WACO, Texas – Iowa State (27-18, 4-8 Big 12) clinched a series sweep of Baylor (17-27, 2-14 Big 12) on Saturday with a 4-1 win in the series finale at Getterman Stadium. With the win, Iowa State secured a bid to the 2019 Big 12 Softball Championship in Oklahoma City (May 10-11).
It is Iowa State’s first conference road sweep since March 2002 (two-game series) and the first three-game conference road sweep in program history. The win was also the 400th of Iowa State head coach Jamie Pinkerton‘s career.
Iowa State 4, Baylor 1
The Cyclones came out of the gates fast, capitalizing on a Baylor miscue to plate a run in the top of the first inning. Lead-off batter Sami Williams reached second base safely on a BU error. Taylor Nearad then came to the plate and launched a sacrifice fly, as Williams raced home after the Lady Bear center fielder collided into the outfield wall while tracking the ball down.
The Cyclone bats really showed up in the top of the second inning, started by freshman Kasey Simpson. The native of Keller, Texas, crushed a one-out double to left field, and then scored on an RBI double for Logan Schaben, extending the lead to 2-0. Sami Williams followed suit, dropping an RBI base hit into right field, allowing Schaben to race home.
Nearad then collected her second RBI in as many at-bats by smacking an RBI single up the middle, giving Iowa State a 4-0 lead after one and a half innings.
Baylor scored its first run on a Cyclone error in the home half of the second. However, left fielder Hannah Carter got ISU out of trouble by making a spectacular catch up against the outfield wall to leave a BU runner stranded on third.
ISU starting pitcher Shannon Mortimer exited in the bottom of the third inning after 2.1 innings of effective work. Emma Hylen entered in relief and was dominant. The senior surrendered just one hit in 4.2 innings of work while tallying three strikeouts to improve to 13-7 on the year. She is the first Cyclone pitcher to reach 13 wins in a season since Katie Johnson reached 18 wins in 2014.
It marked the first time that Iowa State has won three games in a conference road series since 1993, when the Cyclones took three of four games at Missouri.
The Cyclones will travel to Omaha, Neb., to take on Omaha on Wednesday at Westside Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.