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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State earns final road win against Drake

Elizabeth Lane
Ashley Minor and her coach talk at first base during the Iowa State vs. DePaul softball game at Cyclones Sports Complex, April 9, 2024.

With its final home series awaiting Iowa State, the Cyclones had to hit the road one final time during their regular season, as the team traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to face Drake on Wednesday night.

Despite a fourth-inning scare by the Bulldogs, a five-run first inning helped Iowa State secure a 9-8 victory over Drake, giving the Cyclones one final road win this season.

Iowa State’s hot start leads the way

After only being able to muster up three total runs in the Cyclones’ three-game series with No. 1 Texas over the weekend in Austin, Texas, Iowa State did not waste any time jumping in front of the Bulldogs.

The Cyclones put up a solid first inning over Drake, which was the deciding factor in Iowa State’s close win Wednesday night.

Three of those five runs came from the four doubles hit by the Cyclones’ batters, with three of the four coming from the top of the lineup.

With the Bulldogs sending out pitcher Jayme Scheck to start the game, it proved to not be enough for a team like Iowa State that looked to pull in front quickly.

Along with the hot start in the top of the first inning, Iowa State starting pitcher Tatum Johnson held her end down for three shutout innings.

Despite Johnson’s last start not going to plan against St. Thomas, she did not let her past get the better of her, as Johnson no-hit the Bulldogs through the first two innings.

Drake’s eight-run fourth inning almost leads to Cyclone collapse

While the first three innings went to plan for an Iowa State team looking for a redeeming win after getting swept in Austin this past weekend, it almost was choked away due to a disastrous fourth inning.

The Bulldogs did not waste any time to start the inning on the right foot, as Drake catcher Carey Koenig hit a lead-off solo home run to give the Bulldogs their first run of the game.

The runs continued to come in following Koenig’s home run as Drake poured on seven more runs to give them a commanding three-run lead over the Cyclones heading into the fifth inning.

One of the main reasons for this explosive inning came from the long ball, as there were four home runs hit by the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Two of those four home runs came from Koenig’s bat as she punished the Iowa State pitching.

Spelhaug and Ralston shut the door to seal an Iowa State win

Following the fourth-inning collapse by the Cyclones, it left the question of whether Iowa State could find the will to come back and win after a gut-wrenching inning.

That question was quickly put to bed, as the Cyclones did not trail for long in the top of the fifth inning because of a Carli Spelhaug three-run home run that knotted the game back at eight runs apiece.

The first basemen continued to be one of the vital pieces of this struggling Iowa State team and it showed with her seventh home run of the season Wednesday.

Despite not obtaining the lead in that fifth inning, the Cyclones quickly got the lead back in the top of the sixth inning thanks to a passed ball that allowed center fielder Milaysia Ochoa to score from third base and give Iowa State the 9-8 lead.

When it came down to finding a pitcher to close out the eventual win for the Cyclones, head coach Jamie Pinkerton looked no other than putting right-handed pitcher Jaiden Ralston to close out the final two innings for Iowa State.

Pinkerton’s decision came to be a success, as Ralston slammed the door shut on any potential comeback from the Drake hitters.

Highlighted by a three-strikeout sixth inning, Ralston finished her day only allowing one hit and one walk in two innings with four total strikeouts while also picking up her fifth win of the season.

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