WHAT'S ON DECK: The gates to the friendly confines of Mountain Cove will open for the first time this season as the Boise State softball team hosts the SpringHill Suites Invitational this weekend. The Broncos will host the nine-game tournament that features the host Broncos, Minnesota, Portland State and Weber State. The tournament kicks off on Friday when the Broncos take on the Golden Gophers at 3 p.m.
ABOUT MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers will bring a 10-17 record on their first trip to Treasure Valley. As a team, the Gophers are hitting a meager .209 with no players batting over .300. Runs have been hard to come by this year as the Gophers average less than three runs per game. Alex Davis has hit three of the Gophers four homers this year although Abby Rehberger leads the team with 11 RBI. On the basepaths, the Gophers are 8-of-14 in stolen bases while they have given up 46 stolen bases. Lacey Middlebrooks has been the workhorse in the circle with a 10-7 record in 111.1 innings pitched. She sports a 2.07 ERA and a .198 batting average against. She has also recorded 107 strikeouts on the year.
ABOUT PORTLAND STATE: The Vikings earned a berth in the NCAA tournament last year by winning the Pacific Coast Softball Conference. However, the Vikings are still looking to find that same success in 2010 as they own a 7-14 record. Brandi Scoggins leads the team with a .364 average and 10 RBI. The Vikings have hit only one home run this year off the bat of Danielle Lynn. In the circle, Anna Bertrand and Tori Rogers have split the bulk of innings for the Vikings. Bertrand has tossed 55.1 innings with a 5-4 record and a 2.28 ERA as well as recording 70 strikeouts. Rogers has posted a 2-7 record with a 4.32 ERA in 47 innings of work.
ABOUT WEBER STATE: The Wildcats revived their program for the 2010 season after a 27-year hiatus. The Wildcats are still looking for their first win since the revival as they have opened the season with a 0-18 record. It's been a rough start for the revived program as the Wildcats are hitting just .224 as a team and averaging just over two runs per game. Linnea Ketcher leads the way for the Wildcats with a .333 batting average. Heather Jackson has two of the Wildcats six home runs on the year. In the circle, the Wildcats have allowed a .432 bating average against and sport an 11.44 ERA.
HISTORY WASHED AWAY: Down came the rain and washed the history out. Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, but history was never re-made. In the top of the seventh at Oregon State Megan Harvey hit the first grand slam in Boise State history and gave the Broncos a 5-4 lead. The slam was also the freshman's first homer of her career as well as her first RBI of her short career. The rain delayed the game for a second time later in the inning and resulted in the game being canceled. Since the seventh inning was not completed, the official end of the game came at the last completed inning (in this case, the sixth inning). The history and the Bronco comeback was washed away by the rain. The Broncos lost the game 4-0.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Broncos are finally able to compete on their home turf after spending the first month of the season on the road. Last year, the Broncos won their first seven games at Mountain Cove but are currently on a nine-game losing streak in their home park. The Broncos hold a 7-9 record at Mountain Cove and a 7-1 record in non-conference matchups at Mountain Cove.
150 Ks AND COUNTING: With 11 strikeouts on Mar. 14 in two games against North Dakota and Oregon, Allie Crump has pushed her career total to 150. She became the first and only Bronco to reach the 100-strikeout mark last April and continues to lead the Bronco pitching staff in the career strikeouts. She leads the staff this year with 38 Ks in 53.1 innings pitched.
SETTING THE BAR HIGH: Kathy Cox will only have two years to leave her mark in the Boise State record books. With six homers already in the 2010 season, Cox is sure to leave a lasting impression. She now has 17 career homers (the most by a Bronco) and is on pace to break her single-season record of 11 set in the inaugural season. She also holds the career records for RBI (53) and hits (65) with much more of her senior season yet to be played.
SNAPPING A SCORELESS STREAK: The Broncos had some trouble bringing in a run in the first couple rain-soaked games of the Cascade Clash. They were shutout in back-to-back games against Oregon State and Oregon. The Broncos finally knocked in a run in the fourth inning against North Dakota to snap an 18-inning scoreless streak. The consecutive shutouts marked the first time that the Broncos have been shutout in back-to-back games since April 4-11 when the Broncos went three consecutive games without a run.
PICTURE OF CONSISTENCY: It's not quite the picture that Coach Thorpe was hoping for in the early games of the 2010 season. The Broncos have won one game per weekend in their first four weeks of competition. The Broncos will look to up that number of wins with five games on their home turf this weekend.SWIPING MORE THAN EVER: After only 14 games, the Broncos have already swiped 14 bases in 15 attempts. In all of their inaugural season in 2009, the Broncos swiped 14 bases in 20 attempts. The Broncos have 36 regular season games remaining to steal one more base and set a new team-high for stolen bases in a season.