Baylor Bears

Three Thoughts on Iowa State’s 8-1 Win Over Baylor in the Big 12 Softball Championship

Big 12 Conference

In the first game of the 2023 Big 12 Softball Championship, it was Iowa State who advanced with an 8-1 win over the Baylor Bears.

While the Bears entered Thursday’s matchup as the favorites to advance, Iowa State showed up and showed out. Between a barrage of hits from the entire roster, stellar pitching from Ellie Spelhaug, and every bit of momentum in the stadium possible, the Cyclones weathered the storm with ease.

In the second year of the single-elimination format in the Big 12 Tournament, the Bears’ run comes to an end at the hands of the Cyclones. Iowa State advances to take on Patty Gasso and the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday at 1:00 p.m. CT, with that said, here are three thoughts on the game.

 

ELLIE SPELHAUG TOSSES A GEM

Anytime a near no-hitter is thrown, that has to be the main story. Ellie Spelhaug finished her day off with five strikeouts and one hit given up.

The cool, calm, and collected approach from Spelhaug could be seen at any point in the game but most notably during the fifth inning in the midst of a tough at-bat against Ana Watson, Spelhaug was spotted singing songs coming through the stadium’s PA system.

The lightning delay was the only thing that could slow Spelhaug’s day down as the break came right after the completion of the fifth inning. When play resumed, Spelhaug’s no-hitter bid was broken up in the sixth after a single from Presleigh Pilon and a double from Shaylon Govan to get a score across. She eventually battled out of the sixth inning with a fly out to send it to the seventh inning.

Spelhaug finished off her day with six strikeouts, one walk, and gave up just two hits, putting together a major statement game in the first round of the tournament.

 

CYCLONE HITTING STORM

The bats were incredible for the Cyclones as they piled nine hits through five innings, earning three runs scored. Iowa State didn’t try to overswing at pitches, they just continued to move the order which set them up for scoring opportunities.

The Cyclones batted a scorching .444 on the day and it didn’t matter who the Bears threw on the mound to try and slow things down. The Cyclones logged multiple hits off of the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week RyLee Crandall, as well as Kaci West and Dariana Orme.

16 hits is a season-high for the Iowa State and it came at the perfect time. The Cyclones’ momentum in the batter’s box should help propel them forward for a tough round-two matchup against Oklahoma.

 

BAYLOR LIKELY ON THE ROAD FROM HERE ON OUT

The Baylor Bears needed to win on Thursday and push Oklahoma on Friday to give itself the best chance at landing a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, Iowa State squandered that chance, sending the Bears home early with a decisive win. Baylor has had a tendency to play up and down all season, and after taking down Texas last weekend it looked like a completely different team in OKC.

The Bears had two errors and just two hits on the day, while giving up 15 hits to the second-worst offense in the Big 12. Iowa State proved to have BU’s number this season, winning three out of four, and this last game might prove to be the most costly of all.

With the early exit, Baylor now appears to be just out of reach of hosting a regional. While that stings for Glenn Moore’s squad, there is good news. Landing the No. 16 seed means matching up with Oklahoma in the second round. Now, there’s at least a shot that the Bears can go on the road and not have to face the top-ranked team in the nation.

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