Iowa State falls, Cowgirls take home series

Iowa State pitcher Saya Swain throws a pitch against Oklahoma State on April 10 in the Cyclones’ 11–1 loss.

Anthony Hanson

Iowa State softball suffered its second Big 12 series loss Sunday to No. 6 Oklahoma State in blowout fashion.

In the weekend series finale, Oklahoma State beat Iowa State and secured its 31st win of the season 11-1. The Cowgirls used a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning to capture a mercy-rule victory.

Seven Cyclone errors added to scoring opportunities for Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls out hit Iowa State 11-4, but seven runs came unearned. 

“We didn’t make adjustments like we did in the first game against Maxwell,” Iowa State Head Coach Jamie Pinkerton said. 

Iowa State gave Oklahoma State’s Kelly Maxwell her first pitching loss of the season in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday. The same pitching matchup started Sunday’s game in the circle.

This time Maxwell secured the win.

All of Iowa State’s errors came in the final two innings and five errors were committed by Cyclone fielders in the sixth inning. 

“That’s just not acceptable,” Pinkerton said. “That’s on me. I’ve got to put them in the right mindset to be able to make those plays both physically and mentally.”

The score was 2-1 in favor of Oklahoma State entering the final two innings. Oklahoma State committed zero errors throughout the six inning ballgame. 

Iowa State pitcher Saya Swain received the start again facing the Big 12’s second place team. Swain provided 4.2 innings of no-hit softball in Iowa State’s first win over Oklahoma State since 2018 on Saturday. Swain struck out ten batters in her start Saturday. 

The Iowa State sophomore continued to attack hitters Sunday. She began with two strikeouts in the first inning of the game. Swain’s second strikeout was followed by Cyclone catcher Angelita Fuentes catching an Oklahoma State runner attempting to steal second base to end the inning.

Swain left the game in the fifth inning after adding four strikeouts to her season total. 

“The pitching staff gave us a chance to win all three games,” Pinkerton said. “They didn’t hit the ball hard all weekend.”

Swain was replaced by Ellie Spelhaug after 4.1 innings. Spelhaug logged 1.1 innings in the circle and did not allow an earned run.

Oklahoma State’s Maxwell rebounded from her first lost of the season Saturday by pitching all six innings and allowing four hits to the Cyclones on Sunday. 

Iowa State batters struck out 13 times against Maxwell, bringing the junior’s weekend strikeout total to 20. Maxwell improved her pitching record to 13-1 on the season.

The Cowgirl ace entered the game with a 1.11 ERA. The Iowa State lineup used five timely hits to deal Maxwell her first loss of the season Saturday. But, the junior rebounded Sunday

Sunday’s game was the ninth time Maxwell recorded double digit strikeouts in the 2022 season. 

Iowa State’s only run came on an infield hit from Kasey Simpson in the second inning. Simpson used a bunt to bring in runner Milaysia Ochoa. 

“I think we got in a mental space today where nobody wanted the ball,” Pinkerton said. “If you’re going to be a top-25 team, you got to be a ball-hog.”

Iowa State’s seven errors made a new game high for the 2022 season. The team’s previous high was four errors made in its home opener against Northern Iowa and against Drake earlier in the season. 

Iowa State’s infield is comprised of two freshman playing key positions. With 39 games completed, Iowa State needs to find the on-field leadership to adjust when mistakes are made, the Cyclones head coach said. 

“Everything that happened’s fixable,” Pinkerton said. 

Iowa State next faces Big 12 opponent Texas Tech in a three-game series beginning Thursday at the Cyclone Sports Complex.