The Iowa State Cyclones improved to 29-22 (5-11 Big 12) after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks (15-33, 3-13 Big 12) in a 3-2 game on Friday.
The win came on a walk-off home run to right-center in the ninth inning by junior shortstop Sami Williams, her 13th of the year.
“I’m not the most emotional person on the field, but I knew we were so much better than we were playing and our at-bats weren’t getting us there so to be able to end the game in that way was a really good feeling,” Williams said.
Iowa State now stands one win away from its first 30-win season since 1989.
The walk-off comes just two days after Drake’s Sarah Maddox hit one against Iowa State in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“I mean you always want to it to end in dramatic fashion, but it’s nice to be on the other side of that and be the excited one,” said catcher Kaylee Bosworth.
Bosworth had a day of her own at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
She would’ve had a third hit if it weren’t a magnificent diving catch by Kansas center fielder Brittany Jackson in the first inning.
Bosworth held her own on defense as well, helping starting pitcher Emma Hylen overcome three walked batters in the first three innings.
“I just tried to keep her calm and let her know that this is her game,” Bosworth said. “I have been catching her for four years now, so we don’t have to say much to each other, we just know that we have each other’s backs,” Bosworth said.
Hylen tossed six and two-thirds innings for the Cyclones, giving up two earned runs on six hits and four walks.
She was replaced with Savannah Sanders with two outs in the seventh inning and a runner on second base.
Sanders struck out Kansas’s Morgyn Wynne, who is their team’s leader in average (.297) and tied for most home runs with six, which was a big momentum shift for the team heading into extra innings.
“We gave them a few more opportunities than we should have, but I give credit to Emma and Savannah as they were able to pitch out of it,” said coach Jamie Pinkerton.
On the flip side, Iowa State did not do itself much help either during the game as they left runners in scoring position as well.
The Cyclones had runners on second and third in the fourth inning with no outs after a double by Sally Woolpert and a Kansas error but failed to score.
After Bosworth’s one-out double in the fifth, she advanced to third on a wild pitch, but the Cyclones couldn’t drive her in from there.
In the sixth inning the bases were loaded as well with two outs.
“You don’t usually get that many opportunities to score and we squandered some of them, but we just have to take advantage of the ones we do get,” Pinkerton said.
Nevertheless, Sami Williams ended up saving the day for the Cyclones as she made the clutch hit when it counted the most.
With no runners on base, Williams, who boasts a .396 batting average on the season, wasn’t even trying to end the game.
“I just did the same thing I always do,” Williams said. “When you try to hit a ball out, you usually roll over.”
Thanks to her effort though, the Cyclones now secured an above .500 season for the first time since 1989.
With the loss, Kansas has dropped 12 out of its last 13 games.
Due to weather concerns, there will now be a doubleheader tomorrow, starting at 1 p.m.
Following the second game, the eight Cyclones seniors will be recognized.
“I remember being that little kid going to games and now it’s crazy that we are almost done,” Bosworth said.