Boise State softball will play its final early-season tournament March 19-20, and it may have saved the best for last. The Broncos are set to take on two top-five teams among four quality opponents at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.
The Broncos (14-8) will open the tournament pitting their 12-game win streak against No. 5 Arizona State (27-2) Saturday, at 3:30 p.m. (PT). Boise State takes on Penn State (9-7) in the nightcap.
The second day figures to be equally challenging as the Broncos start Sunday with regional showdown against No. 4 Washington (20-1). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PT) against the Huskies. Boise State completes its stay at the Judi Garman Classic against host Cal State Fullerton (8-12) at 3:30 p.m. (PT).
For the second-consecutive weekend Boise State faces a full slate of first-time opponents.
Live stats and audio will be available for select Boise State game this weekend. For details check the schedule page at BroncoSports.com.
About the Broncos
Boise State softball is in its third season. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos return 15 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2010 squad that finished third in the Western Athletic Conference.
After a 2-8 start, Boise State has won a school-record 12-straight games behind strong pitching. The Bronco pitching staff has combined for a staggering 0.65 ERA in the last 10 games, a span that included a 41-inning scoreless streak.
Junior Allie Crump leads the team on both sides of the field with a 9-3 record in the circle and a .424 batting average at the plate. Crump has won her last seven starts. She not only leads the Broncos in hitting for average, but is supplying the power with a team-best six home runs and .763 slugging percentage.
Junior Aubray Zell has also been dominant in the circle, posting a 4-1 record with a 1.75 ERA for the season. Zell is 4-0 during the win streak and is yet to allow a run in her 23 innings of work during that stretch, including the first no-hitter in school history March 4, against Southern Utah.
Freshman Devon Bridges has come on strong for the Bronco offense. Bridges is batting .529 with four home runs and 17 RBI during the win streak, with a base hit in 11 of the games.
About the Judi Garman Classic
The Judi Garman Classic is widely regarded as the premiere mid-season college softball tournament. This season's field features seven past national champions. The five-day tournament runs Wednesday through Sunday. Each of Boise State's four opponents will take on the Broncos in its final game at the tournament.
About Arizona State
The Sun Devils (27-2) entered the Judi Garman Classic ranked No. 5 in this week's coaches' poll on the strength of a 22-game winning streak. They went 1-1 on the first day. Arizona State has taken 17 of its 27 victories by the run rule, and scored double-digit runs in 10 of ots 11 games prior to the tournament. ASU enters the weekend hitting .407 as a team with a 1.54 staff ERA.
About Penn State
The Nittany Lions (9-7) wrap up a grueling early-season road schedule at the Judi Garman Classic. Penn State will be playing its 15th game in 16 days when it meets the Broncos and has yet to play a home game this year.The Nittany Lions enter the weekend batting below .200 as a squad, but feature two ace pitchers with sub-2.0 ERA's.
The Huskies (20-1) were the last undefeated team standing in NCAA Division I softball before falling to No. 14 Texas in their second of six games at the Judi Garman Classic. The Huskies are led by five regulars in the lineup batting over .400 and freshman Kaitlin Inglesby's 2.15 ERA in the circle.
About Cal State Fullerton
The Titans (8-12) opened their prestigious home tournament Wednesday, with a win against Notre Dame. Cal State Fullerton entered the weekend averaging less than three runs per game, but have held nine opponents to three runs or fewer, including then-No. 14 Oregon in the season's opening weekend.
Crump Recognized Nationally
Junior Allie Crump added to her slew of honors with an honorable mention nod for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Player of the Week. Crump was among six players across the country to be recognized for standout performances during the week of March 7-13.
Setting the Table
As a team, Boise State is reaching base 45 percent of the time leading off an inning. Devon Bridges leads the way with a 63.6 percent success rate (7-of-11). Allie Crump has had the most opportunities and has taken full advantage. Crump has reached base 13 of the 25 times she has come to the plate first. Three of her home runs have come leading off an inning.
Hitting Their Stride
Boise State hit .415 as a team at the SpringHill Suites Invitational to raise its batting average to .320. The Broncos continued the strong play at the Santa Clara Bronco Classic to remain at .320, good for second in the WAC. The Broncos now boast four of the top-10 batting averages in the conference, led by .Allie Crump (second, .424), Devon Bridges (fourth, .404), Kellie Caplan (fifth, .382) and Holly Bourke (sixth, .380).
Boise State Streaking
The Broncos are riding a school-record 12-game winning streak. Boise State has scored 92 runs during the streak, which comes on the heels of suffering back-to-back shutouts. Bronco pitchers have combined for a 1.77 ERA during the win streak...The strong pitching included a 41-inning scoreless streak, during which Boise State shutout five-straight opponents. The Broncos have six shutouts this season. The previous single-season high for shutouts by Boise State was four (2010).
Alvarez Arrives in the Clutch
Sophomore Vanessa Alvarez is thriving on clutch hitting situations in 2011. Alvarez is batting .255 on the year, but that number rises to .343 with runners on base and .455 with runners in scoring position. She leads the team in batting with runners in scoring position...Of Alvarez' 13 RBI this season, 11 have come with two outs.
Tazz a Tough Out
Junior Tazz Weatherly tied her career high with three hits in three-consecutive games (Feb. 25-March 4). It is the first time a Bronco has recorded three base hits in three-straight games. The single-season record for three-hit games is five (Kathy Cox, 2009).