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Friday vs. Utah State - 2 p.m.
Boise State Softball Game Notes
Boise State softball opens its new home field, Dona Larsen Park, Friday through Sunday, with the SpringHill Suites Invitational. The Broncos will play six games, each day at 2 and 4 p.m. (MT), against three regional opponents.
Idaho State, Portland State and Utah State all visit Boise for a weekend that will feature a total of 10 games, two Friday and four each weekend day.
Boise State (9-13) takes on the Aggies (0-20) Friday, at 2 p.m., in the opener. The opening-day festivities include a ceremonial first pitch by Dona Larsen.
The Broncos and Bengals (7-11) face off three times, once each day. Boise State will play the Vikings (6-17) in the final game Saturday and again at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Game Day Information
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Dona Larsen Park. Prices are $6 for adults and $4 for juniors (2-18) and seniors (62+) and are good all day. Boise State students receive free admission with a valid ID card. Bronco Sports Passes are also good for entry to softball games. Gates open one hour prior to the first game of the day.
Parking: Daily parking permits for spaces in the parking lot at Dona Larsen Park will be sold on site for $5. Fans coming Friday will be able to buy permits for each day of the weekend. Free parking will be available for softball patrons in the Bronco Stadium East Lot and a continuous shuttle will be runningto Dona Larsen Park.
Live Coverage: Live audio will be available for all of Boise State's games during the tournament, free of charge at BroncoSports.com. Live stats are also available on the web site. For in-depth, in-game coverage follow on Twitter @BroncoSportsSB.
Opening Day: The first 100 fans in attendance Friday will receive a rally towel. Select concessions will be priced $2 all day. Dona Larsen will be on hand to throw out the first pitch.
St. Patrick's Day: All fans wearing Blue and Orange to the Sunday games will receive the $4 ticket price.
About the Broncos
Boise State softball is in its fifth season and second in the Mountain West. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos bring back five starters among the 10 returning letterwinners from their 2012 squad that went 34-20 and finished second in the Mountain West.
The Broncos are 9-13 on the season. They have lost seven of the last nine, including four games against top-20 opposition.
Boise State has gotten 72 starts out of its freshmen, starting at least three freshmen in 21 of the 22 games. Another 23 starts have come from transfers.
Despite all of the new faces, the Broncos have been led early on by a few familiar names. Senior Holly Bourke and juniors Devon Bridges and Tara Glover are once again at the top of nearly every offensive category and are all hitting better than .340.
Bourke is reaching base at an astoundig clip this season. Bourke owns a .526 on-base percentage with 19 hits and 20 walks. Her OBP is tops in the Mountain West and 48th nationally. She has reached base safely in 14-straight games.
Bridges leads the team with four home runs and 20 RBI not only lead the team. Eight of her 25 hits have gone for extra bases, leading to a team-best .575 slugging percentage.
Glover racked up six hits in a three-game series at Arizona last weekend, to take the team lead in batting average at .347. She has a team-best 26 hits and is riding a six-game hitting streak as she tries to return to 2012 form when she batted .476 and led the country with 88 hits during the regular season.
Freshman Makenna Weir has supplied the most consistent new bat. Weir has a .300 batting average, .426 on-base percentage, 11 walks, 10 RBI and five extra-base hits, ranking in the top three on the team in each category. She has played five different positions in her debut season.
The pitching staff is led by junior transfer Rebecca Patton's 5-5 record and 4.34 earned run average. Patton was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week earlier this season. She has struck out 41 and walked 23 in 58 innings this season.
Senior Lela Work and sophomore Kenzie Cole have also shared time in the circle. Cole has pitched 46.2 innings and has a 3-5 record. Work is 1-3 with one save in 32 innings. Each has a complete-game win to their name this year. Cole tossed her first-career shutout March 3, against Utah State.
The Aggies enter the week seeking their first win of the season. At 0-20, they will travel to Weber State for a Wednesday doubleheader before coming to the SpringHill Suites Invitational. Utah State's team batting average is .184 on the year and the Aggies are being outscored 115-31 on the season. They have dropped five games by one run, three by two runs and six more by just three runs. Boise State won the first meeting between the teams this season, 2-0, March 3, behind Kenzie Cole's first-career shutout and a two-run home run by Devon Bridges in the sixth inning.
All-Time Series: Boise State leads 9-2.
