Boise State Chops Down Stanford, 9-1
Feb. 27, 2016
CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. -- The same formula that led to two wins Friday, lights-out pitching and a walk-off home run, worked again for Boise State Saturday as Nicole Wilson tossed a four-hitter and Kayla Clausen hit the game-ending four-bagger in the 9-1, six-inning win over Stanford at Big League Dreams Sports Park.
The Broncos (3-11) have now won three in a row and are 3-0 at the Mary Nutter Classic. Boise State finishes its weekend in Cathedral City with a doubleheader Sunday, facing Bethune Cookman at 10 a.m. MT (9 a.m. local) and Cal State Northridge at 12:30 p.m. MT (11:30 a.m. local).
"We're working on our plan, keeping our approach and just trying to get one percent better every day. The girls' confidence is going up every time we step up to the plate, we're starting to figure it out and play as a team," said Boise State head coach Cindy Ball.
Saturday's win was Boise State's first mercy-rule victory since beating Utah State, 10-1, on April 23, 2014. It was also the first win against a Pac-12 team since also mercy-ruling Oregon State, 10-2, in five innings on Feb. 20, 2014.
Wilson picked up her first win of the season by giving up just a run on four hits against the Cardinal (6-6). The senior worked her way out of a pair of jams, first getting out of a one-out, runner-on-third situation in the top of the third to preserve a 1-1 tie, then escaping a bases-loaded, two-out scene in the sixth.
"It felt great today, I just trusted in myself and my team and I knew we'd come out with a W," Wilson said. "Yesterday set a great tone, and I just wanted to come out today and make my coach proud, our team proud and our fans proud."
"Nicole was lights-out, hitting all of her spots and her change-up was on," Ball noted. "When she's hitting her spots and she's on, it's hard to beat her."
At the plate, Boise State executed well and took advantage of Cardinal miscues to build a 6-1 lead. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on Teauna Hughes' squeeze bunt to score Shaelee Pearson, the Broncos broke things open in the bottom of the third with some Stanford help.
Pearson led off with a bunt single, followed by another from Serrano. Serrano had her bunt well-beaten, but Cardinal third baseman Arden Pettit still attempted an off-balance throw that was off-target, allowing Pearson to take third. Clausen's slow grounder to third scored Pearson to put Boise State up 2-1.
Cardinal starter Haley Snyder looked to have it back under control as she struck out Hughes for the second out but the brakes went out for the Cardinal on the next at-bat. Corey Hendrickson bounced to third but Pettit air-mailed the throw to first, allowing Serrano to score and Hendrickson to get to second.
Morgan Lamb went up the middle to drive in pinch-runner Kaelie Doyle, and after a four-pitch walk to Makenzie Sullivan, pinch-hitter Laina Holmgren lined a base hit to center that was booted by Cardinal centerfielder Bessie Noll. The ball caromed off Noll's ankle and to the fence in right-center, enabling Sullivan to score from first behind Lamb to make it 6-1 Broncos.
Pearson and Serrano were terrific at the top of the lineup for the Broncos Saturday, each going 2-for-3 and thrice reaching base, while Pearson scored three times.
"We call [Pearson and Serrano] our rabbits, our table-setters. They did their job and the middle of the lineup came through," Ball said.
From there Wilson had it in hand. She retired the next seven Cardinal batters in a row before issuing a one-out walk to Noll and a pair of two-out singles to Pettit and Jessica Plaza. The Cardinal would come away empty-handed, though, as Wilson got Kaitlyn Lagattuta to ground to second.
"I just stuck to my plan. We've worked on those situations in practice so I feel like I've prepared for it," Wilson said about getting out of the jams. "I didn't put pressure on myself. I knew that if someone hit the ball we'd field it and get out of it."
Hughes would double in a run for Boise State in the fifth before Clausen capped her own three-RBI performance by walking it off with a two-run blast to left-center, her first of the season, with one out in the sixth.
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