Iowa State softball returned home Friday afternoon for game one of a three-game set with Kansas to conclude their regular season.
The Cyclones came into the Cyclone Sports Complex on a three-game win streak after a 9-0 win over Drake on Wednesday and continued that win streak after an 8-7 walk-off win.
However, for the second game in a row, the Cyclones were without their left fielder, Carli Spelhaug. Spelhaug suffered an ankle injury in their final game against Baylor on May 1.
Spelhaug was seen in a boot Thursday and currently ranks second in Division I players for stolen base percentage.
Due to the absence of Spelhaug, sophomore Kali Gose has stepped in. Gose obtained her first start of the season against Drake.
Three pitchers were used in Friday’s game. Saya Swain began in the circle and pitched 1.2 innings before being replaced by Karli Charles who pitched 2.1 innings.
Ellie Spelhaug was then seen entering the game in the fifth inning and pitched for the remainder of the game.
The only action seen in the first inning was by Iowa State’s Kaylee Pond. Pond attempted to steal from first base but second guessed her decision and returned back to first.
However, a throwing error by Kansas allowed Pond to continue running and she advanced to third. Pond was unfortunately left stranded on base at the end of the first.
The Jayhawks were on the board first in the second inning after a homerun by shortstop Haleigh Harper.
Harper’s home run allowed her teammates Shelby Gayre and Olivia Bruno to also score, earning Harper three RBIs with one swing.
The second inning continued to be large for the Jayhawks as they scored two more runs, making the score 5-0 entering the third inning. One of those runs was due to an Iowa State fielding error.
Alesia Ranches put Iowa State on the board after a hit by Kali Gose making the score 5-1.
In the third inning, Kansas came out hot once again after a second home run, this time by Shelby Gayre. Gayre earned two RBI after allowing herself and Savanna DesRochers to score. Those runs put the Jayhawks up 7-1.
But Iowa State continued to close the gap and tied it in the third inning.
Hits by Angelina Allen and Milaysia Ochoa gave the Cyclones two more runs to start the third. Yet, the runs kept coming across home plate.
Kasey Simpson singled towards left field allowing Allen to score, Ranches to advance to second and Ochoa to advance to third.
After Gose grounded to second base, Ocho was able to score and Simpson and Ranches advanced to the next base.
Center fielder Skyler Ramos then came to bat and singled up the middle allowing Simpson and Ranches to add two more runs.
The score at the end of the third was 7-7.
The fourth and fifth innings were quiet and quick, as neither side scored.
In the sixth, the Cyclones pressured the Jayhawks but a runner was stranded in scoring position after the inning. The score remained tied.
“Don’t let them have the bats back.”
That’s what Head Coach Jamie Pinkerton told his players as they entered the seventh inning.
In the seventh, it was up to Iowa State to grab the win before entering extra innings. And they did just that.
It was a sac fly by Kasey Simpson that got the Cyclones their win. Simpson says she knew she had to do something to help her team get a win.
“Once you come back [from a deficit] you have to win,” Simpson said.
That win helped them to continue to build their confidence; something Pinkerton’s team thrives off of.
“Confidence is a fragile thing and we have it right now,” Pinkerton said.
The final stats for Kansas were seven runs, seven hits and four errors. The stats for Iowa State were eight runs, six hits and one error.
The series will continue Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon at the Cyclone Sports Complex.