PHOENIX, Ariz. – Iowa State (7-7) split a pair of games on the opening day of the Lopes Up Classic, falling 7-6 to Northern Colorado (4-11) in game one before a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over Utah (5-11) in game two.
Junior Sami Williams went 5-of-8 at the plate on the day, including a pair of doubles to move into second place on Iowa State’s all-time doubles list with 40.
Northern Colorado 7, Iowa State 6
Northern Colorado jumped on Iowa State early, putting up seven runs in the top of the first inning. The Bear offense piled up six hits and three walks in the frame, including a two-run home run to left field by Hailee Swanson to put UNC ahead, 4-0. ISU sophomore Tatum Ksiazek entered to pitch following the Swanson home run.
The Bears extended their lead to 7-0 on back-to-back bloops into right center, including a two-RBI base hit by Madi Schmidt.
The Cyclones recovered from the poor start and scratched out a pair of runs in the home half of the third inning. Logan Schaben opened the frame with a single down the left field line, and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt from Hannah Carter. Williams then laced an RBI double to right field, scoring Schaben. It was the 39th double of Williams’ career to move her into second place on Iowa State’s career list. Taylor Nearad then followed suit with an RBI double of her own to cut the Bear lead to 7-2.
Kirsten Caudle kept the rally going in the bottom of the fourth, crushing a solo home run to center field, making the score 7-3 in favor of Northern Colorado. It was the third home run of Caudle’s career, and her first since March 4, 2017 vs. Nevada.
Iowa State continued to fight, despite behind held scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings. With runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Williams crushed a home run off the scoreboard in right center field, cutting the deficit to just one run at 7-6. However, the rally ended there as Northern Colorado held on to win.
Williams went 3-of-4 at the plate with four RBI’s, a home run, a double and two runs scored. Kaylee Bosworth and Caudle were each 2-of-3 in the first game of the day.
Iowa State 7, Utah 4
The Cyclones rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the second game of the day, keyed by a six-run fifth inning.
Utah was able to strike first following a pair of scoreless innings to open the game. Katie Faulk hit a solo home run to lead-off the inning, and Hailey Hilburn later notched an RBI single to give the Utes a 2-0 advantage.
The Cyclones generated their first offense of the game in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit in half. Sydney Stites walked to open the inning and was moved over on a single by Kasey Simpson and a Ute fielding error. Bosworth then came up with an RBI single to left, making it 2-1 Utah. The Utes responded with two more runs on three hits and an ISU error in the home half of the fourth.
Iowa State broke out with a six-run fifth inning that proved to be the difference. Williams led-off the inning with a double to right center, and was brought in to score on an RBI triple by Taylor Nearad, her second of the season, to cut the Utah lead to 4-2. Stites and Simpson then collected back-to-back RBI base hits to knot the contest at 4-4.
Caudle then dug into the batters box and came out on top of a nine-pitch at-bat, roping a two-RBI triple down the left field line to give Iowa State its first lead of the day. Caudle later came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Bosworth, putting Iowa State ahead 7-4.
Shannon Mortimer picked up the first win of her collegiate career, giving up just one earned run in 4.1 innings of relief work.
The Cyclones return to GCU Softball Stadium for day two of the Lopes Up Classic on Saturday. Iowa State opens the day vs. Northern Colorado at 3 p.m. CT.