WVU Baseball, Iowa State Softball Become Unlikely Friends
Pigs flying, cats and dogs raining, WVU Baseball fans getting along with a team that treats “Sweet Caroline” as its anthem days ahead of the Backyard Brawl. It goes without saying, but that team isn’t the hated Pitt Panthers: it’s the Iowa State softball team.
Typically, conference rivalries are where some of the fiercest matchups in college sports form. Fighting tooth and nail for a conference title and playoff berth makes it difficult to make friends, even if a conference’s overall success reflects well on the rest of its members.
That rule of thumb went out the window, though, with the unlikely alliance forming between West Virginia baseball and Iowa State softball.
Iowa State doesn’t have a baseball team and West Virginia doesn’t have a softball team. Therefore, there’s no conflict of interest preventing one team from rooting for the other.
Following the Cyclones’ season-ending loss in March Madness, Iowa State’s Barstool Sports-affiliated Twitter account complained that without a baseball team, they had “nothing to tweet about sports wise until August.”
Lea Nelson, a senior outfielder on the Cyclones’ softball team, took the opportunity to point out the ongoing softball season.
a story in four parts.
what a friendship that has been formed💛 #VivaWV pic.twitter.com/JQzdyjUk4H
— WVU Barstool (@WVUBarstool) April 16, 2023
WVU’s Barstool Sports affiliate jumped at the opportunity to network, saying “since we don’t have a softball team we have decided to be your biggest supporter” in response to Nelson.
Nelson responded in kind, spurring an unlikely friendship.
suddenly I want to travel to West Virginia
— Lea Nelson (@leacj21) March 21, 2023
The stars aligned this past weekend, with both teams in Stillwater, Okla. to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Nelson reached out to the WVU Baseball and WVU Barstool Twitter pages Friday in an attempt to secure tickets to Saturday’s game.
@WVUBarstool we really wanna support our baseball team tomorrow at OSU! Could you help us make that happen? @WVUBaseball
— Lea Nelson (@leacj21) April 15, 2023
With the Cyclones playing earlier in the day, they had a chance to make it to the Mountaineers’ nightcap.
Mountaineers’ pitcher Noah Short responded to Nelson’s tweet soon thereafter, and the Cyclones managed to attend West Virginia’s 9-5 win. Head coach Randy Mazey made sure to shout out the Cyclones for their support after the game.
Shout out to the Iowa State @CycloneSB team. Thanks for coming and cheering on the @WVUBaseball Mountaineers tonight in Stillwater. You had our guys fired up to win! Good luck tomorrow.
— Coach Randy Mazey (@CoachMazey) April 16, 2023
Thanks for hooking us up @WVUBaseball! 🤝 https://t.co/ib9ABZesyf
— Iowa State Softball (@CycloneSB) April 16, 2023
The action didn’t stop there, as the Cyclones sang Country Roads on their team bus ride following the conclusion of the series.
This crossover has been one of the craziest things our team has experienced! Thanks for the love West Virginia. We couldn’t have done it without all of your support 🏼🏔️ @WVUBarstool pic.twitter.com/XAGao5l8UF
— Lea Nelson (@leacj21) April 16, 2023
The teams won’t play in the same location again this season, but the unlikely friendship is already off to a roaring start.