AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State softball team (35-22) is NISC Ames Regional champions after taking down Purdue (34-29), 5-3, on Saturday at the Cyclone Sports Complex. Iowa State will now travel to Fort Collins, Colo., for the NISC Championship round May 24-26. The Cyclones will face Loyola Marymount on Friday at 2 p.m. CT to open the four-team, double-elimination championship round.
In the circle, Emma Hylen completed a 3-0 weekend, giving up just one run on four hits in 4.0 innings of relief work.
Iowa State 5, Purdue 3
The Cyclones set the tone early, plating the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning. Williams notched a lead-off single and was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt, followed by a wild pitch. Lewis then plated the first run of the game with an RBI double down the right field line to put ISU ahead 1-0.
Purdue, which had already won two games earlier in the day to earn a spot in the regional final, fought back to take the lead in the top of the third. Lexi Huffman hit a two-run home run to left field, scoring teammate Rachel Becker, as the Boilermakers took their first lead of the game.
Stites made sure the deficit was short-lived however, crushing a two-run shot of her own to left center field. Stites’ bomb was Iowa State’s 45th of the season, tying the single-season program record set in 2018. It was her sixth home run of the season and gave the Cyclones a 3-2 lead.
Starting pitcher Savannah Sanders exited after three innings of work, allowing just two runs with a pair of strikeouts. Hylen then entered and held Purdue scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Cyclone offense, meanwhile, kept humming in the home half of the fourth inning. Williams tallied a lead-off double, followed by a Bosworth single to put runners on the corners. Lewis came up clutch again, sending a rope down the left field line that brought both Cyclone runners home to extend the lead to 5-2.
Purdue attempted a last-gasp rally in the seventh inning that included a Becker solo home run, but Hylen and the defense sealed the deal, punching Iowa State’s ticket to Fort Collins.
The Cyclones will open the NISC Championship Round at Triple Crown Sports in Fort Collins, Colo., on Friday at 2 p.m. CT vs. Loyola Marymount.