LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Valerie Perez's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth tied Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and Iowa State at 5-5, but a two-run home run by Aly Cappaert in the top of the seventh lifted the Cyclones' softball team to a 7-5 victory today on the final day of the Troy Cox Classic at NMSU Softball Complex.
Dani Tefft went 10-for-16 and hit .625 for the weekend to lead the Islanders' (2-7) offense. The sophomore went 3-for-5 at the plate today while seniors J.J. Jackson and Perez both went 3-for-4 to help the Islanders collect a season-high 16 hits and limit the Cyclones (8-1) to 12 hits.
The Islanders' bats caught fire in the bottom of the third to score the first run of the game. Tefft started things off with an infield single and advanced to second after Perez drilled a base hit to left field. Tefft landed on third after a Cyclone fielding error in left field before Jackson stepped to the plate. The senior poked a dropper behind first base to plate Tefft and put the Islanders on the board.
Iowa State answered back with three runs in the top of the fourth and one in the top of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. In the fourth, Islanders' hurler Liz Carter led the inning with her third strikeout of the game before Rachel Hartman singled to right field. Lexi Slater reached on a walk before Jorden Spendlove hit a two-run double to left center to bring in two runs. Sara Rice followed with a RBI single to center field to score Spendlove and put the Cyclones in front 3-1.
In the fifth frame, Iowa State started off with a pair of singles before a sacrifice bunt by Sara Davison moved the runners to second and third. Cappaert followed with a RBI groundout to score Gomez, who reached on a leadoff single, and extend Iowa State's lead to 4-1.
The Islanders rallied back with a run in the bottom of the fifth on three hits to pull within two. Mickayla Cochran jumpstarted the inning with a single to center field and landed on third after Perez drilled her third double of the season. With runners on second and third, Jackson came up clutch with a RBI single through the middle to score Cochran and pull the Islanders within two. Iowa State retired the next three Islanders, leaving two runners stranded.
Slater led the top of the sixth off for the Cyclones with a home run over the center field wall to give Iowa State a 5-2 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Islanders' bats ignited with three runs on four hits to knot the score at 5-5. Tefft started things off with her 10th hit of the weekend with a single to left field. Cochran followed with a walk to land Tefft on second. Perez then stepped to the plate and cranked her first homer of the season and fourth of her career over the left center wall to even the score. Jackson then tacked on her third hit of the game with a single to left field and Brittney Morse slammed her third double of the season down the left field line. With Jackson on third and Morse on second, Carter hit a fly out to right field to end the frame.
With the game tied at 5-5, Iowa State's Cappaert hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh with one out to put the Cyclones in front, 7-5. Cappaert scored Davison who reached on a walk.
In the final frame, Lindsey Lyles popped out to right field before Galloway singled to second base. Mackinzee Griebel followed with a fielder's choice, but Galloway was called out on the play. With two outs, Tefft reached on a Cyclone error to put the tying runs on first and second. However, a line out by Cochran ended the game.
Carter (2-3) took the loss for the Islanders' in the circle. The freshman allowed 11 hits, seven runs, while walking two and striking out four in 6.1 innings. Constance Brandenburg relieved Carter in the seventh and limited the Cyclones to just one hit while walking one in 0.2 of an inning.
Katie Johnson (8-1) secured the victory for Iowa State. She gave up 16 hits, five runs and two walks while striking out five Islanders in seven innings.
The Islanders will compete in the UTSA Mid-Major Classic on Feb. 21 through Feb. 23. The Islanders will face Nebraska-Omaha and Bryant twice and host UTSA once.
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