HONOLULU, Hawaii – Iowa State (4-1) picked up wins over Hawaii (1-3) and Memphis (3-2) on Saturday to go home as 2020 Paradise Classic champions. The Cyclones took down Hawaii 7-2, followed by a 4-2 victory over Memphis in the title game at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
The Cyclones’ 4-1 opening weekend marks the program’s best start since 2016.
Iowa State 7, Hawaii 2
The Cyclones advanced to the finals of the Paradise Classic by opening the day with a 7-2 victory over Hawaii. The senior duo of Logan Schaben and Sami Williams gave the Cyclones a spark in the bottom of the first inning. Williams collected ISU’s first hit of the day on a double to right center, and Schaben followed suit with a double of her own, scoring Williams to collect her seventh RBI of the weekend.
Hannah Carter, Skyler Ramos and Bryn Hanrahan tallied consecutive singles in the home half of the second, and Carli Spelhaug collected an RBI on a fielder’s choice to score Carter, extending the lead to 2-0. Alesia Ranches, a native of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, collected the first RBI of her collegiate career in the following inning on a base hit that scored pinch runner Angelica Gonzalez, to put the Cyclones ahead 3-0.
In the circle, freshman Karlie Charles put together yet another quality start. She worked her way out of trouble early, leaving UH runners stranded in scoring position in both the first and second innings before settling in. Charles retired the side in both the third and fourth frame to keep the Rainbow Wahine scoreless through four.
The Cyclones broke things open in the bottom of the fourth. Following base hits for Hanrahan and Spelhaug, Williams stepped to the plate and hit her fourth home run in as many games, a three-run shot to left field, giving Iowa State a 6-0 advantage. Later in the inning, sophomore Mikayla Ramos came to the plate and hit the first home run of her career to left, extending the lead to 7-0.
Hawaii got on the board in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs. Charles exited midway through the frame after putting in 4.1 innings of work while allowing just two earned runs. The freshman would collect her second win of the season for the effort.
Ellie Spelhaug was excellent in relief, allowing just one hit in 2.2 innings of work to close the door on Hawaii.
Iowa State 4, Memphis 2
Memphis jumped out to an early lead, capitalizing on a pair of first-inning Cyclone miscues to plate two runs in the bottom of the first inning. However, Jasso worked her way out of trouble with a pair of strikeouts and was phenomenal from that point forward. The newcomer from Dos Palos, Calif., racked up eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work to pick up her first career win.
Freshman Alesia Ranches provided the Cyclones with a spark in the top of the second innings, crushing a lead-off home run to left field. It was the Ewa Beach, Hawaii native’s first career homer, and cut Iowa State’s deficit in half.
Iowa State then broke out offensively in the decisive third inning. Williams started things by reaching first on a Memphis error, and later scored on yet another Tiger mistake to tie the game at 2-2.
Mikayla Ramos gave Iowa State the lead for good in the ensuing at-bat. Ramos ripped a double into right center, plating Schaben from third to put the Cyclones in front, 3-2. Ranches later collected another RBI on a fielder’s choice, as Ramos raced home from third to make it a 4-2 lead.
Jasso and the Cyclone defense took over from there. The freshman surrendered just one hit after the first inning, stifling a dangerous Memphis offense throughout the day.
Iowa State is back in action next weekend at the Knights Classic, hosted by UCF in Orlando, Fla. The Cyclones open the tournament on Friday at 1 p.m. CT vs. Villanova.