Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones split at Wildcat Invite


Zachary D. Bland

Then-freshman Milaysia Ochoa stands in the batter’s box in Iowa State softball’s game against the Northern Iowa Panthers in the NCAA Columbia Regional on May 22. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State Athletic Communications)

Anthony Hanson

Iowa State softball split two games on the final day of the Wildcat Invitational Sunday afternoon.

Iowa State’s late rally failed against Texas State to give the Cyclones their seventh loss of the 2022 season by a score of 4-3. Then, the Cyclones bounced back to beat Loyola Chicago 6-1 with multiple offensive rallies.

A late rally

The Texas State lineup wasted no time getting started Sunday afternoon.

In the top of the first, the heart of the Texas State order managed two runs. Iowa State starter Ellie Spelhaug allowed a walk, a double and a single in three-straight at bats. The Bobcats managed two runs before the Cyclones came to the plate.

The Iowa State batters were retired in order in the bottom of the first. Then, Texas State added two more runs in a second inning rally. Texas State led 4-0 when Iowa State came to the plate in the bottom of the second.

But for Cyclone batters, all it takes is one hit to spark a rally.

“We feed off each other,” Angelina Allen said just before heading to the Wildcat Invitational.

For Iowa State, it’s just a matter of starting the rally, Allen said.  

In the bottom of the third, nine-hole hitter Skyler Ramos led off with a double and Allen plated her teammate with another double. After an RBI ground out from Milaysia Ochoa, the Texas State lead was trimmed to 4-2.

In the fifth, Iowa State catcher Mikayla Ramos launched a solo home run. Then, Iowa State needed a rally in the bottom of the seventh to capture the victory.

After Iowa State boarded the first two batters in the seventh, Texas State pitcher Jessica Mullins recorded three straight outs to spoil Iowa State’s walk-off opportunity.

Overall, Iowa State left six batters on base against the Bobcats. Starting pitcher Ellie Spelhaug suffered the loss after she pitched a complete game.

Ramos’ huge day

Iowa State catcher Mikayla Ramos finished Sunday’s first game 2-3 with a home run and an RBI. Ramos is the batting average leader for Iowa State and is in contention for being the nation’s top home run hitter.

Entering the Wildcat Invitational, Ramos had eight home runs. But the junior hadn’t homered in five games.

In Sunday’s second game against Loyola Chicago, Ramos earned her tenth home run in her first at bat, then had another two RBI with singles in the third and fourth innings. In eight at bats on Sunday, Ramos boosted her average with five hits, and she added four RBI to her season total.

The first basemen Allen, however, is close behind Ramos. At .386, Allen is second on the team in average. She went three for four against Loyola Chicago and two for four in the one-run ballgame against Texas State. From right next to each other in the heart of the Cyclone batting order, Ramos and Allen are becoming two consistent threats for opposing pitchers.

In the circle for Iowa State, Saya Swain recorded her fifth win of the season. Swain struck out seven Loyola Chicago batters and allowed the Ramblers just one run. Loyola Chicago’s only run came on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. 

Looking ahead

With a 12-6 record, Iowa State will next head to another five-game weekend tournament. This time, the Louisville Slugger Invitational will host Iowa State starting on March 11.

It represents the next to last out-of-conference tournament the Cyclones will play before the Big 12 schedule begins.

In two double headers Friday and Saturday, then a lone game Sunday, Iowa State will face Boston University, Long Beach State, UCF, Cal State Fullerton and Sacramento State.