Three Big Takeaways: Softball splits two games Friday night


Ochoa at the plate for the Cyclones during the game on April 10, 2021.

Anthony Hanson

After being tied through five innings, Iowa State softball lost to No. 6 UCLA Friday evening.

While Iowa State came up short of a historic program win, it responded in the second half of the double-header to beat CSUN 8-3. Mikayla Ramos provided the go-ahead solo home run.

After Friday’s pair of games at the Mary Nutter Classic, Iowa State now sits at nine wins and two losses.

Pitchers were dueling

In both of Friday’s games, starting pitchers from both sides were locked in.

Against No. 6 UCLA, Iowa State junior Ellie Spelhaug got the start. Spelhaug was Iowa State’s leader in earned run average heading into the Friday’s games. She was also the bullpen leader in innings pitch so far in the 2022 season.

For UCLA, it was fifth-year senior Lauren Shaw starting off with the ball. Shaw is a transfer from Iowa. She was sixth in the Big Ten last year with a 2.03 ERA while playing for the Hawkeyes.

Both starters provided their team’s five innings of scoreless softball.

Spelhaug struck out six UCLA batters in the first five innings of Friday’s game. The six strikeouts tied a career best for Spelhaug and was most of the season for the Iowa State junior.

Spelhaug and the Iowa State defense worked quickly, recording a one-two-three inning three separate times. Spelhaug allowed just one hit and three walks before leaving the game in the sixth inning.

For the Bruins, the defensive effort was equally impressive.

Left-fielder Carli Spelhaug singled to centerfield in the game’s very first at-bat. However, the UCLA pitching staff proceeded not give up a hit for 21 at-bats. Before leaving in the sixth, Shaw gave up one hit, one walk and no runs. UCLA’s Holly Azevedo finished the game with two innings in circle without allowing an Iowa State hit.

Cyclones stranded

All four of Iowa State’s baserunners were left on base against UCLA.

Carlie Spelhaug was left on third base in the first inning. And, after Mikayla Ramos was hit by pitch in the sixth, pinch runner Lea Nelson was stranded on second base.

In each loss so far in 2022, the Cyclones have stranded key runners. Iowa State left 10 on-base in its Feb. 13 loss to Drake in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

With UCLA’s high quality pitching staff firing on all cylinders, Iowa State could not capitalize off mistakes. Three times against UCLA Iowa State would gain a base runner early in the inning with no run to show for it.

Bounced back

In need of a bounce back game, Iowa State defeated CSUN 8-3. Catcher Mikayla Ramos had the go-ahead home run in the top of the sixth inning.

The solo shot was Ramos’ second RBI of the day after she provided a SAC-fly in the third. Malaysia Ochoa provided insurance with an RBI triple shortly after.

After providing the final out for Iowa State against UCLA, Karli Charles received the start against CSUN in the second game of the double header. Charles commanded the circle for 4.1 innings and allowed two runs. Charles struck out six in her third start and third win of 2022.

Charles needed relief in the fifth when a double, an error and a pair of singles allowed CSUN to tie the game.

Saya Swain took over against CSUN in the fifth inning and the sophomore bounced back as well.

Swain appeared against UCLA in the middle of a bases loaded jam and recorded one out after walking two batters. After entering in another difficult situation against CSUN, Swain became the winning pitcher with three strikeouts and one hit. 

Overall, Iowa State out-hit CSUN in the night’s final game 8-5. CSUN tallied six errors throughout the matchup. 

Saturday, Iowa State takes on San Diego and Loyola Marymount in another double header.