Boise State softball travels to Cathedral City, Calif., for five games Feb. 23-25, at the Cathedral City Classic, hosted by Oregon State at Big League Dreams Sports Park.
The action starts Thursday with a 3 p.m. (PT) game against Cal State Northridge. Later that night the Broncos will see Cal State Fullerton for the first time. Boise State beat Northridge 8-4 last season for the second win of what became a 12-game win streak. The Broncos and Titans were scheduled to meet last season, but the game was rained out.
The tournament continues Friday, with two more games. Boise State will face No. 6/6 Oklahoma at 3:30 p.m. (PT), seeking to even the all-time series. The Sooners defeated the Broncos 8-4, in 2010, after Boise State rallied to tie the game in the fifth inning. The Broncos will also play Cal Poly at 6 p.m. (PT). Boise State beat the Mustangs last season in the first meeting between the schools.
The lone Saturday game pits Boise State against the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in program history. The Broncos will take on Florida at 9:30 a.m. (PT) in their final game of the weekend.
This marks the second-consecutive week Boise State will face two opponents ranked in the top 10 of the NFCA or USA Softball poll. The Broncos are 3-14 all-time against teams ranked in either top-25 poll. For this week's poll results, see page 6.
Live stats will be available for select games at BroncoSports.com. There is also a Tournament Central page at OSUBeavers.com.
Stay current with all of the happenings in Boise State Softball by following the official twitter account of the Broncos @BroncoSportsSB.
About the Broncos
Boise State softball is in its fourth season and first in the Mountain West. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos return 13 letterwinners and nine starters from the 2011 squad that finished 33-20 and second in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Broncos welcome back the bulk of last season's production at the plate and in the circle. Returning is 93.5 percent of the Broncos' hits in 2011, 89 percent of the runs scored, 96.4 percent of the home runs and 96.8 percent of the innings pitched.
Seniors Aubray Zell and Allie Crump lead the pitching staff into the new season. Zell enjoyed a career year in 2011, going 14-5 with a 2.52 ERA and ranking third nationally by allowing just 0.80 walks per seven innings. Crump finished the year 13-7 with a 4.00 ERA, and set a school record striking out 6.24 batters per seven innings. Both earned All-WAC First Team honors and Zell was a three-time WAC Pitcher of the Week.
Crump also enjoyed a breakout season on offense and she will team with sophomore Devon Bridges and senior Christina Capobianco to guide Boise State's heavy-hitting lineup.
Bridges paced the Broncos during a record-breaking freshman campaign. She hit .393 with a .531 on-base percentage and slugged .785 while driving in 53 runs and drawing 37 walks, all single-season school records. She also led the team with 16 home runs as she was named first-team all-conference and second-team NFCA All-Pacific Region.
Crump matched her career home run total in the first two weeks of the season and went on to hit 10 in 2011. She was second on the team with a .338 batting average.
Capobianco enters her senior year one home run shy of the career mark at Boise State. She hit nine round trippers in 2011 and drove in 32 to claim second-team All-WAC honors.
Senior Tazz Weatherly used a strong conference season to hit .320 and score 32 runs on her way to being named to the all-conference second team.
Also back are the only three Broncos to start all 53 games last year in senior Kellie Caplan, junior Holly Bourke and sophomore Mackenzie Whyte. Senior Kelly Sweeney returns after starting 52 games at third base.
Junior Lela Work threw 79 innings during 2011, mostly in relief. Work ranked eighth in the country with six saves.
Cal State Northridge
The Matadors enter the weekend searching for their first win. Northridge has faced six teams receiving votes in at least one poll through their first 10 games. It's 12-9 loss against Utah State is the only game that has lasted teh full seven innings. The Matadors return four starters from last season's 22-31 squad.
All-Time Series: Boise State leads 1-0
Boise State Streak: W 1
Cal State Fullerton
The Titans are 5-6 through the first two weeks of the season. Fullerton most recently won two games against Santa Clara and lost two games against Fresno State at the Fresno State Round Robin. It also split a pair of games at Cal State Bakersfield before traveling to Fresno. The Titans return six starters from the third-place team in the Big West last year. Among the returners is Ashley Carter, who is hitting .400 on the season.
