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Iowa State knocks Baylor out of Big 12 softball tournament

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Big 12 softball

Baylor’s season came to a close at the Big 12 softball tournament on Thursday with a loss to Iowa State.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Baylor’s struggles against Iowa State’s pitching continued in the opening game of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday afternoon.

Now the Bears’ softball season is over.

Angelina Allen scored on Kasey Simpson’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning as the fourth-seeded Cyclones rallied for a 2-1 win over the fifth-seeded Bears at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.

With a No. 61 RPI, the Bears (28-24) needed to win the conference tournament to earn a bid to the 64-team NCAA Tournament. That was a long shot since the Bears would have had to beat No. 1 Oklahoma in Friday’s semifinals.

The Bears lost their third game to the Cyclones in four meetings this season, scoring only one run in each game.

Baylor was on the verge of winning when Aliyah Binford broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, Binford stole second and third. Catcher Natalie Wellet’s throw sailed past the third-base bag to allow Binford to score.

Binford pitched a tremendous game for the Bears as she allowed just three hits and two walks while collecting eight strikeouts and an unearned run in 6.2 innings. However, she had to leave the game with a hand cramp with two outs in the seventh.

“Aliyah pitched one heck of a game,” said Baylor coach Glenn Moore. “They never hit her hard. I feel terrible for her and the team knowing we let another win slip through our fingers. Aliyah had to come out due to her hand cramping, and although Maren (Judisch) got us out with minimal damage, we couldn’t hold them off long enough to create more offense.”

Binford got into quick trouble in the seventh when Simpson singled and Skyler Ramos walked. After Wellet moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, Binford struck out Kaylee Pond for the second out.

Iowa State (28-26) tied the game at 1-1 when pinch runner Lea Nelson scored on a passed ball. That was also the last pitch by Binford as she went out with the hand injury and was replaced by Judisch, who struck out Carli Spelhaug to end the inning.

The Bears had a chance to regain the lead in the eighth after Taylor Strain singled and stole second. Strain tried to score on Kaci West’s single, but centerfielder Skyler Ramos threw her out at home for the second out. Judisch grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Allen and Milaysia Ochoa singled before Judisch (2-1) walked Alesia Ranches to load the bases. Simpson flied out to right field, but it was deep enough to allow Allen to tag up at third and score the winning run.

The Bears finished with seven hits off Karlie Charles and Ellie Spelhaug, but had difficulty getting the clutch hit. Spelhaug (11-17) was the winning pitcher in relief as she allowed three hits in the last three innings.

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