1. Iowa State (35-23, 7-11 Big 12) is headed to Fort Collins, Colo. to compete in the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC) finals this weekend at Triple Crown Sports. Iowa State will play defending NISC champion Loyola Marymount on Friday at 2 p.m. CT. A free live stream (via YouTube) will be available for every game of the championship round. For more information on where to follow the live stream or live stats, visit the softball schedule page on Cyclones.com.
2. The Cyclones punched their ticket to Fort Collins by going 3-0 at the NISC Ames Regional, defeating South Dakota and Purdue (twice) to earn a spot in the championship round. Iowa State will be joined at Triple Crown Sports by Loyola Marymount, Liberty and UT Arlington in a double-elimination bracket.
3. Kaylee Bosworth, Emma Hylen, Talyn Lewis, Sydney Stitesand Sami Williams (MVP) were named to the NISC All-Region team following Iowa State's title-clinching victoy over Purdue. Williams went 8-of-12 at the plate with six runs, five doubles and two RBI to lead the Iowa State offense during the three-game stretch.
4. The Cyclones' NISC bid marks the program's first time in a national postseason tournament since 1988, when Iowa State advanced to NCAA Regionals in Lincoln, Neb.
5. Iowa State's 35 wins are tied for the program's most since going 37-29-1 in 1982, and ISU's fifth-place finish in the Big 12 is tied for its best final conference standing since 1993. The Cyclones will also finish with a winning record for the first time since 1995.
6. Williams is in the midst of the greatest individual season in program history. The junior has already set single-season Iowa State records in doubles (23), home runs (15) and runs scored (52) and is three base hits shy of breaking the single-season hits record (79) as well.
7. Williams, a First Team All-Big 12 selection, is currently the only Division I softball player in the country with at least a .390 batting average, 23 doubles and 15 home runs. She ranks No. 2 nationally with 40 extra base hits on the season, one behind NCAA leader Linda Rush (Drexel).
8. Senior Emma Hylen, a third-team All-Region selection, was dominant at the NISC Ames Regional, going 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 18.0 innings of action. The native of Roseville, Minn., rang up 10 strikeouts during the tournament. Her 2.88 ERA is on pace to by the lowest single-season earned run average by a Cyclone pitcher since 2010 (Rachel Zabriskie - 2.74).
9. Hylen, already Iowa State's career leader in saves with nine, continues to climb the school's all-time rankings in several categories. Her 44 career wins are No. 5 in ISU history. She is also among the all-time leaders in appearances (No. 3- 144), games started (No. 4 - 78), innings pitched (No. 3 - 558.1) and strikeouts (No. 9 - 308).
10. Heading into NISC play, Iowa State was No. 52 in the NCAA's weekly RPI rankings. No. 52 would be the highest RPI finish in program history. The Cyclones were ranked No. 44 on April 8, 2019, which was the highest weekly RPI ranking ever achieved by Iowa State.
11. Iowa State's much-improved defense has been a catalyst to success in 2019. The Cyclones boast the Big 12's No. 3 defense with a .970 fielding percentage (up from .956 in 2018) and rank No. 5 nationally in double plays turned with 32 on the year.
12. Iowa State defeated No. 8 Texas in the opening game of the 2019 Big 12 Championship, notching its first win over a top-10 team since March 9, 2013 (vs. No. 8 Oregon). It was also ISU's first postseason win since May 8, 2009 (vs. Kansas - Big 12 Tournament). ISU's third-place game at the 2019 Big 12 Championship was canceleld due to weather and field conditions.
13. Savannah Sanders is also climbing Iowa State's all-time pitching charts. The native of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., is No. 3 in school history with 80 career starts, No. 4 in games pitched with 124 and No. 9 in innings pitched with 451.2. Sanders is also No. 12 in all-time strikeouts with 272.
14. Prior to this season, Iowa State had never swept multiple three-game series vs "Power 5" opponents in the same season. The 2019 Cyclones have three such three-game sweeps (Georgia Tech, Baylor, Kansas).