ISU Now 6-0 After Pair of Wins at Troy Cox Classic
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Iowa State softball team is 6-0 after picking up a pair of wins Friday night at the Troy Cox Classic. The Cyclones left the NMSU Softball Complex with a 13-3 victory over hosts New Mexico State and an 8-6 win over Weber State.
The Cyclones were down three in both games. In the win over NMSU, Iowa State put up a monstrous 10-run fifth inning to totally shift the course of the game. ISU then dug its way out of a 3-0 first-inning deficit against Weber State by scoring eight unanswered runs across three straight innings.
Iowa State 13, New Mexico State 3
The 10-Run Fifth Inning
A first-inning Fiana FInau two-run home run gave New Mexico State control early. The Aggies were able to drive in a third run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 3-0. Katie Johnson came up with two big strikeouts with the bases loaded to prevent more Aggies runs.
Heading into the top of the fifth, Iowa State had already left nine runners stranded on base, including leaving the bases loaded twice. The Cyclones started the fifth with Aly Cappaert getting hit by a pitch, followed by a Rachel Hartman single and Lexi Slater reaching on an errant throw to first.
With the bases loaded and no one out, Jorden Spendlove singled to left to bring in the first run and make it 3-1. With Sara Rice ahead 2-0 on a count, NMSU decided to make a pitching change from Karysta Donisthorpe to Makayla McAdams. The change did not work as McAdams threw two straight balls to walk Rice on four pitches and reduce the NMSU lead to 3-2.
NMSU finally got the first out of the inning as Liana Henry reached on a fielder’s choice when the Aggies threw home to get the force at the plate, but it kept the bases loaded. Brittany Gomez put Iowa State ahead with a chopper down the middle and put ISU ahead 4-3.
Sarah Hawryluk’s at bat looked headed for an out when she grounded to short. NMSU shortstop Haley Nakamura threw to third for the force, but the third baseman, Emma Adams, did not take the force and dropped the ball attempting a tag, letting ISU load the bases again.
Sara Davison blew the inning open with a line drive double to the wall in right-center that cleared the bags with the speedy Gomez and Hawryluk able to come around and make the score 7-3 ISU. After a Cappaert strikeout, Rachel Hartman made it 8-3 with an RBI-single to left.
Lexi Slater capped off ISU’s dominant inning with a first-pitch home run over the leftfield wall to give ISU a 10-3 advantage. Spendlove hit a liner to left to end the inning, but the damage was done and the Cyclones had an unassailable 10-3 lead.
Player of the Game
Lexi Slater. The junior, known for her elite fielding ability, showed off her prowess at the plate. Slater finished the marathon game 3-of-5 from the plate with three runs and her two RBIs she earned on her two-run homer to cap off the fifth inning.
Slater showed why she is regarded as the best defensive shortstop in the Big 12 and among the best in the nation, recording three put-outs and five assists in the win.
Iowa State 8, Weber State 6
How the Game Was Won
Once again, Iowa State found itself in an early hole as the Wildcats trotted three runs across and on the board in the top of the first off Paris Imholz, who was making her Iowa State debut in the circle.
The Cyclone offense took control in the second as Jorden Spendlove scored the first run of the game by bringing Lexi Slater around all the way from first to make it 3-1. Sara Rice took the first pitch she saw way over the wall in left-center for her second homer of the season to tie the game at 3-3.
With two on and one out in the bottom of the third, Rachel Hartman drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI-single. Two batters later, it was Spendlove again adding to the Iowa State account with another RBI-double that scored Hartman to make it 5-3.
Liana Henry made it 6-3 on the first at-bat of the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run. Brittany Gomez powered in a double and sped home on a bloop single from Sarah Hawryluk to make it 7-3. From there, the Cyclones loaded the bases with back-to-back walks and Slater added the eighth run via an RBI-single.
Weber State posted two home runs in the top of the sixth to close the gap to 8-6, but Katie Johnson was able to lock down and retire the side in the seventh inning to give the Cyclones the win.
Player of the Game
Liana Henry. Coming into Friday’s games, Henry had never posted a multi-hit game. The senior leftfielder blew that out of the water by going 3-for-3 in ISU’s second game and hitting her second career home run (first since March 2013) to put Iowa State ahead 6-3.
Iowa State returns to the NMSU Softball Complex for another doubleheader Saturday. The Cyclones take on New Mexico State at 7 p.m. Central Time and follow that up with a game against Northern Colorado.