The Iowa State Cyclones (28-22, 4-11 Big 12) will look to defend their home field this weekend against the Kansas Jayhawks in a series that will dictate the fifth seed in the Big 12 tournament.
The Cyclones moved their way into fifth place after a sweep of Baylor last weekend. The Jayhawks (15-32, 3-12 Big 12) are sitting at sixth.
Since six out of the seven teams in the Big 12 made the conference tournament, Kansas is fighting to continue their season this weekend.
The seventh-place team, Baylor, is 2-14 in conference play. With a two-game series against third-place Texas, the Bears will have to win both games and hope for a Cyclone sweep to get in over Kansas.
If the Jayhawks manage to win two games in this weekend’s series, they will hold the tiebreaker over the Cyclones and jump the Cyclones to claim fifth.
“We have to come ready to play Kansas because we can’t just expect to walk in there and beat them,” said Sydney Stites, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBIs in the team’s 6-5 loss to Drake on Wednesday.
Although the Cyclones are guaranteed to make the Big 12 Tournament, the one place change that occur is crucial because it means that the Cyclones could go from being matched with 2 seed Oklahoma State, who is ranked No. 12 in the coaches poll, to Oklahoma, who is ranked No. 1 and hasn’t lost a conference game in the last two seasons.
Not only does this game have postseason implications, but with two wins, Iowa State can accomplish its first 30-win season since 1989.
Furthermore, the fifth place finish would be the program's best since 1993.
Even though Iowa State is on a four-game losing streak, it showed that it can adjust well to its opponent during the Drake game.
“We did a wonderful job after the first inning of not chasing the high stuff,” said head coach Jamie Pinkerton.
The Cyclones outhit the Bulldogs 11-8 in the contest.
The Bulldogs (37-14, 21-2 MVC), who were receiving votes in the last polls as well, came in winning 27 out of their last 29 games.
“I think if we play like we did against Drake, we’ll be just fine against Kansas,” Pinkerton said. “We had the lead at one point during the game, but we just weren’t fortunate enough to hold it.”
In last year’s series against the Jayhawks, the Cyclones won one out of the three games.
With only a game in conference play separating the two of them, it proves to be a pivotal match up. The series is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
The eight Cyclone seniors will be recognized following Sunday’s game.