JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Iowa State (10-10) split a pair of games on Sunday at the Osprey Classic, falling to Virginia Tech (10-8) by a score of 6-4 before a thrilling 3-2 win in extra innings over Jacksonville (11-8). The Cyclones are now 3-0 in extra inning games this season, and 5-0 in games decided by one run.
The Cyclones got a tremendous 7.1 inning effort out of pitcher Brianna Weilbacher, who tied a season-high 10 strikeouts and gave up no earned run on just two hits to help Iowa State defeat the Dolphins. Kaila Konz went 3-for-4 in the win, setting a new single-game career high for base hits, and also scored a run.
Virginia Tech 6, Iowa State 4
The Cyclones came out of the gates fast, scoring all four of their runs in the top of the first inning. Kirsten Caudle drew a lead-off walk and Taylor Nearad followed with an RBI triple to center field, her second of the season. Sally Woolpert later laced an RBI single down the right field line to bring Nearad home.
Hannah Carter reached on a wild pitch in the next at-bat, putting two runners on for Nychole Antillon with two outs. The senior ripped a two-RBI triple down the left field line, scoring Carter and Woolpert to put the Cyclones ahead 4-0 in the early going. It was the first triple of Antillon’s career.
Iowa State maintained its advantage until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Hokies capitalized on a pair of ISU miscues to tie the game at 4-4. Emma Strouth reached on a Cyclone fielding error with the bases loaded, allowing the first run to score. The Hokies added two more runs on another fielding error, cutting the lead to 4-3. Olivia Latten then ripped an RBI double up the middle and Sierra Walton scored on an obstruction call at the plate.
Hokie relief pitcher Keely Rochard entered after two innings of action, and the Cyclone batters were unable to figure her out. Rochard held Iowa State hitless through the game’s final 5.0 innings.
Virginia Tech took the lead for good in the home half of the sixth inning. With two on and two outs, Casey Barrett notched a two-RBI double to left center, which proved to be the game-winner.
Iowa State 3, Jacksonville 2
Iowa State once again jumped out to an early lead in the weekend finale vs. Jacksonville. Following two scoreless innings, Konz led-off by laying down a beautiful bunt to first base for a single. Sami Williamsthen smacked a double down the left field line to put runners on second and third with no outs.
Nearad followed suit with an RBI single through the right side, scoring Konz for the first run of the game. Sydney Stites stepped up later in the frame and laced an RBI single up the middle to score Williams, extending the Cyclone lead to 2-0.
Meanwhile, Weilbacher was absolutely dominant against the Dolphin batting order. The senior allowed just two hits and had 10 strikeouts in the outing, and at one point retired 10 consecutive JU hitters. The native of Columbia, Ill., exited with two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, before JU’s Danielle Baker hit a two-RBI double to right center, tying the game.
Sydney Stites, who went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in the game, started the top of the eighth on second base, and was moved over to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Woolpert. Stites then scored as Antillon reached on a Jacksonville fielding error to re-take the lead at 3-2.
Weilbacher re-entered to get the final out with her 10th strikeout of the game, giving her the unconventional save, while Savannah Sanders collected the win.
Iowa State heads south to compete in the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic, hosted by the University of Houston. The Cyclones open the tournament on Friday at 10 a.m. vs. Lipscomb.