Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones wrap up Big 12 Championships


Tyler Coe/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State pitcher Karlie Charles celebrates after striking out the side in the Cyclones’ 5-3 win over Kansas on May 7, 2022.

Anthony Hanson

Iowa State softball completed the Big 12 tournament after a loss to No. 1 Oklahoma Friday, finishing 1-1 at the conference’s year end tournament. 

The Cyclones narrowly defeated Baylor on Thursday for the second consecutive year to stay alive, then fell to the nation’s best team the following day. 

The Sooners, led by all Big 12 first-team pitcher Hope Trautwein, competed a complete game shutout of the Cyclones and advanced to the conference championship game by a score of 5-0. 

On Thursday, Iowa State outlasted an evenly matched Baylor team in eight innings. Freshman Angelina Allen scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly after a timely base hit. 

Centerfielder Skyler Ramos provided a game-saving throw to the plate catching a Baylor baserunner attempting to score the go-ahead run. 

Winning season

The Cyclones completed a second consecutive winning season after Thursday and Friday’s Big 12 tournament games. 

Iowa State softball finished 34-28 in 2021, recording an all-time season for the program. The program had not completed consecutive winning seasons since the 1988 and 1989 seasons. 

Thursday’s win against Baylor solidified the program’s back-to-back year’s above the .500 mark. 

Thursday’s 2-1 victory for Iowa State provided fans in Oklahoma City five innings of stalemate softball. With Baylor’s Aliyah Binford and Iowa State’s Karlie Charles in the circle, no runs came across until the sixth inning. 

Binford earned eight strikeouts, while Charles created six of her own. 

Binford herself scored on a throwing error from Iowa State in the sixth to break the scoreless tie. 

In the seventh, a Baylor miscue provided an answer for Iowa State. Pinch runner Lea Nelson came in to score on a passed ball. The game was again deadlocked, this time at 1-1. 

In the eighth inning, a single and stolen base from Taylor Strain threatened Iowa State. With two outs, a Baylor single up to the middle provided a scoring opportunity. Skyler Ramos fielded the base hit and her throw home prevented Strain from scoring, giving Iowa State a chance to bat with the game still tied. 

Allen, the batting average leader for Iowa State, led off the bottom half of the eighth with a single. Several at bats later, Kasey Simpson brought in the winning run with fly ball to right field. 

No attempt to tag Allen out was made an Iowa State advanced to the second round. 

Oklahoma cruises

In the second round, the Cyclones faced the conference No. 1 seed and the nation’s top-ranked team. The Sooners started the season on a record breaking 38-game win streak. Oklahoma had three wins over Iowa State entering Friday’s matchup. 

Ellie Spelhaug started in the circle for Iowa State, but the Sooners earned four runs off the Iowa State junior. 

Charles and sophomore Saya Swain finished pitching duties for Iowa State. Swain pitched the final three innings of the game allowing one hit to Oklahoma’s high-powered lineup. 

The Cyclones battled to avoid a run-rule, but the fifth-year senior Trautwein complete her 16th win of the season and earned a complete game shutout. 

Oklahoma will face Oklahoma State and a Big 12 conference champion will be crowned Saturday at 2 p.m.

Spelhaug returns

After missing Iowa State’s final four regular season games, left-fielder and leadoff hitter Carli Spelhaug returned to the lineup in Oklahoma City. 

Spelhaug suffered an ankle injury in Iowa State’s series in Waco, Texas, against Baylor. 

Spelhaug was “day-to-day” for Iowa State’s first matchup with Kansas. Then, on the final day of the regular season, Head Coach Jamie Pinkerton said he his left fielder was withheld from the lineup as a precaution. 

The junior for Iowa State was the clubhouse leader in runs scored and stolen bases. Her near perfect stolen base percentage was among national leaders. 

In Oklahoma City, Spelhaug came to the plate three times against Baylor and twice against Oklahoma and did not earn a base hit on the weekend. 

Kali Gose entered to replace Spelhaug in left field for the third inning against Oklahoma.