HONOLULU, Hawaii – Iowa State (0-1) fell 6-4 to Memphis (1-0) on the opening day of the 2020 season at the Paradise Classic. Senior shortstop Sami Williams went 2-of-4 at the plate with a home run and four RBI on the night, but a seventh-inning Cyclone rally would come up short.
Memphis 6, Iowa State 4
Williams started her senior season off with a bang, crushing a two-run home run to center field in her first at-bat of the season. Freshman Carli Spelhaug, who batted lead-off for the Cyclones, reached on an error to open the home half of the inning, stole second, and would score on the Williams home run.
The Cyclones nearly added two more, as Hannah Carter ripped a line drive with two on and two out, but Memphis shortstop Sam Ibison made a spectacular diving play to end the inning.
Freshman Karlie Charles made her collegiate debut in the circle for the Cyclones, and showed flashes of why the rookie was ISU’s opening-day starter. Charles held a feisty Memphis squad scoreless through the first two innings. The Tigers eventually got on the board via a Sara Davidson lead-off home run in the top of the third.
Iowa State’s offense struggled through the middle portion of the game to produce offense. Relief pitcher Chyanne Ellett, who entered in the first inning, put in 6.0 innings of work, and Iowa State struggled to find an answer for her.
Memphis took its first lead of the night thanks to a three-run top of the fifth inning. The Tigers took advantage of a number Cyclone miscues, plating the three runs on just one hit. The Memphis lead would later grow to 6-2 in the top of the seventh, including an RBI double down the left field line by Brady Rowland.
The Cyclones refused to go away quietly, starting the bottom of the seventh with consecutive base hits from Bryn Hanrahan, Hannah Carter and Skyler Ramos. Williams then crushed a two-RBI double to right field, bringing the winning run to the plate. However, Memphis cut the ISU rally short there, holding on for a 6-4 win on opening day.
Iowa State resumes play at the Paradise Classic on Friday at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium. The Cyclones will battle Northern Colorado at 4 p.m. CT, followed by a game against Hawaii at 9 p.m. CT.