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Members of the Iowa State Softball team huddle up before the start of the Iowa State vs South Dakota softball game held on April 2 at the Cyclone Sports Complex. The Cyclones had three home run hits and defeated the Coyotes 9-1.

Cyclone softball opened the fall season on a positive note, beating the Kirkwood Eagles 8-6. The game was not perfect, but the Cyclones got the job done in the end. 

Pitching Woes

With Iowa State’s top two pitchers from last season graduating, the spots are up for grabs. In the fall opener, four pitchers took the mound through 10 innings.

Ellie Spelhaug started the game and pitched the first three innings. The second inning started with Kirkwood’s first player at bat hitting a home run.

Soon after, an errant pitch allowed runners on first and second to each advance one base. In the third inning, three of the first four players at bat were walked.

Tatum Ksiazek pitched the fourth and fifth innings. She walked the first batter in the fourth, which she quickly followed by loading the bases.

An errant pitch allowed the Kirkwood player on third to score, tying the game at four runs apiece. The fifth inning started the same as the fourth, with a walk.

The Kirkwood runner stole second and was soon batted in with a double, allowing Kirkwood to tie the game at five. Another pitch into the dirt allowed the Kirkwood runners to advance to second and third base, threatening to score again to take the lead.

The Cyclones were able to close the inning without any more runs being scored.

Shannon Mortimer took over the pitching duties for the sixth and seventh innings. In the seventh, two Kirkwood batters were able to get on base.

Starting in the eighth inning, Karlie Charles finished the game for Cyclones on the mound. Her first inning started with a walk. The ninth started the same way.

This time, the walk came on a full count. This Kirkwood runner stole second and took advantage of a low pitch that the catcher couldn't handle to swipe third. A fly ball allowed the runner to score, tying the game at six.

The tenth also began with a hit by pitch. The third player at bat was also walked but with four straight balls.

Pitching Success

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Iowa State players cheer for their teammates during a game against Kansas on May 3. The Cyclones defeated the Jayhawks 3-2.

Despite all the negatives, Iowa State still found some positives to draw from its pitching.

Spelhaug started the third inning with a strikeout. Following the three walks mentioned earlier, the fourth batter sent the ball directly back at Spelhaug, hitting her in the stomach. Spelhaug collected herself and the ball, throwing out the Kirkwood runner at home plate.

Ksiazek got a full count strikeout early in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, one run did score however, the next out immediately followed that score, helping to keep Kirkwood from taking the lead.

To end the top of the fifth inning, Ksiazek delivered a clean enough pitch for the catcher to catch a runner at third stealing.

Like Ksiazek, Mortimer also started her first inning with a full count strikeout and was able to set Kirkwood down in three batters.

Charles bounced back after she walked the opening batter in the eighth inning. She was able to retire the next three batters.

The ninth inning also saw a similar response to an opening walk. Three outs soon followed, but not before Kirkwood scored a run. These outs were crucial as Kirkwood only tied the game instead of taking the lead.

Charles made quick work of the tenth inning, not allowing any runs and protecting the Cyclones’ 8-6 lead.

Hitting

The Cyclones totaled 18 hits, six more than Eagles. This helped the Cyclones answer the Eagle’s scoring in all but one inning. That one inning was the fifth, where Kirkwood scored one and the Cyclones scored zero.

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Iowa State junior Logan Schaben waits for the pitch during Iowa State vs Kansas game on May 3. The Cyclones defeated the Jayhawks 3-2.

Errors

The Cyclones had three total errors across the 10 innings. One came right away in the first inning.

The other two errors happened in the seventh inning, allowing two Kirkwood players to get on base. Following those two errors was a double play to end the top of the inning.

The Cyclones recovered well from all three errors, allowing no runs to be scored as a result.

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