SOFTBALL: Cyclones head to Lubbock to face Red Raiders

David Merrill —

Junior pitcher Rachel Zabriskie will lead the 20–12 Cyclones into Lubbock, Texas, this weekend as they face off against a red-hot Red Raider team, who has jumped out to its best start in program history at 28–4.

Coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler stressed that the team can only focus on playing its game and its style of play. The Cyclones are going to try to not get caught up on who they are playing and what their record is.

The Cyclones are on a seven-game win streak and have won 10 of their last 11 games.

“I think we’re in a great situation,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “Going into Omaha and getting two wins against Creighton gave us the momentum we need, and we’re going to keep going with that as we get ready for Big 12 play.”

The Cyclones’ resiliency is something that has shown through during the seven-game win streak. They have shown the ability to put together bounce-back innings.

“When we’ve given up runs, we’ve come right back and gotten those runs back,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “I think that’s a big thing for us right now.”

Gemeinhardt-Cesler also credited her team for each batter in the lineup contributing. She likes the fact that she can count on production from every batting lineup spot.

Zabriskie is already the Cyclones’ career strikeout leader with 553 to her name, but with an opening game win against Texas Tech, she would pass Lori Young for the career wins mark with 50 being the magic number.

“I try not to think about it,” Zabriskie said. “I don’t like to think about stats and stuff like that, but my dad keeps reminding me about it, so I definitely know it’s there, but it’s only one game to win and I have a long time to win it.”

Young set the current career wins mark in the 1984–’85 season.

Zabriskie will throw for her 17th win of the season, which would continue her lead in that department as well as strikeouts.

She enters the series with 168 strikeouts.

She has been virtually untouchable over her last three starts, going 3–0 with a .37 ERA and striking out 24 batters in that span.

With both teams playing well going into the series, Iowa State has some extra confidence with the way the team has been playing.

The Cyclones will attempt to erase the nightmare first half of the Big 12 season they experienced last year, going 1–8 out of the gate.

“If we didn’t have a seven-game win streak, or even anything close to that,” Zabriskie said.

“We wouldn’t have as much confidence, but you like to go into the Big 12 having a decent winning streak. It’s nice to know that we’re playing well against quality teams and we hope to continue that throughout the Big 12 play.”

This is the last road series before the Cyclones return home to host the Hawkeyes in the annual rivalry series.

The team has already started practicing outside and are eager to host its first game of the season.