BOISE, Idaho-Junior pitcher Aubray Zell threw the first no-hitter in Boise State softball history to lead the Broncos to a 12-0 win against Southern Utah in the second game of a doubleheader Friday, at the Boise State SpringHill Suites Invitational. Boise State swept two games against the Thunderbirds, winning the opening game 7-3.
Zell matched her career high with eight strikeouts in a five-inning game shortened by the run rule. It was a dropped strike three that resulted in the only base runner of the game for SUU, keeping Zell from perfection. She needed just 61 pitches to get through the game, commanding both sides of the plate.
"It was great for Aubray to accomplish what we know she's capable of," said head coach Erin Thorpe. "She maintained control throughout the game. That's the goal we have for every pitcher on our staff- be in control of the zone."
As is the case in most no-hit performances, it took a few key defensive plays to preserve the historic outing. The two most memorable were made by defensive replacements as 16 Broncos saw the field. Sophomore Lela Work came on to play third base in the fourth inning. The leadoff batter of the inning scorched a line drive to the left side of the infield. Work dove to her left, quickly gathered herself and threw to first for the out. Sophomore Ashley Collier entered the game in the third inning, but it was her play to end the fourth that squelched what ended up being one of the Thunderbirds' best cases for a base hit. Haylee Hoch ripped a ball to straight-away center and Collier took off running toward the fence. A stride in front of the warning track, Collier reached up and made the catch with her back to home plate.
The offense did more than enough, scoring at least seven runs for the fourth-straight game and at least a dozen for the second time during that stretch. Boise State got off to a fast start with a four-run first inning, capped by the first-career triple for junior Christina Capoboianco scoring two runs. The Broncos took advantage of two SUU errors in the second inning to tack on five more runs.
Sophomore Vanessa Alvarez polished off the scoring for Boise State with a three-run home run in the third inning, her first of the season.
Boise State won the opening game 7-3 behind solo home runs by a trio of Broncos and another strong pitching performance from the combination of junior Allie Crump and Work.
"We were very excited to start our home schedule," Thorpe said. "Playing at home gives us an added level of comfort."
The Boise State bats appeared extremely comfortable in the confines of their home park. Junior Tazz Weatherly started the scoring with a bomb to left center field for her first home run of the season. Weatherly went on to single twice in the game for her third-consecutive three-hit game.
After SUU took the lead with two runs in the top of the third inning, the Broncos wasted no time taking it right back. Junnior Christina Capobianco led off the home half of the inning with her first home run of the season. Capobianco, the active career home run leader at Boise State, drove a 3-2 pitch the other way and the ball hooked around the foul pole. On the very next pitch freshman Devon Bridges went deep just under the scoreboard in right field for the first round tripper of her career.
Boise State added an unearned run in the fourth inning.
Crump would make that lead hold up as she went five innings allowing five hits and three runs, two earned.
Work entered the game in the sixth inning with the Broncos leading 4-3. She retired all six batters she faced, striking out five. After the Broncos picked up three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, Work struck out the side in the seventh inning to secure her third save of the season.
"Hopefully we can use the momentum of this four-game win streak and carry it through the weekend," Thorpe said.
The Broncos return to action Saturday at Noon, at Mountain Cove Softball Field. The Boise State SpringHill Suites Invitational resumes Saturday at 10 a.m., when SUU takes on Seattle.
With her start in the first game, Allie Crump became the fifth Bronco to appear in 100 games for her career...Tazz Weatherly became the fourth Boise State player to record 100 total bases in her career...Maghan Yurek caught Aubray Zell's no-hitter, making her 46th-career start behind the plate, the most starts at catcher in Boise State history...Megan Harvey had her six-game hitting streak snapped in game one.