Boise State Streak: W2
The Bengals enter the weekend 7-11, but already boast three wins against the Mountain West (Nevada twice and Fresno State once) and one against the Pac-12 (Utah). Idaho State is carried by its big bats. The Bengals rank 19th in the country averaging 1.17 home runs per game, led by catcher Vicky Galasso's seven bombs. Galasso's .474 batting average is No. 18 in the country and her .930 slugging percentage ranks 15th. Amanda Fitzsimmons is a two-way threat for Idaho State. Fitzsimmons is hitting .310 with four home runs while leading the pitching staff with 66 innings pitched. The Bengals sport a 5.11 staff ERA.
All-Time Series: Boise State leads 7-3
Boise State Streak: W1
The Vikings come into the tournament 6-17 and have dropped 12 of 14, including eight losses against ranked teams in that stretch. Portland State defeated Boise State 2-1 in the Broncos' season opener Feb. 8, in Tempe, Ariz. Pitcher Anna Bertrand was the 2012 PCSC Pitcher of the Year and leads the staff once again. Bertrand has a 4.25 ERA in 80.2 innings over 15 apperances (12 starts). Carly McEachran has six home runs (two against Boise State) to lead the team. Portland State has advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times since 2006, including three of the last four seasons.
All-Time Series: Portland State leads 4-3
Boise State Streak: L1
Last Time Out
Boise State was swept in a three-game series March 7 and 9, at then-No. 16/20 Arizona. The Broncos and Wildcats played one game Thursday, followed by a Saturday doubleheader.
Boise State scored in each of the first three innings Thursday, Arizona in a 9-5, series-opening loss. The Broncos led 5-3 after the top of the third, but Arizona scored six unanswered and held on for the win.
The nationally-ranked Wildcats took a pair of run-rule games Saturday. Arizona won 14-4 in five innings in the game one and 10-2 in five innings in the series finale. The home team ripped nine home runs on the day, giving them 12 in the series.
Boise State in Home Openers
The Broncos are 3-1 all-time in home openers. Boise State's lone loss came in 2010, a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Minnesota. The Broncos avenged the loss by defeating the Golden Gophers in the 2012 home opener, a 2-1, extra-innings victory that gave Boise State its 100th win in program history. The Broncos started the 2011 home slate with a doubleheader sweep against Southern Utah, including the only no-hitter in school history by Aubray Zell. The team finished undefeated at home that season. Boise State opened the home portion of the inaugural 2009 season with seven-straight victories.
Bourke Getting Aboard
Senior Holly Bourke has a .526 on-base percentage for the season. Bourke has 19 hits and has drawn 20 walks. She has reached safely in 14 -straight games and 32-of-54 plate appearances (.615) in those games, starting Feb. 16 at UTSA. The span included a streak of reaching in seven-straight trips to the dish between Feb. 17 and 22. That streak was started by a 4-for-4 game Feb. 17 against Rutgers.
Freshman Makenna Weir has reached base safely in 16 of the 19 games she has appeared. Weir is hitting .300 for the year and has drawn 11 walks to reach base at a .426 clip...Weir's versatility has also allowed the Broncos flexibility. The freshman has already seen time at catcher, second base, third base, left field and designated player.
Barnes, Bourke and Bridges have become a lethal combination for the Bronco offense. The trio leads the way for Boise State in nearly every offensive category. Junior Devon Bridges is hitting .342 and paces the Broncos in slugging percentage (.575), homers (four) and RBI (20). Senior Holly Bourke has the top on-base percentage (.526) and his hitting .345. Bourke has 19 hits and 20 walks on the year. She ranks 21st in the country drawing 0.91 walks per game. Freshman Sarah Barnes has 16 hits with two home runs and a .368 on-base percentage.
Brilliant Hitting Per-FOUR-mances
Senior Holly Bourke, freshman Sarah Barnes and junior Devon Bridges have each tied the single-game school record with four hits this season. Bourke's four-hit game came Feb. 17, against Rutgers in 4-for-4 fashion. It was the second four-hit game of her career, becoming the second Bronco in school history to accomplish the feat twice (Laeha Hill). Barnes duplicated the effort with a 4-for-4 game of her own Feb. 24, against San Diego. She became the second Bronco freshman with four hits in a game. Her game also included a home run, making her the second Bronco to have a four-hit game include a homer. Bridges was 4-for-5 March 2, against UCLA. She also drew a walk, becoming the first Bronco to reach base safely five times in a game.