Look-ahead at the 2012 Cyclone softball team

Zach Gourley

The ISU softball team will return every starter from the 2011 campaign, except one, its ace pitcher Rachel Zabriskie.

Zabriskie started at least 30 games for the Cyclones in each of her four years on campus and will be missed as leader.

“Rachel has been a huge part of our program,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “We’ll miss her arm and her leadership but we also have some good young pitchers that will get some more opportunities to throw.”

The leading candidates to garner starts on the mound will be senior Lauren Kennewell and sophomore Bree Holliday.

Holliday has gone 3-2 in her freshman year with a 5.69 ERA* while picking up most of her experience early in the season and did not see the mound much in Big 12 play.

Kennewell, on the other hand, was used sparingly early in the season but came on strong and was Zabriskie’s primary reliever in conference play. Kennewell is 2-3 with a 5.81 ERA*.

While pitching may be a question mark on this team, the Cyclones will return nearly all of their offensive weapons for the 2012 season.

Senior Heidi Kidwell is the lead-off batter for the Cyclones and generally counts on her speed to reach base, as she often keeps the ball in the infield.

Erica Miller and Tori Torrescano, two California natives, have been the best home run threats for the Cyclones in the 2011 season.

Miller leads the team in both home runs, 10 and RBI’s, 37, and is tied for second in the conference for most homers in Big 12 play with four*.

One issue for the Cyclones for the upcoming season is that with the loss of Nebraska to the Big Ten, each team in the conference will be playing more Big 12 opponents than they have in the past.

It is expected that the schedule will expand from playing a two-game series against each conference foe, to now playing each Big 12 team three times.

*Stats are accurate up to April 27.