Iowa State plans to carry momentum into Oklahoma State matchup


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State sophomore Milaysia Ochoa runs the bases during the Cyclones’ 11-1 loss to Oklahoma State April 10 at the Cyclone Sports Complex.

Anthony Hanson, Sports Reporter

Iowa State head coach Jamie Pinkerton knows exactly what his team is getting into with its next matchup.

Iowa State softball will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to face No. 3 Oklahoma State in a three-game series starting Friday. Iowa State is fresh off its first home win of the season Tuesday, but to beat the Women’s College World Series semi-finalists from last season, the Cyclones will need to play a complete game.

“We’ve got to be clean,” Pinkerton said. “We’ve got to be near perfect and force them into some mistakes.”

All three facets of the game will be needed to knock off the 37-3 Cowgirls, Pinkerton said.

Last season, Oklahoma State was three games away from reaching the Women’s College World Series final. Oklahoma State lost two games in a three-game series against Texas in the semifinals, ending a postseason run orchestrated, in part, by starting pitcher Kelly Maxwell.

When Oklahoma State and Maxwell came to Cyclone Sports Complex last season, it was Iowa State that gained an upset win. The Cyclones won 3-1 and handed Maxwell her first loss of the season.

Oklahoma State’s three starting pitchers have more than seven starts and only have one loss between them entering Friday’s series.

“Kelly Maxwell is a really good, experienced pitcher,” Iowa State slugging leader Milaysia Ochoa said. “We just have to do what we’ve been doing and hit good pitches hard and see what happens.”

Ochoa, who faced Maxwell last season in Iowa State’s upset win, has been an offensive spark lately for the Iowa State lineup. The junior centerfielder added more pop to her offensive skill set this season. She hit two home runs in game two of a doubleheader Tuesday against South Dakota State.

Ochoa’s slugging percentage of .611 leads all qualifying hitters in the Cyclone clubhouse. Ochoa is now batting in the leadoff spot and increased her slugging percentage from her sophomore season mark of .442. Ochoa also leads the Iowa State clubhouse with eight home runs.

Ochoa added two doubles to her box score during Iowa State’s first home win against South Dakota State, although Iowa State lost the first game of the doubleheader to the Jackrabbits.

The Cyclones were in position to win, however, and Pinkerton could live with the Cyclone mistakes, the head coach said postgame.

“We were failing in the right direction,” Pinkerton said. “We didn’t fail making mistakes, we just failed executing the game.”

In total, Iowa State left eight runners on base during game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader, including four in scoring position. In the seventh inning, Iowa State failed to execute a suicide-squeeze play.

Kasey Simpson could not make contact on her bunt attempt as pinch runner Lea Nelson left for home plate.

“We had a chance to win, and that’s all you can ask for,” Pinkerton said.

Iowa State will start its series with Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. Friday. The series will continue with games at 2 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. All games can be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.