AMES, Iowa – Iowa State (31-22, 7-11 Big 12) completed a series sweep of Kansas (15-35, 3-15 Big 12) on Saturday in thrilling fashion. The Cyclones took game one, 1-0, behind a dominant outing in the circle by Savannah Sanders. Junior Sami Williams then hit her second walk-off home run of the weekend in game two to complete the sweep, 4-2.
With Saturday’s wins, Iowa State closes the regular season with a record of 31-22, notching the program’s first 30-win season since 1989. The Cyclones also secured a fifth-place finish in the Big 12, tied for ISU’s highest conference finish since 1993.
Williams’ walk-off bomb was her 14th home run of 2019, tying the single-season school record set by Tori Torrescano in 2012 and 2013.
Iowa State 1, Kansas 0
Sanders was at the top of her game in leading the Cyclones past the Jayhawks to open Saturday’s doubleheader. The senior hurler tallied up a complete game shutout, going all 7.0 innings while allowing no runs on just three hits.
The Cyclones scratched out the lone run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Taylor Nearad gave the offense a much-needed jolt by smacking a two-out double to left field. Logan Schaben then came through in the clutch, poking an RBI single down the left field line, allowing the speedy Nearad to score from second, giving the Cyclones a 1-0 lead.
With Sanders dealing and getting terrific support from her defense, that lone run would be all that was necessary to secure the series win, as Iowa State crossed the 30-win barrier for the first time in 30 years.
Iowa State 4, Kansas 2
KU’s Morgyn Wynne put the Cyclones in an early hole in game two, tallying a solo home run in the top of the first inning to give the Jayhawks a 1-0 lead.
Redshirt sophomore Talyn Lewis answered right back with a solo shot of her own in the home half of the inning, crushing a 3-1 pitch to left field. It was Lewis’ first homer of the season, tying the score at 1-1.
Wynne’s excellent play continued for Kansas, as the Jayhawk freshman tallied an RBI double in the top of the third, as KU regained the lead, 2-1. Iowa State was able to find an equalizer in the bottom of the fourth. Schaben crushed a one-out double to left center. Senior Kirsten Caudle then collected an RBI single to down the left field line, scoring Schaben to knot the game at 2-2.
Starting pitcher Emma Hylen and the Cyclone defense would lock the Jayhawks down from that point forward. Hylen got the Cyclones to extra innings, holding KU scoreless over her final four innings of action before being relieved by Sanders. Hylen went 7.0 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one strikeout.
Sanders was perfect in relief, holding Kansas hitless in her lone inning of action, setting up Williams’ heroics.
The junior from Laguna Niguel, Calif., crushed a two-out, two-run home run deep beyond the left field fence, completing the series sweep on ISU’s senior weekend.
The Cyclones will now prep for postseason play. Iowa State will head to Oklahoma City, Okla. for the 2019 Big 12 Softball Championship as the No. 5 seed. ISU will open the tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. vs. the No. 3 seed, which is yet to be determined.