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Iowa State senior first basemen Sally Woolpert hands the ball to Iowa State freshman right-handed pitcher Shannon Mortimer during the Iowa State vs South Dakota softball game held at the Cyclone Sports Complex April 2. The Cyclones had three home run hits and defeated the Coyotes 9-1.

After losing its final game of the series against 14th-ranked Oklahoma State by a score of 12-5, Iowa State has fallen to 23-18 (1-8 Big 12) and is in last place among the seven teams in the Big 12.

This weekend, the Cyclones were beaten by a high-quality opponent, but they also were plagued by inconsistency.

“I don’t think we played up to our capabilities, but we’ve also got to give the tip of the hat to Oklahoma State,” said coach Jamie Pinkerton.

Game one struggles

With their 12-3 loss in the opening game of the series against Oklahoma State, the Cyclones have lost three out of their last four series openers.

Where the Cyclones have struggled in the last four opening games are in innings two through five. In those games, the Cyclones opponents have scored 28 runs against the Cyclones.

In the other three innings in those games, the Cyclones gave up five runs although two of those games didn’t go past the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.

“We’ve got to come out and change our mentality,” said senior right fielder Sydney Stites. “We’ve got to come out expecting to win, not hoping to win.”

Offense shows flashes

In the first and third game of the Cyclones' games against Oklahoma State, they jumped out to a one-run lead in the bottom of the second inning.

However, the Cyclones offense plateaued at that point in both of those games, and Iowa State was never able to recapture the lead.

In the second game of the series, the Cyclones offense produced three runs in the last three innings but their deficit was too much, and Oklahoma State won 6-3.

Against Oklahoma State, Iowa State scored 11 runs and had 24 hits, but that wasn’t enough to win.

“We need to focus more on every single pitch, and when we don’t it shows when we score five runs in one inning and zero in the rest,” said junior third baseman Logan Schaben.

Defense and pitching has room for improvement

Oklahoma State’s offense shined against the Cyclones in the three-game series as Oklahoma State scored 30 runs and averaged about 10 runs per game.

Ten of those 30 runs came in the top fifth inning in the first game of the series.

The Cyclones were outscored 30-11 in the series and have been outscored 52-22 in conference play.

“We got caught up in the idea that we had to win a game all at once instead of focusing on one pitch at a time and one out at a time,” Stites said

What’s next?

The Northern Iowa Panthers will travel to Ames to face the Cyclones at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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