyclones were named Academic All-Big 12, with Miller, Davison, Jorden Spendlove and Taylor Smith garnering first team accolades and Torrescano earning a spot on the second team.