Iowa State (11-15) split a doubleheader vs UCF (14-10) on Tuesday at the UCF Softball Complex. ISU opened the day with a 5-3 comeback victory, as the Cyclones rallied to score all five runs in the top of the sixth inning, before falling 11-3 in game two.
Iowa State 5, UCF 3
The Cyclones continued a trend of making big plays in crunch time with a timely offensive explosion in the top of the sixth inning of game one. Iowa State mounted threats in the top of the first, moving Sami Williams over to third base, but was not able to get to UCF starting pitcher Kamryn Toney and put runs on the board during the first five frames.
The Knights, meanwhile, manufactured a pair of runs in the second inning to take an early 2-0 lead. Following two scoreless frames, UCF tacked another run on the board in the bottom of the fifth when a double steal with runners on the corners allowed Courtney Rotton to score from third.
Iowa State was able to break the lid off the offense in a big way in the top of the sixth inning. The freshman duo of Williams and Talyn LewisClick here to hear it got things started, as Williams led-off with a double and was quickly brought home on a Lewis RBI triple to put the first Cyclone run of the day on the board.
Walks by Rachel Hartman and Kaila KonzClick here to hear it would later load the bases for Kirsten CaudleClick here to hear it. The sophomore, pinch-hitting in the nine hole, stepped to the plate with two outs and cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple to right field, providing the highlight of the game and giving Iowa State the lead at 4-3. Senior Cathlin Bingham, who went 2-for-3 in the game with a walk and an RBI, then knocked a single up the middle to score Caudle and extend the lead to 5-3.
The Knights threatened in the home half of the inning, loading the bases before starter Brianna Weilbacher got out of the frame with an infield pop-up. The Cyclones were then able to slam the door shut on the win in the bottom of the seventh, highlighted by a phenomenal double play. Williams, manning second base, made a diving catch on a blooper in shallow right field and flipped the ball to first to get the runner who had already taken off.
Weilbacher came away with the complete game victory, going all seven innings, while giving up three runs on eight hits, to go with four strikeouts, to improve to 6-6 on the season.
UCF 11, Iowa State 3
UCF got off to a fast start in the second game of the day, putting up three runs in the bottom of the first inning to claim an early lead. The Cyclones committed three errors in the frame, one of which brought two Knight runs to the plate.
Iowa State bounced back, cutting into the deficit with a run in the top of the second inning. Konz notched a lead-off single and then stole her eighth base of the season to spark the offense. Kaylee Bosworth paid it off by smacking an RBI double to left field, scoring Konz to put the Cyclones on the board.
The third inning was more of the same, as this time the Cyclones capitalized on a UCF fielding error. Williams first came in to score on the Knight miscue after a well-hit ball to left field by Rachel Hartman. Later in the inning, Hartman would score from second on a base hit up the middle by Konz.
However, the Knights returned the favor, scoring a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and five in the sixth to re-take the lead and win the game 11-3.
Iowa State will make the trip east to Fort Myers, Florida to compete in FGCU’s Battle at the Beach this weekend. The Cyclones open the tournament on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT vs. IUPUI.