Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones top Drake in road finale


Right fielder Milaysia Ochoa points toward the Iowa State dugout durning a 5-4 win over Iowa. 

Anthony Hanson

Iowa State softball secured a win in its final road game of the 2022 season and rematched an in-state opponent Drake Wednesday.

Behind two first-inning home runs and Karlie Charles’ work in the circle, Iowa State successfully executed the rematch and returned to the .500 mark after the 9-0 win. 

Charles pitched five innings and allowed one hit and no runs and helped Iowa State to a five-inning shut out win. 

Back in February, Iowa State lost to Drake 7-6 while in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the UNI-Dome Tournament. The loss was the first for Iowa State at the time and spoiled an otherwise perfect first road trip. 

Iowa State has won four of its last five games, including three consecutive wins. 

The Cyclones have just one more three-game series before the end of the regular season. 

Lineup changes

For Iowa State’s mid-week single-game matchup with Drake, Iowa State head coach Jamie Pinkerton made some small lineup changes. 

Iowa State junior Carli Spelhaug had started all 49 games in left field and the leadoff spot in the order. 

Facing the Bulldogs, Kali Gose received her first defensive start of the season in left field, giving Spelhaug a day of rest. 

The leadoff spot was filled by Iowa State’s hottest hitter as of late. Right-fielder Milaysia Ochoa was hitting .291 entering the game with Drake, but in the five games prior to Wednesday’s contest, the sophomore was hitting .333.

Ochoa’s hot streak was highlighted by a 3-4 outing against Baylor in a series defining game on Sunday. 

Wednesday marked Ochoa’s first start in the leadoff position. 

Hot start

With its new look, the Iowa State lineup got off to a hot start. 

In the top of the first inning, Iowa State scored three runs. Angelina Allen homered off Drake starting pitcher Paige Bedsworth from her position at second in the order. 

Two at-bats later, Kasey Simpson added another home run for Iowa State. This time Alesia Ranches scored on the two-run blast. 

Iowa State managed two hits in the first inning off the Bulldog starter, both of which cleared the outfield fence. 

Iowa State added two base hits and a walk to start the top of the second inning. Mackenzie Hupke then entered to pitch for Drake after the Bulldog starter logged just 1.0 innings of work.

Hupke’s first batter faced was Allen, and with the bases loaded, Allen drew a walk and earned her second RBI of the night. 

A single from Allen in the fifth inning brought in her third and fourth RBI of the night. The Iowa State freshman notched a career-high in RBI during Iowa State’s final non-conference game. 

Allen’s final base hit earned Iowa State its eight and ninth runs of the night.

Charles’ return

Iowa State pitcher Karlie Charles is a reliable arm in the eyes of Pinkerton. 

Charles started the season with a 6-1 pitching record, but mid-season struggles caused her to miss many of her scheduled starts.

After a rocky outing for Charles against Texas Tech, Pinkerton predicted a full return to form for the veteran member of the Iowa State staff. 

Charles returned to the circle Saturday against Baylor and allowed two hits and one run against the Big 12 opponent. The junior received the pitching win in her first start since being briefly sidelined. 

Against Drake on Wednesday night, Charles proved she has completed a return to form. 

Charles limited the Drake lineup to just one hit on Wednesday night. She completed the complete game shutout and gained a second consecutive pitching win on the road. 

Iowa State’s win against Drake sets the stage for an important final push for Iowa State. Pinkerton has stressed the importance of achieving an about .500 record. With the win, Iowa State moved to 25-25 on the season. 

The Cyclones have one three-game series remaining in the 2022 regular season against Big 12 opponent Kansas.

The series holds implications for standing in the Big 12 conference. Iowa State is currently sixth in the conference and is one game behind both Baylor and Texas Tech.