LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Iowa State softball team split its doubleheader Saturday night at the NMSU Softball Complex. The Cyclones started off with a walk-off, 5-4 loss to hosts New Mexico State for ISU’s first loss of the season. However, the Cyclones rebounded with a five-inning 9-1 defeat of Northern Colorado to improve to 7-1 on the season.
Aly Cappaert hit a two-run home run in each game to tie the school record for longest hit streak at 15 games. Cappaert ties the school record set by Erin Woods during the 1999 season and Erica Miller in the 2012 campaign.
New Mexico State 5, Iowa State 4
Story of the Game
With the score tied 1-1, New Mexico State broke open the game with a three-run bottom of the third. Staci Rodriguez led off the inning with a home run off Paris Imholz to allow NMSU to re-take the lead at 2-1. After allowing a single to Fiana Finau, Imholz was replaced by Katie Johnson. NMSU’s Kelsey Dodd was the first batter to see Johnson and she took the ISU freshman out of the park with a two-run homer to left to give NMSU a 4-1 lead.
The Cyclones got one back right away in the top of the fourth as Brittany Gomez drove in Jorden Spendlove, who reached earlier in the inning with a double, to reduce the NMSU lead to 4-2.
Neither team could add to their scores heading into the top of the seventh with Iowa State needing runs to survive. Sara Davison led off the inning with a single to left-center to set the stage for Aly Cappaert, who bombed a two-run homer over the left-center wall to tie the game 4-4.
Unfortuantely for ISU, a recurring problem came back, runners left on base. The Cyclones were able to get two on in the rest of the inning, but could not cash it in as ISU had to settle with a tied game heading to the bottom of the seventh.
After retiring the first NMSU batter, Aggies catcher Alyssa Ruiz posted a single. Though Johnson was able to strikeout Misty Hoohuli for the second out, Ruiz was able to advance to second during the at-bat. That proved crucial as Brennalyn Nakamura hit a short line drive to centerfield. Gomez made a throw home, but it was just late and the sliding Ruiz clinched the win for the Aggies.
Player of the Game
Brittany Gomez. The table-setter for Iowa State offense finished the first game 3-of-4 at the plate with an RBI.
Iowa State 9, Northern Colorado 1
Story of the Game
The Cyclones made sure the bats would not start cold in their second game of the evening. Gomez and Sarah Hawryluk each started the game with singles and stolen bases. A Davison groundout brought Gomez home to get ISU on the board. Cappaert only needed to see one pitch to make it 3-0 with a two-run homer. The long bomb also extended her hit streak to 15 games, dating back to last season, to tie the school record.
With the score 4-1 in the bottom of the second, it was the Canadian Hawryluk who made the next dent. The senior lined a rope down the left-field line that caught the outfield, which was playing in off-guard. Liana Henry and Gomez sped around to score while Hawryluk dove into third with her third-career triple. Cappaert got her third RBI to make it 7-1 on an infield single.
The Cyclones got the eight-run lead needed to end the game early in the bottom of the fourth frame. With the bases loaded and one out, Sara Rice fired a chopper that took a big bounce over the Northern Colorado shortstop and into the outfield for a two-RBI single and the 9-1 lead.
Freshman Katie Johnson cleaned it up from there. Johnson only allowed two hits and an unearned run in five innings while striking out four.
Player of the Game
Aly Cappaert. The sophomore made school history with the two-run home run that moved ISU ahead 3-0 and tied the school record for longest hit streak at 15 games. Cappaert finished the game 2-of-2 from the plate with three RBIs and also drew a walk.
Iowa State closes out the Troy Cox Classic Sunday morning with a game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Cyclones and Islanders will take to the field for a 10 a.m. CT match-up.