Bridges Powers Broncos to Split Friday
SAN ANTONIO-Boise State softball split its first two games at the UTSA Classic Friday, in San Antonio. The Broncos (3-4) came from behind to defeat Rutgers 3-1 in the tournament opener before falling to Missouri State 6-0 later in the day. The Broncos were held to seven hits on the day.
Bridges Blast Lifts Boise State Past Rutgers
The Boise State third inning was buoyed by a pair of walks. Makenna Weir and Holly Bourke drew the Broncos' only two free passes of the game to set up the scoring opportunity. Bridges delivered with a blast to left center.
The home run came in support of Rebecca Patton, making her third start of the season. Patton was touched for one run in the first inning as Rutgers picked up two hits and benefited from two Bronco errors in the frame. The Bronco pitcher managed to strand the bases loaded and avoid further damage.
After the shaky first inning Patton and Lela Work combined to keep the Scarlet Knights off the board the rest of the way. Patton pitched five strong innings, surrendering just four hits to pick up her second win of the year. She walked one and struck out three along the way. Work entered the game in the sixth inning, pitching two hitless frames. She issued a walk and struck out one on the way to her first save of the season and the 11th of her career, extending her own school record.
Junior Mackenzie Whyte made her season debut, starting at shortstop. After committing two errors in the first inning Whyte settled in and anchored the defense. She made four putouts and a career-high-tying five assists.
Tara Glover and Ashley Palmer collected the other two base hits for the Broncos in the game off Rutgers pitcher Alyssa Landrith, who took the complete-game loss. Landrith, the 2012 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, struck out four in the losing effort.
Freshman Makenna Weir started at catcher for the Broncos and threw out a would-be base stealer for the first time in her career. Weir also stole a bag of her own, another career first.
Bears Outrun the Broncos
Missouri State scored one run in the top of the first inning. A bunt single, stolen base and wild pitch put a runner on third base. She was eventually driven home on a two-out single up the middle by Mary Stephens.
Cole buckled down in the middle innings and kept the Bears to the one run through four innings. She worked around a two-out single in the second inning before getting out of a big jam in the third. A leadoff walk and a mishandled sacrifice bunt placed runners at second and third with nobody out for the four, five and six spots in the Missouri State order. Cole took the challenge head on and struck out all three batters, including catching the final hitter of the inning looking at an off-speed pitch with a full count.
The Broncos could not carry the momentum into the top of the fourth inning, going down in order.
Cole returned the favor in the bottom of the frame with a perfect inning, including two strikeouts. However, she returned to the circle for the fifth inning and the third time through the Bears' order still trailing 1-0 on the scoreboard. A bunt single put the leadoff runner on and later in the inning Stephens struck again with two outs. This time the Bears' cleanup hitter drove a 2-0 pitch to dead center and over the fence to make the score 3-0 and supply a little breathing room.
Boise State presented its biggest scoring threat in the sixth inning after Tara Glover singled and Devon Bridges drew a walk to put two on with two outs for Ashley Palmer. A ground ball to shortstop ended the inning. Missouri State went on to add three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth and hang on for the win.
Cole went the distance in the loss, allowing six runs on 10 hits in six innings. She struck out a career-high seven and walked two.
Freshman Kayla Clausen picked up her first-career hit when she pinch hit to lead off the seventh inning. Mackenzie Whyte led off the third inning with a single to left for the team's first hit of the game and her first hit of the season.
Boise State returns to action Saturday, at the UTSA Classic. The Broncos play Iowa State at 11:30 a.m. (CT) and later, at 7 p.m. (CT), take on the host Roadrunners.
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