ISU softball makes adjustments for Oklahoma


The team cheers on sophomore Lexi Slater as she runs to home plate during the game against Oklahoma State on Saturday, April 6, 2013. The Cyclones defeated the Cowgirls 8-6.

Isaac Hunt

Facing the top-ranked team in the country on the road is never an easy task, but playing three games may provide enough of an advantage to come away with a victory.

Iowa State (19-26, 4-8 Big 12) will play Oklahoma (40-3, 8-1) April 26-28, 2013 in a three-game series. Coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said the key to this series is making adjustments.

“You see a pitcher like that and not only does it make you better at that time,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “But if you see someone like that and are able to make adjustments on her, it will help you then in the future make adjustments on other people.”

The pitcher Gemeinhardt-Cesler is referring to is Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts. The senior from San Jose, Calif., is currently pitching with a 1.19 ERA and holds a 22-1 record.

Not only can she pitch, but like Iowa State’s own Tori Torrescano, she can hit. Hitting with a .390 batting average, Ricketts also has 10 home runs this season.

“We’re definitely going to face a quality pitcher in Ricketts,” said assistant coach Jamie Pinkerton. “[She is] one of the best in the country, if not the best. We have to stay within ourselves and try to get into favorable counts and put the ball in play.”

Getting down in the count is exactly what hindered the Cyclone offense against Minnesota on April 24.

Infielder Lexi Slater knows her teammates are going to need to step up for the games against Oklahoma, but she said they need to do it in their own way.

“They’re going to play their best, so we need to play our best,” Slater said. “We can’t play to someone else’s best, we have to play our own game.”

Playing their own game, getting ahead in the count and making adjustments are three points of interest in what the team needs to do this weekend to be more successful.

Adjustments haven’t been a big habit for Iowa State so far this season. In three of the four Big 12 series Iowa State has played this year, it has either swept the other team or been swept.

Only once — against Texas Tech — has the series been split, where Iowa State lost the last two games.

Slater spoke to what her team needs to do to win some games against Oklahoma and she mentioned nearly every aspect of the game. Facing a No. 1 team is going to take exactly that.

“When our pitching comes through, we’re there,” Slater said. “We need to focus at the plate and find our pitch instead of guessing, ‘All right she’s going to draw outside and I’m going to hit it.’ No, you are going to find your pitch and hit it.

“You’re going to find your spot and hit that spot. On defense, you’re going to see the ball and field it.”

Gemeinhardt-Cesler’s take on what they need to do was a little more simplistic.

“Let it rip,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “We have nothing to lose.”