Broncos Open Home Schedule Thursday
Boise State softball is home for the first time after spending the first five weeks of the 2012 season on the road. The Broncos welcome Idaho State, Minnesota, Portland State and Utah State to Boise for the SpringHill Suites Invitational #1. Action kicks off Thursday at 3 p.m., when Boise State takes on Minnesota. A complete schedule of the week's events can be found on page 3 of the complete release.
This is the second time in three years the Broncos will open their home slate against the Golden Gophers. Minnesota (17-6) defeated Boise State 3-2 in 2010, the only previous meeting between the schools on the softball field. The rest of the weekend will present much more familiar challenges. Boise State has played the Vikings, Aggies and Bengals a combined 21 times entering the tournament.
The Broncos will face Portland State (9-10) Saturday at noon and Sunday at 2 p.m. The Vikings advanced to the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Boise State will see former Western Athletic Conference foe Utah State (8-15) Friday at 4 p.m. The Broncos' lone game Saturday (4 p.m.) and the final game of the tournament Sunday (4 p.m.) will come against in-state rival Idaho State (3-18).
The tournament promises to feature strong pitching as the teams' aces own a combined nine conference pitcher of the week awards this season.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children. One ticket is good for a full day.
Live stats and live audio will be available for every game of the tournament at BroncoSports.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
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.
Boise State went 15-10 on its season-opening 25-game road swing. The mark tied the best start in program history through 25 games (2011) and the 2012 squad did it against the toughest schedule yet. The Broncos played seven games against teams ranked in the top 12 in both major top-25 poll. Nine games featured opponents returning from 2011 NCAA Tournament appearances, including five against teams that advanced to the Women's College World Series.
Seniors Aubray Zell and Allie Crump anchor the pitching staff for yet another year. Zell is a two-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week after winning the weekly award three times last season in the WAC. She is 9-6 on the year with a 1.82 ERA and is on pace to break the single-season strikeout record. Crump, the career stirkeout leader, is 3-2 this season with a 2.85 ERA.
Crump is also a standout at the plate with four doubles, 12 RBI and a team-high eight walks. Sophomore Devon Bridges and senior Christina Capobianco continue to be the biggest power threats for the Broncos. Capobianco paces the team with four home runs and 16 RBI. Bridges is hitting .338 with three home runs and 11 driven in.
Boise State's top producer with the bat is at the top of the order. Sophomore transfer Tara Glover is hitting .443 and leads the team with a .588 slugging percentage thanks in large part to a school-record three triples. Glover has used her speed to score 20 runs and steal seven bases, both team highs. A native of Grants Pass, Ore., Glover transfered to Boise State from Utah, where she started all 51 games for the Utes as a freshman in 2011.
Zell and freshman Kenzie Cole have combined for two historic pitching performances this season. Against Cal Poly (Feb. 24) Cole started and pitched 3.2 hitless innings. Zell finished the game and kept the combined no-hitter in tact. Against Alcorn State (March 9) the roles were reversed. Zell struck out 14 in six innings before Cole finished the game with two punchouts to set the team record at 16.
About Portland State
About Utah State
About Idaho State
Tara Glover hit a leadoff single in the first game of the tournament against No. 12/12 Missouri, but it was the only hit Boise State would get against the host Tigers. Missouri scored three runs in the bottom of the first and crusied to an 8-0, run-rule victory.
Aubray Zell turned in the most dominant pitching perfromance by a Bronco this season to lead the team to a win over Alcorn State in the second game. Zell needed just six innings to tie the school record with 14 strikeouts. She went 5.2 hitless innings before surrendering the only hit of the game. Kenzie Cole took over for the seventh and struck out two more Lady Braves to set a team record for a single game. The Broncos scored four runs in the third inning to provide all of the offense the pitching staff needed. Mackenzie Whyte capped the scoring with a two-run home run.
Boise State dropped both of its games Saturday, falling again to Missouri in the same fashion. Northern Illinois jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings and did not look back. Zell shut out the Huskies in 5.1 innings of relief, but the bats could not get hot.
The Broncos got revenge Sunday. After waiting out a one-hour, 23-minute rain delay, the teams took the field with Boise State trailing 2-1 in the fourth. The Broncos scored twice in the frame without a hit. NIU tied the game in the sixth, but Glover scored the winning run in the seventh.
The Bronco offense took a step back, hitting .206 as a team at the tournament. No player registered more than four hits in the five games and Whyte hit the lone home run. In the circle, Zell apeared in four games, including three starts. She threw 22.1 of the 29.2 innings, allowing opponents to hit just .190 against her and posting a 1.88 ERA. The record-tying performance against Alcorn State helped her post 28 strikeouts on the weekend.
Boise State in Home Openers
Glover Player of the Week
Zell's Second Pitcher of the Week Honor
Capobianco Boise State's Home Run Leader
Shut it Down
Home Sweet Home
Zell, Cole Set Strikeout Mark
Goin' Deep in the Desert
Broncos Playing Small Ball
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- FAN ZONE