Mancha's Gem Paces Broncos to Eighth Inning Win
March 30, 2018

Final Stats

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – In a pitcher’s ballpark, every run counts. Boise State (22-11, 5-3 MW) ended up on the right side of a two-run game, scoring in the seventh and eighth innings for their first extra inning victory since last season over Nevada (May 7, 2017), defeating San Diego State 3-1, Friday at SDSU Softball Stadium.

This is only the fourth time the Broncos have won an away game against San Diego State.

Gianna Mancha earned the win for the Broncos, striking out eight batters and allowing only one earned run through eight innings. The win improves Mancha to 10-3 on the season in the circle, making her the first Bronco freshman to reach double-digit wins since Aubray Zell won 13 games in 2009.

This was her fifth complete game of the season, and the third time she has thrown eight or more strikeouts.

"Gi really led us this game, and we followed her," Boise State head coach Cindy Ball said. 

It was a pitcher’s duel, as both teams combined for 10 hits. Boise State’s four hits in the game ranks tied for their second-lowest offensive output of the season.

San Diego State struck first on a double steal in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs. With runner’s on the corners, the Aztecs Shelby Thompson went to steal second, and the throw to second allowed Aris Metcalf to reach home safely. Thompson got caught in a rundown, but was able reach second safely.

Down 1-0 in the top of the seventh, Boise State needed a run in order to send the game to the bottom of the seventh. Mancha led off being hit by a pitch, with Justene Molina coming on to pinch run. Molina advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Alison Seng, and later to third on a ground out from Makenzie Sullivan.

With two outs, Shaelee Pearson hit a line drive to pitcher Alex Formby. Formby committed an error, and Molina safely reached home to tie the game at 1-1. Madison Anthony would foul out to first base to end the inning.

The theatrics of the top of the inning would continue in the bottom half. The Aztecs threatened with Kiera Wright advancing to third, and Taylor Adams being walked. With two outs, and the winning run on third, Mancha struck out Taylor Stewart swinging on a full count to end the inning, sending Boise State into extra innings for the first time this season.

Despite being in uncharted territory, Boise State responded with one of their best innings all season. With one out, Rebekah Cervantes sent a shot into right field that was bobbled by the right fielder, advancing Cervantes to third base.

On the next at-bat, Morgan Lamb fouled out to right field, but Cervantes would tag up and sprint home from third to give Boise State a 2-1 lead. Jessica McKay would hit a solo home run into right field on the next pitch for a 3-1 Bronco lead.

Needing to hold San Diego State to less than two runs in the bottom of the eighth, Mancha and the Boise State defense would respond. Mancha would fan the first two batters, and then force a fly out to center field to end the game.

"I knew my defense had my back," Mancha said. "We talked about it all week and I just had to pitch to my defense."

Tonight’s win forces a rubber match for game three of the series. The Broncos and Aztecs will play tomorrow at 1 p.m. MT.

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