Broncos Beat Minnesota 2-1 in Thriller for 100th Win

BOISE, Idaho—Devon Bridges homered in the bottom of the seventh to send Boise State and Minnesota to extra innings where the Broncos prevailed 2-1, Thursday, in the first game of the SpringHill Suites Invitational #1 at Mountain Cove Softball Field. It is the 100th win in program history. Aubray Zell earned her 10th win of the season with a sparkling performance in the circle.

With the international tiebreak rule in effect, each team started the eighth inning with a runner at second base. The Golden Gophers could not scratch out a run, putting the winning run in scoring position for Boise State in the bottom of the frame.

Allie Crump led off with Holly Bourke aboard at second. Crump was unable to get a bunt down on the first two pitches but battled through the at bat and poked a single to the right side, advancing the runner. Minnesota picked up a strikeout, but pinch-runner Ashley Collier stole second to eliminate the force play.

In stepped Tazz Weatherly to pinch hit with two runners in scoring position and one away. Weatherly fought off a 2-2 pitch before dribbling a ball up the middle. Golden Gopher shortstop Tyler Walker sprinted in to field the ball on a knee and throw home. Bourke scampered toward a play at the plate and slid for home as the catcher, Kari Dorle, held her ground. Dorle was called for obstruction as she blocked the plate before the ball arrived.

A nearly-10-minute discussion ensued as coaches and umpires consulted the rule book, but ultimately Bourke was awarded home and Boise State had its 100th win in program history.

Zell pitched all eight innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out 11 and walking one. Zell and Minnesota’s Sara Moulton staged the best pitcher’s duel Mountain Cove has seen. Moulton, among the national leaders in every pitching category, also threw a complete game and allowed just three hits and two walks. She struck out 10 to add to her NCAA-best total as the Broncos plated two (one earned) against her.

Each team used the long ball to get on the board in regulation. Walker dropped a fly ball in the Boise State bullpen beyond the left-field fence with two outs in the third inning to break the 0-0 deadlock. It remained the only run as neither team put together a real threat until Bridges- who is always a threat -stepped to the plate with the Broncos down to their final two outs. The sophomore worked the count full before drilling her 20th-career home run to left field.

The Broncos kept the game tied after the top of the eighth with an inning-ending double play. After a sacrifice moved the tiebreak runner up to third, Walker slapped a ground ball to short. Mackenzie Whyte came up with it after a bobble and caught the runner off of third. A rundown resulted in one out. Meanwhile, Walker was advancing on the play. As she rounded second, Kelly Sweeney fired to Kellie Caplan who snuck in behind the runner and applied a tag to retire the side.

Tara Glover was the other Bronco with a base hit, collecting an infield single in the third inning. Glover was erased on a caught stealing during the next at bat. The tag on Glover by the shortstop was Minnesota’s only putout not recorded by the catcher of first baseman as Moulton kept the ball in the infield and on the ground.

The SpringHill Suites Invitational #1 continues through the weekend with four games each scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. Idaho State, Portland State and Utah State will join the Broncos and Golden Gophers at Mountain Cove. Boise State will play twice Friday, starting with the Vikings at noon (MT).

The win extends Boise State’s school-record home winning streak to 16 games.

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