All-Time Series: First Meeting
No. 6/6 Oklahoma
The Sooners started the season 6-0 before falling 1-0 against Georgia Tech in their last game. Their final two games last weekend were canceled. Oklahoma has outscored its opponents 50-4 and boasts a team ERA of 0.80. Leading the pitching staff is two-time All-American Keilani Ricketts. In 27 innings, Ricketts has allowed two runs on eight hits, and struck out 49. The Sooners' bats are led by Allee Allen (.615 batting average) and Jessuca Shults (.565). Oklahoma returns six starters from a team that reached the 2011 Women's College World Series.
All-Time Series: Oklahoma leads 1-0
Boise State Streak: L 1
The Mustangs went 1-4 at the Kajikawa Classic, Feb. 10-12, and the meeting with Boise State will be their first game since that tournament. Cal Poly's lone win came in shutout fashion, 3-0, against Texas Tech. The Mustangs return seven starters from last season.
All-Time Series: Boise State leads 1-0
Boise State Streak: W 1
No. 1/3 Florida
The Gators sit atop the USA Today/NFCA Coaches' Poll for the second-straight week with a 9-0 record. Staff ace Hannah Rogers is yet to allow an earned run in five appearances, throwing three shutouts and combining on another. Florida has scored 79 runs this season and four different Gators have driven in 11 or more. As a team they are batting .407, with five starters hitting .400 or better.
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Last Time Out
Boise State continued its fast start to the 2012 season going 3-2 at the Campbell/Cartier Classic Feb. 17-19, in San Diego. The Broncos defeated UC Santa Barabara (7-1), San Diego (4-0) and Notre Dame (3-1). The two setbacks came at the hands of then-No. 12/8 UCLA (4-1) and then-No. 7/9 Washignton (7-4).
Senior pitcher Aubray Zell went 2-1 on the weekend, including her third shutout of the season against the Toreros. Zell gave up just three earned runs in three complete games and was named MW Pitcher of the Week for the second-straight week.
Allie Crump split her two starts, beating UCSB with six innings of one-run work and losing to the Huskies.
The Broncos jumped out to an early lead against UCSB, thanks to a second-inning grand slam from Christina Capobianco that tied the Boise State career home run record. Against the Bruins, the Broncos brought the tying run to the plate in each of the last two innings and stranded seven runners in scoring position. Boise State used a two-run triple from Tara Glover to break open the game against San Diego. Later against Washington, a late comeback attempt fell short for the Broncos. The weekend ended with the 3-1 victory against Notre Dame.
Glover led the way offensively, raising her season batting average to .500. Glover, a transfer from Utah, is riding a 20-game hitting streak dating back to last season. She has seven multi-hit games through her first 10 contests as a Bronco.
Capobianco also enjoyed a successful weekend at the plate, going 7-for-17 with three doubles, one home run and eight RBI.
USA Softball 'Watching' Bridges
Devon Bridges became the first player in school history to be named to the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List prior to this season. She is the only student-athlete from the Mountain West on the list and one of just eight sophomores, nationally, to make the cut. Bridges is the third player from current MW schools to be named to the watch list in the 11-year history of the award.
Zell's Second Pitcher of the Week Honor
Senior Aubray Zell was named the Mountain West Pitcher of the Week for the week ending Feb. 19, her second weekly pitching award of the season. Zell went 2-1 in three complete-game appearances at the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego. She registered a 1.05 ERA and a 14:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in her 20 innings of work, holding opponents to a .211 batting average.
Capobianco Boise State's Home Run Leader
Senior Christina Capobianco hit a grand slam in the second inning against UC Santa Barbara, Feb. 17, to tie Kathy Cox (2009-10) for the all-time home run record at Boise State. Capobianco has 32 home runs (11 in 2009, 11 in 2010, nine in 2011 and one in 2012).
Shut it Down
Boise State pitchers did not allow a run for the first 20 innings of the season and recorded three shutouts during the opening weekend...The Broncos are the only MW team to throw a shutout this season...Senior Aubray Zell had a personal 19-innnig shutout streak to start the year.