Cyclones split double-header with No. 6 Cowgirls


Collin Maguire/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State sophomore Saya Swain throws a pitch during Iowa State’s 12-4 loss to Northern Iowa on April 6. Swain allowed four hits and struck out six batters in the loss.

Anthony Hanson

Iowa State softball earned its first Big 12 win of the 2022 season over No. 6 Oklahoma State in a double-header Saturday. The teams would go on to split the two games.

After falling in its home opener Wednesday, Iowa State starting pitcher Saya Swain tallied 10 strikeouts and Iowa State topped Oklahoma State for the first time since 2018. 

“We played like we’re capable of playing,” Iowa State Head Coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “They came out with a good mindset. All three facets were clicking.”

Iowa State snapped a seven-game losing streak and secured its first win of the season over a ranked opponent with Saturday’s win. It was the highest ranked win for Iowa State Softball in nearly 10 seasons. 

The Cyclones entered the game having lost three games to top-10 opponents. Games against No. 5 Washington and No. 6 UCLA were decided by one run.  

Oklahoma State lost its first game since March 16 and lost a 12-game win streak with the lost to Iowa State. 

“We didn’t make errors, we got timely hits and pitching,” Pinkerton said. “When you do that, you have a shot against No. 6, No. 1 or anyone in the country.”

Iowa State led the series opener 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning. After a wild pitch brought in Oklahoma State’s first run, Ellie Spelhaug replaced Swain with two outs and the bases loaded.

Spelhaug navigated Iowa State out of the jam with the game still tied. 

In the bottom of the inning, a Ramos single scored Carli Spelhaug and gave Iowa State the lead. An RBI double from Alesia Ranches added another to the Iowa State lead.

The go-ahead single was the first hit for Ramos since April 1 game against Texas.

“In power numbers and RBI, that’s our player,” Pinkerton said of Ramos.

Ramos leads Iowa State in home runs and RBI, but the senior had not earned a base hit in her last eight at bats.

“People are not going to give her the best pitches, so she’s got to be patient,” Pinkerton said.

Ramos singled again in the second game on Saturday. 

Oklahoma State threatened in the seventh inning. After two walks began the inning, the winning run came to the plate three times. Each time, Spelhaug and the Iowa State defense recorded outs and ended game one. 

In game two, 10 hits from the Oklahoma State lineup allowed the Cowgirls to recover. Oklahoma State won Saturday’s second game 5-3 behind starting pitcher Miranda Elish. The senior transfer for Oklahoma State struck out nine Iowa State batters. 

In game one, teams combined for 19 strikeouts. Oklahoma State’s Kelly Maxwell entered the game 12-0 and was dealt her first pitching loss of the season. Swain’s 10 strikeout game is the third of the season in which the sophomore has tallied double digit strikeouts. 

Swain allowed just one hit in game one, a single to Kiley Naomi in the fifth inning. 

Oklahoma State batting average leader Katelynn Carwile struck out twice against Swain. The sophomore for the Cowgirls had six strikeouts in 79 at bats entering the series. 

Freshman standout Brianna Evans also suffered two strikeouts at the hands of Swain. Evans entered the game with a .369 average and 14 strikeouts on the season. 

On the season, Swain now has 98 strikeouts, a high for the Iowa State staff. In 2021, Swain appeared in 15 games and struck out 26 batters. Seeing much more time in the circle, Swain has transformed a 1-5 pitching record last season into a 6-2 record this season. 

Iowa State and Oklahoma State will meet Sunday at noon to cap off the first home Big 12 series for Iowa State. With each team earning a game a-piece, Sunday’s game will decide the series win. 

“If you’re going to survive in the Big 12, you’ve got to win series,” Pinkerton said.