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Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones fall to in-state rival in fall season Cy-Hawk matchup

Joseph Dicklin
Iowa State player Ireland Buss safely stealing second during the Drake vs. Iowa State match on Sept. 29, 2023 at the Cyclone Sports Complex.

AMES — The Cyclones played the Hawkeyes Saturday in the Big Four Showdown. Cyclone softball came out to play, but fell to the Hawkeyes 3-0.

After a solid outing against Drake, the Cyclones were expecting the momentum to carry over. However, the at-bats did not go the Cyclones’ way as they dropped the game to Iowa.

Preparing for the Hawkeyes

The Cyclones played Drake Friday to start the Big Four Showdown.

Iowa State head coach Jamie Pinkerton’s main point for the Cyclones over the weekend was to make more ball-to-bat contact. The Cyclones came out and did just that in the batter’s box against the Bulldogs.

“Today, we had some hard hit balls that forced some errors, but also we took advantage of the base runners we had,” Pinkerton said. “I thought out of the 12-14 hits is more like us, we started squaring up the balls.”

Senior pitcher Saya Swain started off the day for the Cyclones in the circle and came out hot with a strikeout. Swain ended the game with three strikeouts and was ready to compete against the Hawkeyes.

“I feel like if us as a team go out like we did today, we’ll be just fine,” Swain said. “I know it’s the Hawkeyes, but I want to stay within ourselves and play Iowa State softball.”

Cyclone defense holds the Hawkeyes

Throughout the game, the Cyclones held the Hawkeyes in the field with plays to keep the hits and runs to a minimum.

While the Hawkeyes were up 3-0 at the top of the fifth inning, center fielder Milaysia Ochoa made a strong back-handed catch in center field to get the Cyclones out of the inning.

During the top of the seventh, pitcher Karlie Charles started it off with a strikeout with her first appearance of the game. The Cyclones had a solid double play by Alesia Ranches forcing an out at second base. Ranches then made the throw to first baseman Carli Spelhaug to throw the runner out.

While the Cyclones had a tough defense in the field against the Hawkeyes, there were a few errors that made an impact on the Cyclone defense.

“Everything else was good today,” Pinkerton said. “We made two throwing errors, and they didn’t cost us any runs or put added stress onto the pitching staff.”

Pinkerton felt fine with where his team is at defensively and is going to work with the team on the errors that need to be fixed moving forward.

Cyclones aim too far in the batter’s box

The Cyclones started out the day with a slow start in the batter’s box but came out swinging in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Senior Sophie Maras started out with a hard bunt in front of the Hawkeye pitcher and reached first base, beating out Iowa’s defense. Next, Ranches hit a strong drive to right field to move Maras to second and Ranches to first base.

The Cyclones did not come out on top during the inning, finishing the bottom of the fourth down three runs.

The Cyclones had more ball-to-bat contact as Pinkerton wanted to see out of his team ending the day, however, Pinkerton would like to see more intention with hitting.

“We had opportunities with runners in scoring position, and all of a sudden went away from our gameplan,” Pinkerton said. “We started trying to hit five-run homers or doing more than what we should have done and was undisciplined in certain situations.”

Junior Olivia Wardlow had a solid day in the batter’s box with some strong contacts to move the Cyclones forward as well. Wardlow and the Cyclones wanted to change the intention of hitting as well as their energy against their final in-state rival UNI.

“I would say on offense, working on more situational hitting,” Wardlow said. “We talk a little but after the game about our energy in the dugout and after this loss today that won’t be a problem tomorrow.”

The Cyclones will start fresh with new energy from the team against the Panthers at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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