It was a packed stadium at Buel Field in Des Moines as the Drake Bulldogs beat Iowa State by a score of 6-5 in a competitive extra-inning battle on Wednesday.
“I thought we played well enough to win tonight, but we did not end up on the high side,” said Iowa State coach Jamie Pinkerton.
Before the game, there was a moment of silence held for the tragic passing of former Northern Iowa softball player Micalla Rettinger. Additionally, players from both teams wore purple ribbons in their hair.
The Cyclones and Bulldogs played an even game as the games was tied three times in the first five innings.
Senior pitcher Emma Hylen made the start for the Cyclones in the circle and now has a record of 14-9 in the circle this season.
In eight innings pitched, Hylen allowed seven runs off eight hits. She also had one strikeout.
The first inning was uneventful for Iowa State offensively, but it wasn’t for Drake as the Bulldogs held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
Quality at-bats in the second in the third inning led the Cyclones to take a 4-2 lead over the Bulldogs heading into the bottom of the third inning.
“After they scored in the first inning we shook it off, came back and started battling again,” said senior first baseman Sally Woolpert.
Offensively in the top of second and third inning, the Cyclones were productive in multiple ways. Senior right fielder Sydney Stites smashed a home run, junior shortstop Sami Williams and senior catcher Kaylee Bosworth drove in runs and four Cyclones drew walks in those two innings.
One player who played well for Iowa State was Stites. Stites went 2-for-3 on Wednesday, including a two-run home run in the top of the third inning and an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning.
“I think especially after playing Oklahoma this past weekend, I wanted to take every opportunity to hit them as hard as I could,” Stites said.
The Bulldogs were able to keep pace with Iowa State’s offense, and the game was tied up at five apiece in the top of the sixth inning.
A key change was made by the Bulldogs in the top of the sixth inning, as their ace Nicole Newman, who leads the NCAA in strikeouts, came in to pitch for Nicole Timmons.
In two innings, Newman allowed no runs off one hit and had seven strikeouts, en route to earning the win for the Bulldogs.
Both teams had a runner on base in the seventh inning, but neither team was able to score.
A key play was made in the bottom of the seventh inning for Iowa State as Woolpert caught a short pop fly and then stepped on first base to turn a double play and to force extra innings.
Sarah Maddox hit a walk-off home run to left field for Drake that gave the Bulldogs a 6-5 win over the Cyclones in eight innings.
“I’m sure Emma would like to have that pitch back, but [Maddox] made a good adjustment on a low ball,” Pinkerton said. “Got to give the tip of the cap to them.”
In total, the Cyclones scored five runs off 11 hits and earned a base on balls seven times.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs scored six runs off seven hits and drew three walks.
Drake improved to 37-14 (21-2 MVC) as and Iowa State fell to 28-22. Iowa State now has a record of 8-8 on the road and Drake has a record of 13-0 at home.
The Cyclones finished with a 2-1 record against in-state teams this season.
Iowa State will return home to face a big 12 foe, the Kansas Jayhawks, beginning with a matchup of Friday at 4 p.m. at Cyclone Sports Complex.