TUCSON, Ariz.-Boise State softball scored in each of the first three innings Thursday, at No. 16/20 Arizona but could not hold off the Wildcats in a 9-5, series-opening loss. The Broncos led 5-3 after the top of the third, but Arizona scored six unanswered and held on for the win.
Mackenzie Whyte hit a three-run home run in the third inning to give Boise State its third different lead of the game. Whyte's first home run of the season put the Broncos up 5-3. The blast, which left no doubt off the bat as it sailed over the left-field fence, scored Holly Bourke and Sarah Barnes who each singled in the inning.
Arizona answered in the bottom of the third with a pair of two-run home runs to take a 7-5 lead and cap a wild first three innings.
The Broncos scored a run in the first inning thanks in part to an Arizona error, and left runners at the corners. The Wildcats answered right back with a leadoff double, a sacrifice and an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
Boise State struck again in the second when Tara Glover singled up the middle to score Whyte and regain the lead. Again the Wildcats responded. This time a two-out, two-run homer gave them their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Whyte's homer was Boise State's final response, but Arizona had the last say.
Rebecca Patton started the game in the circle for Boise State. Patton only lasted two innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. She was relieved by Lela Work in the third inning. Work only pitched one inning and was tagged with the loss.
Kenzie Cole pitched the final three innings for the Broncos. Double plays ended the fourth and fifth innings to help Cole face the minimum through her first two innings.
Arizona added a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, aided by a failed pick off and an error on the same play with two outs. That allowed one run and was followed by the only hit Cole allowed in her three innings to drive in the final run of the game, which was unearned.
The Broncos put together one final threat in the seventh inning. Glover reached on an infield single for her third hit of the game. Makenna Weir and Holy Bourke each drew walks to load the bases with nobody out. Devon Bridges came to the plate and ripped a line drive down the third-base line but it was snagged by the third baseman who stepped on the bag for a double play. It was the second sharp line drive off the bat of Bridges that was gloved by an Arizona infielder while runners were in scoring position.
Boise State had runners on base in six of the seven innings. All five of the Broncos' runs came with two outs.
The Broncos and Wildcats will meet in a doubleheader Saturday, to close the three-game series.