Wild Win Starts Split on Day Two
Feb. 15, 2014
LAS VEGAS - Boise State softball split its two games Saturday, at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas. The Broncos (3-6) defeated UTEP 16-9 in the morning before falling to No. 22/24 Minnesota 11-2 in five innings under the lights.
Mackenzie Whyte was the ringleader of a Boise State grand larceny on the base paths against UTEP. The Broncos stole 11 bases, tied for 12th most in NCAA history and the most in a Division I game since 2010. Whyte swiped five bags on her own, tied for sixth in NCAA history. Both marks set Boise State records, while Whyte's individual number is a Mountain West record.
Boise State will close its stay in Vegas with an 11:15 a.m. (PT) meeting against Utah Valley.
Broncos Win Wild One against UTEP, 16-9
Tara Glover highlighted the late surge with a grand slam to give the Broncos some breathing room at 14-9. They tacked on two more and took the seven-run lead into the final half inning. It was the only time the Miners did not have an answer for a Boise State rally. The Broncos had leads erased in the second, fourth and fifth innings.
Hailey Torrez drove in three runs, including the game-winner. Torrez was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first inning for her first-career RBI. She put the Broncos ahead 7-6 in the fourth when she battled through an 11-pitch at bat and lined a single to the gap in left center and scored Lindsey Nicholson all the way from first. It was not the last time Torrez would push Nicholson around the bases.
With the score tied 9-9 and one out in the seventh inning, Nicholson stole second while Torrez was at the plate. With a 2-2 count the Bronco catcher smacked a base hit through the right side and Nicholson came around to give Boise State the lead for good. Glover's second homer in as many games provided the insurance.
Whyte reached base five times in the game, including four walks to match the single-game school record. Once on the bases, she could not be stopped. Whyte stole five bags, took another on a wild pitch and moved up once on an errant throw. She scored three times.
Jordan Kreiger also reached base safely five times and tied the school record with four runs scored. Kreiger was 2-for-3 with two walks and was hit by a pitch. The only time she was retired was a fly out to center field that was caught against the wall.
Nicholson was 2-for-6 with a two RBI. She roped a two-out double to center in the fourth inning to drive in two and tie the game 6-6.
Despite the offensive explosion--Boise State scored 16 runs after plating 13 in the first seven games combined--the Broncos could not bury UTEP. Starting pitcher Rebecca Patton sat down the Miners in order in the first inning, running her streak to 13-consecutive batters retired. But Patton could not get out of the second inning.
UTEP got on the board with back-to-back home runs to start the inning. The next two batters doubled and the Miners had two in scoring position. Patton settled in to get three ground balls but the third was booted and both runs scored. An infield single was followed by a two-run double and the Broncos turned to the bullpen.
Kenzie Cole threw one pitch in the second inning and got a ground out to short to finish the frame and keep the score 6-4. UTEP loaded the bases in the third before Cole wiggled out of the jam without allowing a run.
After the Broncos took the lead back in the fourth, another two-out error allowed the tying run to come in. The fifth inning looked eerily similar. Two runs from the Broncos were matched in the bottom half after yet another two-out error.
Both teams loaded the bases in the sixth inning and failed to score. The Miners got a single and two walks against Cole around a sacrifice bunt. That brought Patton back out of the dugout to re-enter in the circle. She struck out the first batter she faced and picked up a ground ball to get out of the inning and keep the score tied. Patton eventually recorded the win after keeping the Miners off the board in the seventh.
The Broncos scored twice in each of the first two innings, claiming an early 4-0 advantage. The Miners climbed out of the hole quickly with the big second inning.
Minnesota Uses Big Innings for Big Win
Ashley Palmer and Torrez homered in the bottom of the fourth inning to put Boise State in the scoring column, but it was not enough to avoid the run-rule defeat. For Palmer, it was the second blast of the weekend while Torrez' solo shot was her first as a Bronco.
Freshman Mackenzie McGill made the first start of her young career and kept Minnesota off the scoreboard for the first two innings. McGill worked around a two-out walk in the first. In the second, she allowed a walk and a single but got the next two batters to keep get the Broncos back in the dugout untouched.
Minnesota jumped on McGill during its second time through the order as four of the first five batters reached base and eventually scored in the third inning.
That was all for McGill as Cole took over in the circle and started with the top of the order again in the fourth. Cole faced nine batters in her one-third of an inning, surrendering six hits and two walks. She was tagged for seven runs before McGill re-entered the game.
McGill retired the next five batters she faced. The first out was a sacrifice fly allowing the 11th and final run to score. She returned in the fifth to get the side in order.
The Broncos had runners on base in every inning, including getting Kayla Clausen all the way to third in the third and fifth innings. They left four runners in scoring position for the game.
Boise State's home runs were the first allowed by Minnesota's pitching staff this season in eight games.
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