The Iowa State Cyclones (37-25, 7-11 Big 12) were defeated by the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks (36-27, 17-10 Sun Belt) in the National Invitational Softball Tournament (NISC) championship game by a score of 3-4 on Sunday afternoon.
The Cyclones got off to a hot start in the first inning as they put up three hits, leading to two runs.
Sydney Stites grounded out to bring in Sami Williams and Sally Woolpert singled to score Taylor Nearad.
After that, the Cyclones offense went dry — not scoring again until the fifth inning when a throwing error caused Mikayla Ramos to score.
Despite the lack of offense after the first, Savannah Sanders and Emma Hylen were able to keep Iowa State in the game on the mound as they continued to get out of situations with runners on base.
The Mavericks left seven runners on base in the first six innings of play.
Heading into the seventh, the score was knotted at 3-3.
After the Cyclones were retired in three-up-three-down fashion in the top of the seventh, the Mavericks came up with a chance to end it. A lead-off walk followed by a single suddenly put runners on first and second base with no outs.
After a pass ball bringing Krista Rude to third base, Aileen Garcia singled through the right side to win it for the Mavericks in walk-off fashion.
Sanders and Hylen each gave up four hits and two runs. One of Sanders’ was earned and none of Hylen’s were as the Cyclones committed a couple of timely errors that allowed runners to get on base.
Even with a win, the Cyclones would have had to beat the Mavericks again in order to secure the championship.
Nevertheless, the loss is a gut-wrenching way for the Cyclones to go out in a season filled with great moments.
The 37 wins put up by the Cyclones was their most since 1989 and this was the first time the team had participated in a postseason tournament since 1988.