Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones record first Big 12 series win



Iowa State sophomore Carli Spelhaug covers the bag in the Cyclones’ game against No.1 Oklahoma on March 26 at the Cyclone Sports Complex. (Photo courtesy of Luke Lu/Iowa State Athletics Communications)

Anthony Hanson

Iowa State softball defeated Baylor Sunday afternoon to record its first Big 12 series win of the 2022 season. 

The Cyclones dropped the first game of the series 1-0 after Baylor ended an offensive stalemate late in the game. Then on Saturday, it was Iowa State adding five runs in the final inning to even the series. 

Iowa State’s Saya Swain contributing another impressive outing on the mound and the Cyclone lineup providing the run support to capture a 6-1 win.

Swain gets the win

Iowa State and Baylor started the same pitching matchup from Friday night’s series opener as Baylor ace Dariana Orme for the Bears and the Iowa State strikeout leader Swain returned to the circle. 

In the series opener, the two starting pitchers led their teams through six-and-a-half scoreless innings. Orme received the win and complete game shutout on Friday night. 

In the series finale on Sunday, Swain added another impressive outing to her 2022 season. The Iowa State sophomore has recorded double digit strikeouts on multiple occasions this year. 

Swain exited after four innings pitched. She allowed one hit and one run while in the circle. 

Crafty offense

Iowa State used an RBI single from Alesia Ranches to strike first for the first time in the series. The fourth inning base hit brought in right fielder Milaysia Ochoa who reached base with a double to right field. 

Key offensive substitutions and crafty offensive play calls paid off for Iowa State Head Coach Jamie Pinkerton to produce the second and third runs for the Cyclones. 

To lead off the fifth inning, Kali Gose entered to pinch hit and reached base with a single. Gose was then replaced on the base paths by junior Lea Nelson.

Nelson stole second base then advanced to third on a ground out from Kaylee Pond. 

The Cyclones then executed a squeeze play to bring in one insurance run. Nelson came home and leadoff hitter Carli Spelhaug executed the play with a bunt back to the pitcher. The Baylor catcher couldn’t apply the tag in time and Iowa State extended its lead. 

Later in the fifth, Iowa State freshman Angelina Allen took the bunt sign and beat out a throw to first base for a base hit. Allen then scored from first on a Mikayla Ramos double and Iowa State’s efforts in the short game again paid dividends. 

Iowa State’s fourth run came courtesy of heads-up base-running from Skyler Ramos. 

Ramos moved to third on a single from Natalie Wallet. The Baylor right fielder threw to second base to prevent an extra base hit. Ramos moved home on the throw, scoring herself from first on a single to shallow right field. 

Iowa State added more insurance when Mikayla Ramos hit her 14th home run of the season in the seventh. Ramos, the team leader in home runs, eclipsed her home run total from last season with the blast. 

Spelhaug’s impressive streak ends

Entering Sunday’s game, Carli Spelhaug held an impressive streak on the base paths. As Iowa State’s lead off hitter, the junior had never been caught stealing in her collegiate softball career. 

Spelhaug’s 43 career stolen bases on 43 attempts made her the only active player in NCAA softball to have an unblemished stolen base record.

But in the fifth inning against Baylor, Spelhaug was thrown out attempting to steal second base. The umpires reviewed the play, considering obstruction, but Spelhaug was confirmed out.

Spelhaug is also one of two players in Iowa State history to score more than 50 runs in a season twice in a career.

The left fielder did not steal a base or score a run in Iowa State’s series finale win. 

Iowa State doubled its Big 12 win total over the weekend in Waco, Texas. The two wins against Baylor moved Iowa State to a 4-11 conference record. With one series left before the Big 12 tournament, Iowa State will play three games against last place Kansas at home. 

The Cyclones are a game behind Texas Tech and Baylor in the conference standings. The Red Raiders have finished their conference schedule and Baylor will play three games against third place Texas to compete the conference schedule. 

First, Iowa State will face in-state rival Drake in a mid-week game Tuesday. The game will be a rematch from a February matchup in which Drake defeated Iowa State 7-6.