Boise State softball faces the toughest weekend schedule in program history when it travels to Las Vegas for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, hosted by UNLV. The Broncos (1-3) will take on three ranked opponents during the three-day, five-game tournament. No. 3 Tennessee will be the highest-ranked opponent Boise State has ever faced.
The weekend starts Friday with a 2:30 p.m. (mountain time) first pitch against No. 23 BYU (2-3), and a 7 p.m. (MT) tilt against the Lady Volunteers (5-0).
Boise State returns to the diamond Saturday with games against Cal Poly (1-4) (10 a.m. MT) and Long Beach State (4-0) (4:45 p.m. MT). It is the third meeting between the Broncos and 49ers, who are receiving a vote in the latest coaches' poll.
Tournament action wraps up Sunday with a 10 a.m. (MT) game against No. 14 Oregon (5-1).
This is the first time the Broncos will play three different ranked teams in the same season. Boise State played four games against top-25 foes in 2010, one against No. 13 Oklahoma (in Las Vegas) and three against No. 25 Hawai'i.
Follow the Action
Live audio streaming will be available at no charge for all five games from the Desert Classic on BroncoSports.com.
About the Broncos
Boise State softball is in its third season. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos return 15 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2010 squad that finished third in the Western Athletic Conference. Boise State won nine of its final 12 conference games last season to roll into the WAC Tournament with the No. 3 seed. The Broncos scored come-from-behind wins to advance to the semifinals, but a pair of one-run losses to Fresno State ended their postseason run.
Boise State was picked to repeat as third-place finishers in the preseason poll voted on by conference coaches.
Junior Allie Crump was selected to the All-WAC Preseason Team as a pitcher. Crump picked up 16 wins to lead the Broncos in 2010.
Junior utility player Kellie Caplan was a second-team All-WAC selection last season.
Last Time Out
The Broncos won their season opener for the second-consecutive season, but dropped the final three games at the Long Beach Round Robin, Feb. 12-13, by a combined five runs.
Boise State used two runs in the second inning against Loyola Marymount to overcome a first-inning deficit. Junior Allie Crump worked out of trouble in her final three innings of work to earn the win as sophomore Lela Work closed the door, facing the minimum in her three innings of relief to pick up the save.
The Broncos faced host Long Beach State in the second game of the day and suffered their first shutout since April 2, 2010, at Fresno State. The 49ers won 2-0.
Crump took a tough-luck loss against LBSU Feb. 13, pitching a complete game and only giving up two unearned runs. The Bronco offense was shutout for the second-straight game.
The offense picked up in the weekend finale against LMU. Boise State snapped a 24-inning scoring drought to take a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Crump capped the scoring with a solo home run, the Broncos' first of the season. The Lions would respond with four runs in the top of the seventh and hold on for the victory.
Sophomore utility player Holly Bourke drew a school-record four walks in the season opener against Loyola Marymount...Bourke has batted in the lead-off position all four games, delivering a .462 on-base percentage.
Getting Their Feet Wet
Freshmen Devon Bridges and Mackenzie Whyte started their collegiate debuts in the Broncos' season-opening win against Loyola Marymount (Feb. 12). Bridges recorded a single in her first-career at-bat. Whyte sacrificed her over, and reached herself on an error. The freshmen executed a double steal as Bridges took home to score the first run of the season. Whyte would later score on a sacrifice fly, giving the Broncos all the offense they would need in a 2-1 win.
It is the second-consecutive season two freshmen have started in Boise State's season opener. Holly Bourke (right field) and Megan Harvey (catcher) started the 2010 opener against San Diego.
Bridges earned the start in right field, meaning the Broncos have started a true freshman in the No. 9 defensive position each of the program's three years.
Freshman pitcher Morgan Barnes also made her debut during the opening weekend. Barnes pitched one inning against Long Beach State (Feb. 12).