LONG BEACH, Calif.-Boise State softball split its season-opening doubleheader, Saturday, at the Long Beach State Round Robin. The Broncos (1-1) beat Loyola Marymount, 2-1, in their season debut before falling to host Long Beach State, 2-0, in the second game.
A pair of freshmen provided all the offense Boise State would need in its season-opening win against LMU (0-2). Devon Bridges and Mackenzie Whyte started their collegiate debuts and each came around to score in the second inning to respond to the Lions' lone run in the bottom of the first inning.
Bridges began the inning with a single in her first-career at bat. Whyte moved her over with a one-out sacrifice and reached on an error by the pitcher. Bridges moved to third on the error, but would not stay there for long. Both runners took off during the next at-bat, executing a double steal of second and home. As Bridges scored the first run of the season, Whyte moved up to third base. Junior Tazz Weatherly would drive her in from there with a sacrifice fly.
The Broncos tied the school record with five stolen bases in the game.
Junior Allie Crump started the game in the circle for the Broncos and earned the win. Crump found herself in trouble as she issued six walks in her four innings, but worked out of each jam after allowing the first batter she faced to score. Crump held the Lions to 1-for-10 with runners on, including recording two of her five strikeouts with the bases loaded to end the first and fourth innings. Crump allowed just two hits.
Sophomore Lela Work tossed the final three innings, giving up just one hit and fanning a pair. Work was in trouble only once, as she surrendered a double to the first hitter she faced. A pinch runner would advance to third on a wild pitch, but was called out for leaving early on the ensuing fly out that could have tied the game.
Work retired the Lions in order in the sixth and seventh innings to face the minimum in her three frames and take over the career saves record with two.
Boise State stranded runners on the corners in the first inning and it was all the momentum Long Beach State would need. The 49ers (2-0) manufactured a run in the bottom of the opening frame with a single, a steal and a sacrifice and an RBI single to provide freshman pitcher Erin Jones-Wesley with an early lead.
It was enough support for Jones-Wesley, as she allowed just one hit and zero walks during the final six innings. The freshman went the distance to earn the win in her collegiate debut, striking out eight.
The Broncos would threaten again in the fourth inning when junior Kelly Sweeney and sophomore Megan Harvey were hit by pitches in back-to-back at bats, but Boise State could not turn them into runs.
Junior Aubray Zell suffered the loss for Boise State, allowing just the first-inning run in her five innings of work. Zell gave up five hits and two walks while striking out four. Freshman Morgan Barnes made her collegiate debut pitching the fifth inning. Barnes was shaky, but worked out of trouble to allow only one run on three walks, a balk and two wild pitches. Zell returned for the sixth inning to finish the game.
The Broncos return to action Sunday for another doubleheader against the same teams. First pitch in the rematch between Boise State and LBSU is scheduled for 10 a.m., mountain time, and the Broncos will take on LMU approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Notes: Boise State started two true freshmen in the season opener for the second-consecutive season...With Bridges starting in right field, a true freshman has started in the No. 9 defensive position in each of the Broncos' season openers...Boise State won its season debut game for the second-consecutive season...Junior Christina Capobianco extended her hitting streak to 12 games, dating back to the end of the 2010 season, with a double against the Lions. The streak was snapped against LBSU...Sophomore Holly Bourke drew a school-record four walks against LMU as the Bronco leadoff hitter.