Early struggles cost Iowa State in blowout loss to No.18 Baylor


Tyler Coe

Jaiden Ralston in the circle against Iowa on Apr. 26, 2023.

Logan Shanks, Sports Reporter

AMES — The Cyclones struggled both offensively and defensively against No. 18 Baylor, causing them to get run-ruled 15-3 in five innings.

The trouble started early in this game after the Cyclones starting pitcher, freshman Jaiden Ralston, gave up two runs on three hits and a walk with one strikeout against Baylor’s first five batters. She was relieved of her duties by senior Karlie Charles, who finished out the inning with two pop-outs. 

“Jaiden had a rough start, and we got behind, and that’s been a tendency for this team to get behind in the first inning,” Iowa State head coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “After you upset somebody, you gotta know they’re gonna come back, and we weren’t ready for their punch.”

The Cyclones were unable to answer their first time up, with their first three batters going down in order. Iowa State’s first-base runner, senior Ellie Spelhaug, came in the second inning off of an error on a flyout to right field and was driven in on a flyout by senior Alesia Ranches. Heading into the third, the Cyclones trailed 4-1. 

After a scoreless inning by the Bears, senior Sarah Tyree hit her third home run of the season in the bottom of the third, getting the Cyclones on the board in the hitting department and closing Baylor’s lead to just two runs. 

“She’s put together some good at-bats, she’s played some good defense and is hitting well lately and had a power surge this last month,” Pinkerton said. “I’m really happy with the way she’s played and closing out her career.”

Baylor started to run away with the game after scoring eight runs on seven hits, along with two errors by Iowa State. In the fourth inning, the Cyclones scored just one run, with Baylor holding a 12-3 lead heading into the fifth. 

“Things got away; we gave up some hits and walked some batters and put our pitchers in high-leverage situations,” Pinkerton said. “When you get in that situation, you need to make a play defensively, and we made an error or two.” 

It was during the fifth inning when the weather took a turn for the worse as the rain started to pick up. When asked about the weather, Pinkerton refused to use it as an excuse claiming that “Baylor didn’t have any problems with it.” 

In the final inning of the game, Baylor scored three runs on three hits and two errors, and Iowa State went scoreless with one hit. The Cyclones ended the day with five hits and three errors. 

“I already told them everything we need to do; show up tomorrow and play good solid softball, and we’ll be fine,” Pinkerton said. “All year long, we’ve been able to bounce back, the only thing we lack is being more consistent.” 

The rubber match between the Cyclones and the Bears will be at noon Sunday, where the Cyclones look to improve their 3-11 Big 12 conference record.