The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State softball team is headed to the NCAA DI Softball Tournament for the first time since 1988. The program’s rise under fourth-year head coach Jamie Pinkerton culminated in the Cyclones hearing their name called during the NCAA DI Softball Championship Selection Show on Sunday night. It is the program’s second-ever NCAA Regional berth.
The Cyclones will head to Columbia, Missouri to face UNI on Friday, May 21 at 1 p.m. CT at Mizzou Softball Stadium on ESPN3. Missouri is hosting the region, and is the No. 8 national seed. The Tigers will face UIC in their first tournament game on Friday at 3:30 p.m. CT.
“First and foremost, I’m really happy for the women ” Pinkerton said. “I’m really ecstatic for seniors Logan Schaben and Sami Williams. For them to be able to stay the course and buy in to three different coaches and to be able to provide the leadership that they have over the year, I’m really happy for them. It hits you in the feels for them.”
The Cyclones are 32-21 on the year, and closed the season with a flurry, winning six of their final seven regular season games. The NCAA Tournament bid is just the latest in a long list of unprecedented milestones the 2021 Cyclones have reached. Iowa State got off to a program-best 8-0 start, and earned its first-ever top-25 ranking in the NFCA Coaches’ Poll on Feb. 23.
“It’s a culmination things,” Pinkerton said. “The discipline and integrity and intention that they have to get better. I’m just ecstatic to see where we are and the excitement that has built around this program. It’s heartwarming to see that come to fruition. What this group of seniors has done and this team has done over our four years here. To know that we’ve had back-to-back winnings seasons for the first time since 1989 is really a mark of the culture that has been built and the hard work that the women have put in on the field, in the locker room and in the classroom.”
Pinkerton is 103-92 as Iowa State’s head coach – the fastest to coach the Cyclones to 100 wins in the modern era. This will be his fourth trip to a NCAA Regional with his third different team. Pinkerton led Arkansas to the regionals in both 2008 and 2009, followed by a trip to the tournament in 2017 with Montana after starting the program from scratch.
Following the announcement, Pinkerton credited his staff of assistant coaches Kate Sinnott and Courtney Herron-Martinez, director of operations Peter Suarez and volunteer assistant Ed Duegan.
“The work that the staff has put in has been amazing,” Pinkerton said. “This wouldn’t happen without them. When these things happen, they don’t always get a lot of the credit. It’s been a team effort and I really appreciate Courtney, Kate, Pete and Ed. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Five Big 12 Conference teams were selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament.