Boise State softball continues its home stand Thursday through Sunday, at Mountain Cove Softball Field. The Broncos welcome Seattle, UT San Antonio, Weber State and New Mexico for the SpringHill Suites Invitational #2. Action kicks off Thursday with a double header between Boise State and Seattle, beginning at 2 p.m. A complete schedule of the week's events can be found on page 3 of the complete release.
Seattle returns to Mountain Cove Softball Field for the second-straight season. The Redhawks went 0-4 at last year's SpringHill Suites Invitational losing twice to Boise State and twice to Southern Utah.
The Broncos will take on UTSA Friday, at 4 p.m., in the first meeting between the schools. It will also be the first time Boise State faces off against a team from the Southland Conference.
Boise State and Weber State will meet Saturday (4 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.). The Wildcats and Broncos were rained out last year after playing four times in 2010, Weber State's first season.
New Mexico is receiving votes in both polls after spending the past three weeks in the top 25. The Broncos and Lobos will not play each other until New Mexico returns to Boise April 27-29, for a Mountain West series.
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
Boise State softball is in its fourth season and first in the Mountain West. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos return 13 letterwinners and nine starters from the 2011 squad that finished 33-20 and second in the Western Athletic Conference.
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 three-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week after winning the weekly award three times last season in the WAC. She is 11-6 on the year with a 1.69 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 two homers, four doubles, 16 RBI and eight walks. Sophomore Devon Bridges and senior Christina Capobianco continue to be the biggest power threats for the Broncos, each with four home runs. Capobianco paces the team with 18 RBI, while Bridges is hitting .350 with 16 driven in.
Boise State's top producer with the bat is at the top of the order. Sophomore transfer Tara Glover is hitting .448 and leads the team with a .583 slugging percentage thanks in large part to a school-record three triples. Glover has used her speed to score 22 runs and steal nine 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.
The Redhawks come in with a 6-11 record, but have not hit the field since losing three of four at the Husky Softball Classic, March 10-11. Idaho natives Jessica Ulrich (Lewiston) and Richelle Ashburn (Post Falls) have seen the most time in the circle for Seattle, leading a staff with a 4.45 ERA and a 59:50 K:BB ratio. Sarah Petosa has a team-high 20 hits and leads the way with a .351 batting average.
All-Time Series: Boise State leads 3-1. The Broncos took two games from Seattle in 2011, after splitting a par in the Broncos' inaugural 2009 season.
About UT San Antonio
The Roadrunners and first-year head coach Amanda Lehotak are 10-14. Five starters are hitting .300 or better while the team's batting average is .314. Haylee Staton guides the pitching staff with a 7-3 record and a 2.59 ERA in 75.2 innings, including eight complete games and one shutout. UTSA and Boise State have two common opponents this season. The Roadrunners split two games with Cal State Fullerton and beat North Dakota State in extra innings.
All-Time Series: First meeting.
About Weber State
The Wildcats are in their third season as a program. After winning 14 games in the first two years, Weber State is off to a 9-13 start behind an improved offense. The Wildcats are hitting .315 as a team and are averaging nearly six runs per game. The pitching staff has a combined 6.59 ERA and is walking 5.3 batters per game. However, Weber State comes to Boise having won its last two games by a combined score of 19-2.
All-Time Series: Boise State leads 4-0. The Broncos outscored Weber State 48-10 over four games in 2010.
About New Mexico
The Lobos fell out of the top 25 for the first time in three weeks and carry a four-game losing streak into the SpringHill Suites Invitational. New Mexico (17-6) still leads the country with 1.78 home runs per game. Three different New Mexico batters have been named Mountain West Player of the Week this season and six starters are batting .333 or better. The top three hitters are batting above .380 and each have at least nine home runs. The big bats led the Lobos to big wins early in the season, defeating the likes of Oregon, Oregon State and Texas A&M. The Lobos will return to Boise April 27-29, during MW play.
Last Time Out
Boise State opened its home schedule March 15-16, with the SpringHill Suites Invitational #1. The Broncos went 3-0 with a pair of dramatic wins to start the week. The final three games were canceled due to inclement weather.
In the home opener against Minnesota, the Broncos used a Devon Bridges home run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. Boise State scratched out one run in the eighth inning for a 2-1 victory.
Aubray Zell pitched all eight innings against the Golden Gophers, allowing one run on four hits while striking out 11. 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.
Each team used the long ball to get on the board in regulation. A third-inning homer for Minnesota broke 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.
A sterling double play in the top of the eighth inning got the Broncos out of the frame without allowing a run. Boise State took advantage of the international tiebreak rule and scored the runner placed on second, but not without controversy. A dribbler up the middle resulted in a play at the plate, but Holly Bourke was awarded home on an obstruction call as the Minnesota catcher blocked the plate before the ball arrived. The victory gave Boise State 100 in program history.
Allie Crump delivered the third walk-off, game-winning home run in school history to lift the Broncos over Portland State for the first time in the series, 6-5. Crump's homer came with two outs in the bottom of the seventh after the Vikings tied the game in the top of the inning.Bridges drove in two runs in the first inning. Lela Work pitched a complete game to earn the win.
Zell returned to the circle against Utah State, throwing another complete game. She scattered five hits, holding the Aggies to one run as the Broncos went on to a 7-1 victory. Crump put together a three-hit game, including her second home run of the day, while driving in three to lead the offense.
Crump was named MW Player of the Week for her offensive outburst and Zell took home the Pitcher of the Week award.
Home Sweet Home
Boise State is riding an 18-game home win streak after three wins during the SpringHill Suites Invitational #1 to open the 2012 home schedule. It is the third-longest active streak in the country. The last time the Broncos lost at home was May 1, 2010, in the first game of a doubleheader against San Jose State.
Zell, Crump Sweep Weekly Awards
Seniors Allie Crump and Aubray Zell were named Mountain West Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for the week of March 12-18. Crump batted 6-for-11 (.545) with two home runs, including a walk-off bomb against Portland State. Zell earned two complete-game victories for Boise State in the SpringHill Suites Invitational. Zell allowed just nine hits in her 15 innings, striking out 18 as she posted a 0.93 ERA in two starts. It is the third MW Pitcher of the Week award for Zell this season. The Player of the Week honor is Crump's first.
USA Softball 'Watching' Bridges
Devon Bridges became the first player in school history to be named to the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List prior to this season. She is the only student-athlete from the Mountain West on the list and one of just eight sophomores, nationally, to make the cut. Bridges is the third player from current MW schools to be named to the watch list in the 11-year history of the award.