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College Softball: Cyclones topple No. 8 Michigan

This news story was published on February 23, 2020.
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COLUMBIA, SC – The Iowa State softball team (7-5) used a four-run seventh inning to topple No. 8 Michigan Wolverine (10-1), 5-1, on day two of the Gamecock Invitational, before falling 5-3 at No. 22 South Carolina (9-3).

Sami Williams etched her name into program history once more, breaking Iowa State’s all-time home runs record by hitting two dingers on the day – the 42nd and 43rd of her career. Williams surpassed the previous school record of 42 set by Cyclone great Tori Torrescano (2010-13). On the day, Williams went 5-of-6 at the plate with six RBI, two home runs, a triple and a double.

The Cyclone win over No. 8 Michigan was the second victory over a top-10 opponent in as many tries (vs. No. 8 Texas – May 10, 2019). Prior to that, Iowa State had not defeated a top-10 team since March 9, 2013.

Iowa State 5, Michigan 1
Williams, a senior, got the scoring started early for the Cyclones with a solo home run to right center field as the second batter of the game, giving the Cyclones the early momentum and a 1-0 advantage. Williams’ home run was the 42nd of her collegiate career, tying Torrescano’s school record.

From that point, the Cyclone offense was held in check until Williams’ second at-bat in the fourth inning, when she hit a single that ricocheted off of the Michigan pitcher. She then proceeded to steal second but would be left stranded there.

In the fifth, Michigan would tie the game off of a two-out single up the middle that scored the baserunner from third and put runners at first and second, but the Cyclones would get out of the inning from there.

In the final inning of the game, Alesia Ranches ignited the Cyclone offense, starting the frame off with an infield single, and then advanced to second off a throwing error by the Wolverine first baseman. Ranches was moved over to third on a Mikayla Ramos sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Kasey Simpson would then force a walk to put runners on the corners, but that would not last long, as pinch runner Lea Nelson would steal second base on her first pitch on base.

Ellie Spelhaug then came up clutch, bringing the runners in from second and third off of a single to left field to put the Cyclones up 3-1. Following a Carli Spelhaug walk, Williams ripped a two-out double down the left field line to score both Ellie and Carli Spelhaug, padding the Iowa State lead to 5-1. Williams was 3 for 3 in the game with 3 RBI, a double and a home run.

In the home half of the seventh, the Cyclones were able to get out of a bases loaded jam, with no one out in the inning. This charge was led by freshman Ellie Spelhaug who pitched all seven innings, allowing only 1 earned run on 7 hits and 2 walks. She also rung up 4 Michigan batter via the strikeout.

South Carolina 5, Iowa State 3
The Cyclones missed out on a golden chance to get on the board early in the game as Sami Williams laced a triple to right field with only one out in the inning, but failed to get her home.

South Carolina wasted no time getting on the board, scoring one run in the first and two more runs in the second, putting the Gamecocks in front, 3-0.

Both teams struggled to generate any offense in the middle innings until the Gamecocks added two more runs via the long ball in the bottom half of the fifth inning, giving them a 5-0 advantage.

The Cyclones offense came to life, however, in the top of the sixth as Mikayla Ramos singled with one away in the inning and Carli Spelhaug followed that up with a walk. Sami Williams followed suit with her record-breaking home run to right center field, scoring all three of Iowa State’s runs in the game.

In the seventh, the Cyclones were held in order to end the game, giving the Gamecocks the 5-3 victory.

On Deck
Iowa State will close out the Gamecock Invitational on Sunday when they take on Boston College at 11:30 a.m. C.T.

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