Three Big Takeaways: Iowa State gets first-round win in Big 12 Tournament


Tyler Coe

Angelina Allen celebrates a run against Iowa on April 26, 2022.

Anthony Hanson, Sports Reporter

Iowa State softball extended its season Thursday with a convincing win in the Big 12 Tournament against Baylor. 

The Cyclones beat the No. 15 ranked Bears 8-1 in the elimination game. Iowa State will move on to face No. 1 Oklahoma on Friday. 

Iowa State left fielder Angelina Allen was four-for-five at the plate with two doubles in the contest and gave Iowa State two RBIs. Ellie Spelhaug received the win after a dominant performance in the circle. She allowed two hits and one run while pitching a complete game.

Iowa State won two-out-of-three games against Baylor when the teams squared off in Ames earlier this season. Last season, the Cyclones also beat Baylor in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. 

Allen’s heroics put Cyclones on top

Iowa State hitters made 16 hits on 36 at-bats during Thursday’s seven innings of play. Iowa State batted for a .444 average against three Baylor pitchers. RyLee Crandall, Kaci West and Dariana Orme all pitched for Baylor and each allowed at least five hits. 

Orme, the Baylor leader in innings pitched and wins, gave up six hits and allowed five runs in 1.2 innings pitched. 

Crandall received the start for Baylor and avoided two early threats from the Cyclones. In the first, Allen reached base but was stranded as the Baylor defense retired the side. 

In the second, two Cyclone hitters reached base but both were abandoned. Kasey Simpson singled and reached third before Crandall recorded a strikeout to end the inning. 

In the third, Allen allowed the Cyclones to jump in front. After a leadoff walk from Milaysia Ochoa, Allen recorded her second hit of the day and put Iowa State on the board 1-0. Her double reached the wall in right-center field allowing Ochoa to score from third easily. 

Allen herself came into score on a single from Alesia Ranches, and the Cyclones led 2-0. Later in the sixth, Allen came through again for the Iowa State offense. That time, just after the Baylor ace entered to pitch. 

After the bottom of the fifth inning, the game was suspended due to lightning in the area. After the 33-minute weather delay, Baylor’s Orme entered to pitch. Orme had 14 wins on the season but received two losses when she faced Iowa State in Ames. 

The Cyclones returned to the field after the delay with immediate offense. 

Ochoa doubled, and Mikayla Ramos hit a sacrifice fly that moved Ochoa to third. It was Allen that doubled to score Ochoa and put Iowa State up 4-0. 

Spelhaug in the circle

In what could be her final start in a Cyclone uniform, Spelhaug was nearly flawless. 

Spelhaug and the Iowa State defense retired Baylor hitters in order five times during Thursday’s matchup. Spelhaug recorded three strikeouts in the first three innings as Baylor did not manage a baserunner. 

The first Baylor hitter came when Spelhaug walked power hitter Shaylon Govan in the fourth. Govan was called out after a fielder’s choice in the very next at-bat. In the fifth, Spelhaug and Iowa State returned to lights-out pitching and defense. The Iowa State righthander added a strikeout in the one-two-three inning. 

Govan became the only Baylor hitter to drive in a run after a sixth-inning double. Both Spelhaug’s hits allowed came in the sixth after the 33-minute delay. 

Rematch with the Sooners

Iowa State will face No. 1 ranked Oklahoma at 1 p.m. Friday. Iowa State was swept by the Sooners in Ames earlier this season. 

Oklahoma is 49-1 this season. The Sooners’ only loss of the season came against Baylor.

Oklahoma also swept the Cyclones in every meeting last season, cutting Iowa State’s postseason short.

Last year, Oklahoma knocked Iowa State out of the Big 12 tournament in the second round. Now the script is playing out the same again, as Iowa State has to face the No. 1 team in the nation following its first-round win over Baylor.