Iowa State faces No. 9 Texas in home series


Iowa State softball infielders meet in the circle with starting pitcher Saya Swain during the Cyclones’ 11–1 loss April 10.

Iowa State softball welcomes another top team in the Big 12 Conference to Ames on Thursday.

In the second home series of the season, the Cyclones will face No. 9 Texas in a three-game series. The Longhorns are the second-best team in the conference, according to the national rankings.

The Cyclones most recent home series was against the top team in the Big 12 and all of college softball. On March 24, Iowa State hosted No. 1 Oklahoma for a three-game set and was swept. Iowa State head coach Jamie Pinkerton and the Cyclones will face a second top-10 team in a two-week span starting Thursday.

Iowa State is still in search of its first home win of the season. The Cyclones dropped all three games to the top-ranked Sooners, and Tuesday’s matchup with in-state rival Northern Iowa was canceled due to weather conditions.

The Longhorns are 3-3 in Big 12 games this season with their only losses coming to Oklahoma. Texas swept Texas Tech in a three-game set to open its Big 12 schedule. The Cyclones enter the matchup with Texas with only one conference win.

Iowa State opened its series with Texas Tech on Friday with a 3-2 win over the Red Raiders in extra innings. Texas Tech responded with two wins and a series win over the Cyclones.

In the road series with Texas Tech, the Iowa State lineup received a boost of offensive production from center fielder Milaysia Ochoa. The Iowa State junior found a rhythm at the plate against the Red Raider pitching staff.

In all three games, Ochoa recorded seven hits, three home runs and a .636 batting average while making plays on fly balls in center field. During the matchup Sunday, Ochoa posted a series of new career highs.

Her two home runs and four hits in game three of the series set new highs for the Cyclone center fielder. Ochoa has continued to add offensive power to her skill set throughout this season and her career.

Ochoa has eclipsed her mark of four home runs last season with six so far in the 2023 campaign. She now leads qualified Cyclone hitters with a .308 batting average.

The Longhorns have been especially consistent at the plate on their way to their 30-8-1 overall record. Texas ranks sixth in NCAA softball with a .348 team batting average, led by one of the nation’s top prospects.

Texas middle infielder Leighann Goode leads the Longhorns in several offensive categories. Goode, a freshman, was rated No. 3 in the nation among infielders as a recruit. Goode enters the series with Iowa State holding a .400 batting average.

Last season, Iowa State nearly upset No. 21 Texas in two consecutive games. The Longhorns won both after walk-off hits. In game one of the series, Iowa State had a 5-3 lead before a Texas grand slam ended the matchup 7-5 in favor of Texas. The next night, a Texas run in the bottom of the eighth put the Longhorns ahead.

In series history, Iowa State has only four wins over Texas. The last Iowa State win was in 2019.

Games one and two will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Friday while the series finale will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday. All games can be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.