Bronco Offense Comes Alive in Split at Aggie Stampede
Boise State softball split a pair of games on the second day of the season Saturday, defeating Nevada 7-3 and falling to Loyola Marymount 10-9 in 10 innings. The Broncos (3-1) got four hits each from Tara Glover, Devon Bridges and Jordan Kreiger on the day.
Aubray Zell (2-0) earned the win in the first game, pitching five shutout innings against the Wolf Pack. Allie Crump (1-1) suffered the loss to the Lions after throwing 7.2 innings across two stints in the circle.
Boise State 7, Nevada 3
Zell faced just one over the minimum in her five innings of work, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out four. She improves to 2-0 on the season and is yet to allow a run in 12 innings.
At the plate, the Broncos loaded the bases with two outs in the first but could not convert it into a score, then went down in order in the second inning before the runs started piling up. In the third, Holly Bourke and Glover used their speed to produce the game's first run without getting the ball out of the infield.
Bourke walked to lead off the inning and was moved up when Glover laid down a bunt. Glover beat the play for a single and the ball was thrown away, allowing Bourke to reach third. The Broncos used the first-and-third situation to execute a double steal as Bourke swiped home for a 1-0 lead.
After a ground out pushed Glover to third, Crump drew a walk and was replaced on the base path by Ashley Collier. Glover and Collier tried another double steal, but Nevada cut the throw down to second and fired home to retire Glover. Collier alertly took third on the throw and Bridges drove her in with a double to left center for her first hit and RBI of the season.
The fourth inning has been historically good to Boise State, especially against Nevada, and Saturday was no different. Last season the Broncos scored 12 runs in the fourth inning against the Wolf Pack, tied for the most in an inning in the NCAA last season and 18th-most all-time. This fourth inning was not quite as productive, but Boise State brought everyone to the plate and scored five times.
Kreiger led off with a double to center and with one out Tazz Weatherly doubled her in. Bourke followed with a single up the middle to make the score 4-0. Glover singled through the right side to push Bourke to third and stole second, giving Boise State two runners in scoring position with one down. With two away, Crump singled to center and a throwing error allowed both runs to score. Crump made it all the way to third on the play and Bridges drove her in with a single to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead.
Freshman Kenzie Cole made her collegiate debut when she replaced Zell in the circle to begin the sixth inning. Cole gave up a walk to the first batter she faced, but retired the next three.
Nevada's Lauren Lastrapes homered to lead off the seventh and snap the Broncos' streak of 20-consecutive shutout innings to start the season. The Wolf Pack would add two more in the frame, including a second solo home run, before Cole retired the side and sealed the victory.
The Broncos had a chance to end the game early with a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth and a runner in scoring position with one out. Kreiger had singled for her first-career multi-hit game and moved up on a sacrifice bunt. She made it to third when Weatherly grounded out, but was stranded 60 feet away.
Boise State has won the last seven games in the series with Nevada, outscoring the Wolf Pack 62-14 during that stretch.
Loyola Marymount 10, Boise State 9 (10 Innings)
With the international tiebreaker rule in effect for extra innings in the tournament format, from the eighth inning forward each team started with a runner in scoring position. The last spot in the order to be retired in the previous inning is automatically placed at second base.
Boise State started the eighth advancing its runner to third with a sacrifice bunt, but could not drive her in. In the bottom of the inning, Mackenzie Whyte made a tremendous play behind the plate. The first LMU batter of the inning tried to lay down a bunt but fouled it off. Whyte caught the foul tip and fired down to second to catch the runner off the bag for a double play. The game continued to the ninth still tied 7-7.
Each team scored once in the ninth. Glover was the runner to start the inning for the Broncos and flew around to score from second on a sacrifice bunt. In the bottom of the frame, LMU had runners at the corners with two outs when the Broncos muffed a ground ball to let the tying run in.
In the 10th inning the Broncos again used small ball to push a run across the plate. Whyte came around to score after a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. The RBI fly out came off the bat of Kreiger, giving her the first three-RBI effort of the season by a Bronco. A two-out double from Weatherly kept the inning going, but Boise State could not add a run before LMU got a chance at the plate in the bottom of the inning.
The 10th was all the Lions would need. Their cleanup hitter drew a walk to put runners at first and second. A sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position with one away. Crump picked up a strikeout to inch the Broncos closer to victory, but they would see it slip away on a double to right center that scored both runs and ended the game.
Boise State jumped out to the lead first, scoring four runs in the second inning. Bridges, Whyte and Katie Engelbrecht each singled in consecutive at bats to load the bases with one out for Kreiger. The freshman singled through the right side and drove in the first two runs of the game. Weatherly reached on a fielder's choice and, with runners at first and second, the LMU second baseman threw away a ground ball off the bat of Bourke allowing two more runs to score and Bourke to reach third base.
The Bronco lead grew to 5-0 in the third inning when Christina Capobianco drew a leadoff walk. Crump sacrificed her to second and Bridges drove her in with a single up the middle for her second hit of the game. In the bottom of the third the Lions cut their deficit to three with a two-run homer by Sam Fischer.
Crump started in the circle for the Broncos, tossing the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. Lela Work came on with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth and gave up a grand slam to the first batter she faced. Work regrouped to strike out the next three hitters, but the Lions were ahead 6-5 and Boise State trailed for the first time this season. Crump returned to the circle in the middle of the sixth and finished the game.
Fischer hit her second home run of the game in the fifth and LMU was out to a 7-5 lead, but Boise State was not done. After an error let Kreiger aboard for the third time in the game, Weatherly poked a single to left and the Broncos were back in business. Bourke grounded out to the right side and advanced each runner. With two outs, Glover stroked a ball up the middle and drove in both runs to tie the game.
Each team put runners on in the seventh, but neither could keep the game from going to extra innings.
Crump allowed five earned runs on 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Work only allowed two hits in her two innings, but both left the park. She struck out four in her first appearance in the circle this season.
The Broncos close out their first weekend of play Sunday, against UC Davis. First pitch is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. (PT) at LaRue Field. Boise State is 1-0 all-time against the Aggies with the win coming last season.
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