ISU softball breezes past IUPUI 7-0; beats Eastern Illinois 8-7 in extra innings


Sophomore outfielder Kelsey McFarland hits a foul ball back into the netting during the 7-0 win against IUPUI on Feb. 12. McFarland went a perfect 3 for 3 with two RBI’s and one run. 

It wasn’t your average softball environment. For the annual Cyclone Invitational, It never is. The Bergstrom Football Complex in Ames, Iowa is the site of the yearly event which has kicked off Iowa State Softball’s season for six years now has an eerily quiet atmosphere, this is understandable considering that the fans are over half the football field away from the game.

This didn’t stop Iowa State from winning both games in its doubleheader this weekend. Iowa State breezed past first opponent IUPUI (0-2, 0-0 Summit League) in 7-0 blowout.

But, it was a different story against Eastern Illinois (1-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley Conference) that forced the game into extra innings. Iowa State escaped in the 10th inning with an 8-7 victory.  

Iowa State’s perseverance was tested early on in the game.

After Iowa State’s starting pitcher for the Eastern Illinois game, Brianna Weilbacher, was knocked out of the game in the first inning with a head injury from a softball, it was up to freshman pitchers Emma Hylen and Savannah Sanders to take control of the game.

The Cyclones gave up 3 runs in the first inning to give Eastern Illinois a 3-0 lead, the Cyclones responded by scoring 3 in the Second inning and 2 in the third inning. By the end of the seventh inning the score was tied at 5.

Sanders, who pitched the entire IUPUI game, came away with two wins with a total of 13 strikeouts on the day. 5 of those strike outs coming from the 4.1 innings that Sanders pitched against Eastern Illinois.

Iowa State had to rely on its depth of talent in the roster when senior leaders Brittany Gomez and Aly Cappaert. Both Gomez and Cappaert recorded 0 hits in their game against Eastern Illinois.

Kelsey McFarland stepped up to fill the void left by Gomez and Cappaert as she was perfect in all 7 of her at bats on the day. McFarland also scored 3 runs and had 3 RBIs off of those 7 hits for both games. Against Eastern Illinois, she had 4 hits, 2 runs and 1 RBI.

McFarland’s RBI was critical in keeping Iowa State alive in the 9th which tied them up at 7, coming into the ninth Iowa State had been down by 2 scores.

The game was decided on Cathlin Bingham’s single to center field allowing runner Sammie Hildreth to score from third base.