ATLANTA, Ga. – Iowa State (9-7) split a doubleheader vs. Georgia Tech (7-9) on Friday at Mewborn Field. The Cyclones dropped a 3-1 decision in game one before bouncing back for a 4-3 victory over the Yellow Jackets to close the day.
Georgia Tech 3, Iowa State 1
The Cyclones took advantage of a sloppy start by the Yellow Jackets in the opening game of the day. Lead-off hitter Carli Spelhaug was hit by pitch, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch allowed the freshman speedster to score, as Sami Williams drew a walk and advanced to second. Iowa State would eventually put runners on second and third, but was unable to plate any more runs.
The Iowa State offense struggled to gain any traction from that point forward, however. Georgia Tech starting pitcher Blake Neleman went all 7.0 innings, allowing just the one run on three hits with nine strikeouts.
Georgia Tech tied the game at 1-1 in the home half of the second inning. A walk and stolen base by Tricia Awald put her on second base with no outs. Later in the frame, Bailee Zeitler moved her over to third via sacrifice bunt. Awald then scored to tie the game on an RBI single from Crosby Huckabay.
The Yellow Jackets took the lead in the ensuing inning. Cameron Stanford collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly, scoring Lilly Hooper to make it a 2-1 GT lead. Kennedy Cowden would then hit an RBI single through the left side to make it a 3-1 deficit. Starting pitcher Ellie Spelhaug exited early in the inning after 2.0 innings of work. Fellow freshman Karlie Charles entered and would finish out the final 4.0 frames.
The final four innings of game one were scoreless, as the Cyclones were unable to find an answer for Neleman, falling 3-1.
Iowa State 4, Georgia Tech 3
The senior duo of Sami Williams and Logan Schaben set the tone for the Cyclones in game two. Williams came to the plate and launched a towering home run to center field, her team-leading seventh of the season, to give Iowa State a 1-0 lead.
Schaben, Iowa State’s starting third baseman, then made it back-to-back solo shots for the Cardinal & Gold. The native of Portsmouth, Iowa, hit another no-doubter to left field to make it a 2-0 Cyclone advantage.
The Cyclones added to their lead in the top of the second. Sophomore Kasey Simpson opened the inning with a single through the left side, and advanced to second on a Bryn Hanrahan ground ball. Carli Spelhaug then tallied an RBI single up the middle, as Simpson raced home from second, putting ISU in front 3-0.
Starting pitcher Janessa Jasso and the Cyclone defense were on display from that point forward. Jasso opened with five scoreless innings, and excelled in tight situations in the early going. Georgia Tech loaded the bases in the second inning, and put runners on second and third in the fourth, but were unable to capitalize on either situation.
After three scoreless innings, the Cyclones added to their lead in the top of the sixth. Simpson once again gave the offense a spark with a one-out single to left field. The Keller, Texas native then advanced to second and third on a pair of wild pitches. Following a Skyler Ramos walk, the Cyclones pulled off a double steal, and Simpson raced home from third to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Yellow Jackets looked to rally behind a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth by Crosby Huckabay, but relief pitcher Ellie Spelhaug entered and closed the deal. Spelhaug allowed just one hit in 1.2 innings of work to earn her second save of the season.
Iowa State is back in action for day two of the I-75 Challenge on Saturday. The Cyclones will play a doubleheader at Kennesaw State, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. CT.