Three Big Takeaways: Softball ends four-game losing streak


Alexis Russell

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Anthony Hanson

Iowa State softball bounced back to break its four-game losing streak Saturday against North Dakota. 

Powered by big third and fifth innings, Iowa State defeated North Dakota 7-1 at the Wildcat Invitational. 

The Cyclones improved to 11-6 with the win. 

The slugging returns

In the fifth, Iowa State hit three home runs in four at bats. In the middle of the Iowa State lineup, Angelita Fuentes, Kasey Simpson and Natalie Wellet all drove solo shots out of Hillenbrand Stadium. 

Fuentes and Simpson came off North Dakota’s Morgan McConnell. Then, after the North Dakota starter left the game, Wellet homered in relief pitcher Jackie Albrecht’s first at bat. 

The home runs mark a return to form for an Iowa State lineup that used its slugging to top teams by large margins in 2022. 

During its four-game losing streak, Iowa State had just five extra base hits. With a two RBI double from Alesia Ranches, plus the fifth inning flurry of home runs, Iowa State had four extra base hits in one game on Saturday. 

Overall, Iowa State out-hit North Dakota 10-3 during the contest. 

Team effort in the circle

Against North Dakota, Saya Swain received the start in the circle. It was the sixth start of the year for the sophomore that struck out 17 batters in her second appearance of 2022. 

On Saturday, Swain allowed just one hit in her 3.2 innings of work. Swain added seven strikeouts to her season total. She’s now the staff leader in strikeouts in fewer appearances and innings pitched than her teammate Ellie Spelhaug. Swain has 44 strikeouts so far in 2022. 

The winning pitcher in terms of record, however, was junior Karli Charles. 

Charles relieved Swain the fourth and finished the game allowing just four North Dakota baserunners. Charles gave up two hits, a walk and one hit-by-pitch. It’s the third win of the year for Charles. 

North Dakota’s only run came off a wild pitch from Swain in the bottom of the third. 

Another opportunity

Iowa State returns to the diamond Sunday for another chance to build its resume. With 11 wins and six losses, head coach Jamie Pinkerton understand the importance of building his team’s win percentage before a competitive conference schedule kicks off. 

Playing Texas State and Loyola Chicago on Sunday gives the Cyclones a potential for two RPI building wins. 

The rating system, that is important for postseason positioning, isn’t top of mind for the Iowa State athletes, Pinkerton said. 

First pitch against Texas State on Sunday will be at noon, and Loyola Chicago and Iowa State will play immediately following at approximately 2 p.m.