Boise State softball wraps up its 25-game season-opening road swing with five games at the DeMarini Invitational in Columbia, Mo. The Broncos (13-7) will face three first-time opponents, including two games against No. 12/12 Missouri.
Boise State begins its tournament stay Friday, against the host Tigers at 3 p.m. (CT). The Broncos will turn around and play Alcorn State at 5:30 p.m. (CT) Friday night. It will be the Broncos' only game against the Lady Braves, and their first against a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The Broncos will face Missouri again Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. (CT). The Tigers advanced to the 2011 Women's College World Series and the Broncos will have played five games against members of that field in an 11-game stretch, ending Saturday. Boise State will also play Northern Illinois at 5:30 p.m. (CT).
The weekend concludes Sunday with one game against the Huskies at 10 a.m. (CT). Northern Illinois will be the Broncos' first Mid-American Conference opponent.
This marks the fourh-consecutive week Boise State will face an opponent ranked in the top 15 of the NFCA and USA Softball polls. UCLA was also ranked No. 12 in the NFCA poll when the Broncos faced them earlier this season (Feb. 17). The Broncos are 3-17 all-time against teams ranked in either top-25 poll. For this week's polls, see page 6.
Live stats will be available for all of the Boise State's games online at BroncoSports.com.
Stay current with all of the happenings in Boise State Softball by following the official twitter account of the Broncos @BroncoSportsSB.
No. 12/12 Missouri
The Tigers are on a five-game win streak, including a four-game sweep of the Missouri Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament in which Missouri allowed one run. The Tiger pitching staff is holding opponents to a .197 batting average for the season, led by Chelsea Thomas. A two-year member of Team USA, Thomas led the NCAA with a 0.95 ERA in 2011 and has four shutouts in five starts this season. She holds a 5-1 record with a 1.01 ERA. Thomas is a big reason Missouri was picked to win the Big XII for the first time in school history and makes the Tigers a favorite to return to the Women's College World Series for the fourth-straight year. Five starting position players return from last season, including Ashley Fleming a second-team All-American in 2011. Fleming has three of Missouri's nine home runs this season and is batting .333. The Tigers and Broncos have three common opponents this season in UC Davis, UCLA and Washington. Missouri is 3-0 in those games, the Broncos went 1-2.
All-Time Series: First Meeting
The Lady Braves come into the weekend 6-12, after defeating Memphis in their last outing. Before the win against the Tigers, Alcorn State lost seven in a row, being outscored 50-4 during the slide. Alcorn State was picked to finish fifth in the Southwest Athletic Conference preseason poll. The Lady Braves were eliminated from the 2011 SWAC Championship in the semifinals after winning the 2010 title.
All-Time Series: First Meeting
The Huskies went 2-2 at the Coach B Invitational March 3-4 in their last action, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process. Northern Illinois now stands at 5-7, behind a .298 team batting average and a 3.93 staff ERA. Despite giving up the same number of earned runs as its opponents (46), 24 errors and nine passed balls have led to 29 unearned runs and a scoring margin of -19. Sophomore Stephanie Tofft led the Huskies last season with 75 hits and a .434 batting average. Tofft's stellar freshman campaign included a school-record 36-game hitting streak. The infielder has not skipped a beat in the new season, batting .488 in the early going. The pitchers are led by Megan Dortch, who has appeared in 11 of the team's 12 games and has a 2.83 ERA in 50 innings. Dortch has all five of the Huskies' wins. NIU and Boise State have both played Creighton. The Broncos defeated the Bluejays while the Huskies went 0-2.
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Last Time Out
Boise State got back on the winning track with a 4-1 performance at the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational March 2-4, in Tempe, Ariz. The Broncos defeated Howard 16-1 in five innings to open the tournament, before falling to No. 5/5 Arizona State 4-0. Boise State rattled off three-straight wins to end the weekend, defeating Creighton (6-3), North Dakota State (7-4) and Wichita State (5-4).
Christina Capobianco hit two of the Broncos' four home runs in the opener as Boise State picked up its first run-rule victory of the season. Holly Bourke started the heavy hitting with a first-inning grand slam for her first homer of the year. Aubray Zell pitched a complete game against the defending national champion Sun Devils, but the Bronco offense could only manage three hits in their fifth loss to a top-10 team this season. The Broncos got back to slugging the ball in their final three games. Devon Bridges and Allie Crump each homered in the win against Creighton. Lela Work pitched six shutout innings across two appearances in the game, striking out 10, the most by a Bronco this year. Bridges launched another home run in the win over North Dakota State. Her solo shot led off the fifth inning and gave Boise State breathing room. In the finale, Jordan Kreiger and Tara Glover hit back-to-back homers in the third inning to put the Broncos up 2-0. After Wichita State came back on a home run of their own, Mackenzie Whyte's first round-tripper of the year broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth.
Glover hit safely in all five games to run her hitting streak to seven, as she has hit safely in 19 of the Broncos' 20 games this season. Glover was 9-for-16 on the weekend, including her school-record third triple of the year and her first home run as a Bronco.
The Broncos had 50 hits in the five-game tournament for a .365 batting average while slugging .635 with 10 home runs.
In the circle, Work made her first start of the season and came out of the bullpen twice to go 2-0 on the weekend with her first save of the season. Zell and Kenzie Cole also earned wins during the tournament. Cole started against Howard, pitching a complete game and striking out six.
Glover Player of the WeekSophomore Tara Glover was named the Mountain West Player of the Week for the week ending March 4, after hitting 9-for-16 at the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. Glover had a hit in all five games, including a three-hit performance against North Dakota State. The game against the Bison included her third triple of the year, a school record.She had her first home run in the finale.
Zell's Second Pitcher of the Week HonorSenior 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 fifth-inning home run against Cal Poly, Feb. 24, to surpass Kathy Cox (32; 2009-10) for the all-time home run record at Boise State. Capobianco has 35 home runs (11 in 2009, 11 in 2010, nine in 2011 and four 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-inning shutout streak to start the year.
Goin' Deep in the Desert
Boise State hit 10 home runs during their five games in Tempe, Ariz., March 2-4, at the Wilson/DeMarini Classic. The Broncos hit a season-high four in the opener against Howard. Christina Capobianco hit two homers against the Lady Bison, giving her a school-record four multi-homer games...Freshman Jordan Kreiger hit the first home run of her collegiate career against Wichita State. Tara Glover hit her first bomb as a Bronco against the Shockers. Holly Bourke, Allie Crump and Mackenzie Whyte also got their first homers of the year on the trip.
Broncos Playing Small Ball
Boise State leads the Mountain West in sacrifice bunts and stolen bases. The Broncos led the WAC in sacrifice bunts (43) last season. Nine different Broncos have stolen a base this season, just eight players swiped a bag in 2011.