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Iowa State senior Taylor Nearad is congratulated by teammate Sally Woolpert after scoring the Cyclones' first run against UNI on Tuesday, April 16. Nearad scored after the Panther's pitcher dropped a pitch. The Cyclones won, 2-0.

Following their Friday loss to the Loyola Marymount Lions, Iowa State needed a win to stay alive in the National Softball Invitational Championship, and two wins to get to title game — which was accomplished after beating the Liberty Flames 7-2 and the Lions 5-2.

Junior shortstop Sami Williams and senior center fielder Taylor Nearad shined on Saturday.

Williams had three hits in six at-bats, scored four times, had two RBI’s and hit one home run. Nearad hit a home run, and a go-ahead three RBI double in the bottom of the seventh against Loyola Marymount.

To begin the day, Williams and Nearad hit back solo home runs to give the Cyclones a 2-1 edge over the Flames after the first inning. 

Iowa State went on to add three more runs in the bottom of first and lead 5-1.

In both games, the Cyclones held a lead after first inning; they led the Flames by a score of 5-1 and the Lions by a score of 1-0. 

The Cyclones added two runs in the bottom of fourth as Williams hit a RBI double and would later score off of a ground ball hit by Nearad.

Liberty would add another run, but couldn’t catch up to the Cyclones. Iowa State earned a 7-2 victory.

The Cyclones beat the Flames despite having the same amount of hits and having five errors.

Against Loyola Marymount, Williams scored off a ground ball hit by designated player Talyn Lewis, to give Iowa State a 1-0 lead heading into the second inning.

The Lions scored a run in the third and fifth to take a 2-1 lead over the Cyclones.

After giving one early run, Loyola Marymount seemed to be in control when they were on the field. That was until the top of the seventh inning.

Freshman catcher Mikayla Ramos was hit by a pitch, and freshman second-baseman Kasey Simpson reached on an error — putting runners on first and second with one out for Iowa State.

Loyola Marymount struck out senior Kirsten Caudle and intentionally walked Williams to load the bases.

Nearad kept the Cyclones season alive with a huge three RBI double and would later score to give them a 5-2 lead over the Lions.

Loyola Marymount threatened Iowa State’s lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, but couldn’t score, which led to 5-2 victory for Iowa State.

In the pitcher's circle for the Cyclones, senior Savannah Sanders earned the win against the Flames, and senior Emma Hylen earned the win against the Lions. 

Iowa State will face the UT Arlington Mavericks on Sunday at 1 p.m., CST at TC Colorado field in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Mavericks have not lost yet in the NISC, but the Cyclones have, which means they’ll need to beat the Mavericks twice on Sunday to win the NISC title.

Game two, if necessary, with begin thirty minutes after the completion of the game one. Both games will be streamed on YouTube on the Triple Crown Sports channel.

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