Cyclones hope to celebrate senior day with a win


Pitcher Rachel Zabriskie hurls a pitch toward home plate against Kansas on Saturday, April 23. After picking up the win on Friday, Zabriskie struggled against the Jayhawks on Saturday. She pitched just one inning and gave up three runs on six hits. The Jayhawks came out on on top 8-6.

Zach Gourley

The ISU softball team will celebrate senior day Saturday before a two-game series with No. 17 Baylor.

ISU pitcher Rachel Zabriskie is the lone senior on the Cyclones’ (20-21, 2-8 Big 12) roster.

“It would be absolutely great,” ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said of being able to honor Zabriskie’s senior day with a win. “Just because of everything she’s meant to our program, not only this year, but for the last four years. She’s been a big part of our team and the records that she’s set. It would be wonderful.”

Zabriskie is the all-time strikeout leader in ISU softball history with 799 and a career record of 66-69.

“Rachel really is everything to this team this year. She’s the only senior, and I’ve known she was the leader ever since I set foot on this campus,” said ISU shortstop Sara Davison. “Her effort and her attitude rubs off on everybody, and she deserves everything that she’s gotten.”

Standing in the way of a senior day win for Zabriskie will be the Baylor Bears (36-11, 7-6), led by sophomore pitcher Whitney Canion.

Canion has registered a 1.24 ERA this season while recording a 20-8 record with 223 strikeouts.

“The big thing now is that they have Canion throwing, I mean she is really a great pitcher and I think that she’s just really tough,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “She was hurt last year and she’s come back this year and done really well for them.”

After a rare week off without any games, the Cyclones will try to regroup after nearly sweeping the Kansas Jayhawks in a two-game series last weekend.

The Cyclones were up by three runs in the fifth inning Saturday until Kansas left fielder Maggie Hull hit a grand slam that cost the Cyclones the game.

“We just have to do what we did the first day against Kansas. We need to play with confidence on offense and our pitchers need to perform like they did,” Davison said of the Cyclones’ 4-3 victory over Kansas on Friday. “Every game from here on out is going to be tough. Everyone is ranked.”

Baylor is currently on a three-game conference losing streak after a tightly contested 3-0 loss to the Texas Longhorns.

“Beating Baylor in itself would be great,” Zabriskie said. “They’ve always been really good competition for us and I feel like we’ve played them a lot. They’ve got a really good pitcher that everyone has been talking about.”

The first game of the series will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Southwest Athletic Complex in Ames. The second game will be played at noon Sunday.