Iowa State freshman Kasey Simpson celebrates with her team following her first home run of 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.

In Saturday’s National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC) regional final against the Purdue Boilermakers at Cyclones Sports Complex, Iowa State came out on top 5-3 and will head the NISC championship round in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“We started off slow but took care of business later on,” said junior shortstop Sami Williams.

Earlier in the tournament, the Cyclones defeated the Boilermakers 6-1 in each teams opening game of the tournament.

After winning the Ames regional of the NISC, Iowa State has record of 35-23 (7-11 Big 12) this season, which is their best season since 1989.

“Where we were when I was hired as head coach on August 2, 2017, to where we are today is because of our seniors buying in and getting everyone else to come along,” said Iowa State coach Jamie Pinkerton.

Senior Savannah Sanders made the start in the pitcher's circle for the Cyclones. Sanders pitched two innings allowing two runs off of six hits and had two strikeouts.

Emma Hylen came into pitch for Sanders in the top of the fourth inning.

In four innings pitched, Hylen allowed one run, off of ten hits and had four strikeouts.

Hylen received the winning decision, her 18th of the year because under NCAA rules a pitcher must complete three innings to earn a win for their record.

Iowa State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as redshirt sophomore Talyn Lewis hit an RBI double, where Williams scored in the bottom of the first inning.

The Boilermakers took the lead away from the Cyclones after Lexi Huffman hit a two-run home run in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the third inning, the Cyclones responded with a home run off their own as senior right fielder Sydney Stites smashed a two-run home run to left-center which gave the Cyclones a 3-2 lead.

Lewis came through big once again in the bottom of the fourth inning as she hit a two-RBI double to left field that increased Iowa State’s lead to three.

Mallory Becker hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to bring the Boilermakers to within two.

However, Purdue couldn’t get any more runs on the board and Iowa State came out on top by a score of 5-3.

“It was a good battle between both teams, we had to make adjustments throughout the game and things worked out for us,” Lewis said. 

Iowa State will play in the championship round of the NISC next weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado against an opponent that has yet to be determined.

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