Early Lead Holds Up Against Pacific
Feb. 21, 2014
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -
Boise State softball scored two runs in the first inning and held on for a 4-3 win against Pacific Friday, at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. The Broncos (6-7) weathered a late rally by the Tigers (3-7) to earn their second win of the tournament.
Tara Glover kicked off the game with a single and a stolen base in the top of the first inning. Glover took third on a wild pitch and was 60 feet away when Mackenzie Whyte came to the plate. Whyte dribbled one on the infield and Pacific tried to get Glover at home, but her speed was too much and the Broncos had the first run of the game. Whyte stole second to put another runner in scoring position. Devon Bridges took care of that with a single to score her fellow senior.
Rebecca Patton walked a tight rope much of the game, getting crucial outs to escape jams and make the Boise State lead hold up. Patton went to distance to improve to 6-2 on the year. She allowed three runs on seven hits, four walks and one hit batter while striking out three.
The bend-but-don’t-break outing started immediately when Pacific led off the bottom of the first with a double. The runner eventually made it to third and there were runners at the corners. After a passed ball put two in scoring position with two outs, the Tigers tried to score on a ground ball to short but Whyte fired home to cut down the lead runner. Patton used a fly out to get out of the frame.
The Broncos added another run in the third as Whyte continued the torrid start to her senior season. With Jordan Kreiger drawing a walk and stealing second to move into scoring position, Whyte lashed a double to right center. Kreiger came around to score and the Broncos led 3-0.
Meanwhile Patton was in the midst of a strong stretch in the circle. She retired the third and fourth in order to run her streak to seven-straight Tigers set down and 10 of 11.
The Broncos failed to get anything going against Tiger pitching in the fourth and the fifth, keeping the game in striking distance. That’s when Pacific mounted its first real threat against Patton in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The first two batters reached on a single and a walk. Patton fielded a ground ball and retired the lead runner at third for the first out of the inning, but another walk loaded the bases. After a pop out, the Tigers broke through with a line-drive single to push two runs across. A ground ball ended the inning and kept Boise State in front.
Lindsey Nicholson was robbed of a home run to start the sixth inning, but Hailey Torrez followed immediately with a solo blast to center field, getting back one of the runs. Nicholson and Torrez both came up just shy of home runs in the second inning when their long fly balls were tracked down just in front of the wall. Nicholson looked to do enough in the sixth before the Pacific center fielder brought it back into the field of play. Torrez left no doubt six pitches later.
The insurance run would not hold up long. Pacific again loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Patton stayed locked in and fielded her position. She snagged a comebacker and went home with it to get the second out. A walk brought in one run to make it 4-3, but Patton gloved another ground ball and went to first base to get out of the inning.
Whyte walked and stole her second base of the game to start the seventh, but she was left there and Patton was asked to finish the job with a one-run lead.
Pacific stated the seventh with a single but Torrez gunned down the runner trying to steal second for the first out. From there Patton did it herself. A swinging strikeout was out number two. After Whyte dropped a foul ball that would have ended the game, Patton came right back and picked up a looking strikeout to clinch the victory.
The Broncos were outhit 7-5 in the game, but made enough plays to come out on top. Bridges, who continues to work her way back from injury, went 2-for-2 at the plate, the only Bronco with a multi-hit outing.
Boise State continues the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Saturday, against Cal State Fullerton. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (PT) at Big League Dreams.
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