Iowa State softball lost the first game of a three-game series with Baylor Friday evening after a tightly contested pitcher's duel.
The pitching staff for both Big 12 opponents created six-and-a-half innings of scoreless softball but a late RBI single from Baylor put the Bears ahead and handed Iowa State its third Big 12 loss.
Baylor pulled ahead in the sixth innings and won by a final score of 1-0.
Since the beginning of Big 12 play, Iowa State has not earned consecutive wins, but against an evenly matched Baylor team the Cyclones had considerable momentum.
The Cyclones took down in-state rival Iowa in an emotionally charged one-run ballgame Tuesday afternoon.
The matchup with Iowa saw the Cyclones rebound from convincing losses during a road trip to Norman, Oklahoma to face the No. 1 ranked Sooners. Cyclone hitters scored five runs against the Iowa pitching staff after being held to two hits in two games against Oklahoma.
When Iowa State took down Iowa for the first time since 2019, head coach Jamie Pinkerton was glad to carry momentum into an important conference game.
Baylor's four wins entering the matchup had the Bears two spots ahead of the Cyclones in the Big 12 standings. With only two series left in Big 12 play for Iowa State, each game holds implications for Big 12 tournament seeding and postseason hopes.
A pitcher's duel
Both starting pitchers quickly settled into the circle during Friday night's contest.
Iowa State started sophomore Saya Swain for the second consecutive game. Swain is the strikeout leader on the Iowa State staff and was seeking her sixth pitching win of the 2022 season.
Swain left Tuesday night's game against Iowa 1.1 innings pitched and two runs allowed.
But against Baylor Friday night, Swain pitched four scoreless innings. The sophomore allowed four hits and earned three strikeouts. Swain worked efficiently as she faced 17 batters and stranded four Baylor runners on base.
Swain was replaced by Ellie Spelhaug for the fifth inning of the matchup. After entering the game Spelhaug has pitched at least an inning in each of Iowa State's last six games.
Spelhaug allowed two hits, two walks and the game's go-ahead run.
Baylor's Sydney Collazos contributed an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to score the go-ahead run. After a walk and a single run put Ana Watson in scoring position, Collazos' single to left field gave Baylor the first lead of the game for either team.
Baylor ace Dariana Orme started in the circle for the Bears. Orme earned a complete game shutout allowing just four hits to the Cyclone lineup.
Orme is a sophomore transfer from Fresno State and leads Baylor in innings pitched, wins and strikeouts in 2022. Orme struck out three Iowa State hitters Friday night.
Six Cyclone runners were stranded on the base paths in Friday's loss.
The Cyclones will face Baylor again 2 p.m. Saturday. Pinkerton's team will need a win to keep its first Big 12 series win in play.
With a record of 22-25, Iowa State will be fighting to move one game closer to the .500 mark.
The Cyclones take pride in winnings season, according to Pinkerton.
In Pinkerton's four complete seasons in Ames, two have ended above .500. The Cyclones are seeking their first consecutive winning season the 1988 and 1989 seasons.