STILLWATER, Okla. – Iowa State (18-18, 1-2 Big 12) took down No. 24 Oklahoma State (23-8, 2-1 Big 12), 5-4, in a 12-inning thriller at Cowgirl Stadium on Sunday. The win marks Iowa State’s first victory over a top-25 ranked opponent since April 25, 2015 vs. No. 16 Baylor.
The Cyclones trailed 4-1 entering the seventh inning, but got home runs by Logan Schaben and Sydney Stites to rally, sending the game to extra innings. Junior Taylor Nearad then crushed a solo home run to left field in the 12th inning that proved to be the game-winner.
Pitcher Emma Hylen gave a masterful performance in relief. The junior held an explosive OSU attack scoreless over 8.0 innings while giving up just five hits with two strikeouts in the win.
Iowa State 5, No. 24 Oklahoma State 4
The Cowgirls took an early lead, putting a run on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Madi Sue Montgomery ripped an RBI triple down the right field line, giving the Cowgirls a 1-0 lead. Oklahoma State added to its lead with a solo home run by Taylor Lynch in the third.
Oklahoma State extended its lead and looked to be in the driver’s seat when a two-run shot to right center by Montgomery left the yard to put the Cowgirls ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth. Hylen then entered for ISU starter Savannah Sanders, who held her own against OSU’s powerful offense, allowing six hits with two strikeouts in 4.0 innings.
Hylen entered and had one of the finest performances of her career. The sophomore stifled Cowgirl batters time and again, allowing just two hits over the next six innings.
Meanwhile, the Cyclone bats sparked a comeback. Iowa State broke through and put their first run on the board in the top of the sixth. Sally Woolpert led off with a single through the left side, and Kaylee Bosworth later picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice to cut OSU’s lead to 4-1.
Schaben then stepped to the plate to lead off the seventh inning and announced, with one swing of the bat, that the Cyclones would not go away without a fight. The sophomore launched her first home run of the season on a shot to left field. With Iowa State down to its final out later in the inning, Sami Williams laced a triple to right field, bringing the tying run to the plate. Stites, who has shown a knack for late-game heroics, re-set the game by crushing a two-run homer to left field to tie the game at 4-4.
The next four innings were scoreless, as Hylen and the Cyclone defense came up in the clutch time and again. The Cowgirls loaded the bases in both the eighth and 11th innings, but Iowa State found a way each time. In the 11th, OSU had runners on every base with no outs, one run away from a walk-off victory.
ISU got their first out of the inning on a fielder’s choice at the plate, but the bases remained loaded. In the ensuing at-bat, Hylen fielded a ground ball and helped turn a 1-2-3 double play to get the runner coming home and then the batter at first to get out of trouble.
Nearad, a junior college transfer by way of Kirkwood Community College, left the Cowgirl Stadium crowd stunned with a one-out solo home run to left center in the top of the 12th. It was Nearad’s first home run as a Cyclone, and lifted ISU to its first lead of the day.
Hylen and the Cyclone defense slammed the door shut in the bottom of the 12th, lifting Iowa State past the Cowgirls.
The Cyclones return to Ames set to play their first home games of the season next weekend. Iowa State’s home-opener will be Thursday at 4 p.m. vs. Texas.