Boise State softball opens its Western Athletic Conference slate at home against Nevada. The three-game series starts Friday with a single game, and wraps up with a doubleheader Saturday, at Mountain Cove Softball Field.
The Broncos (15-10) look to carry the success of the last four weeks of the non-conference tournament schedule into the WAC season, starting against the Wolf Pack (9-17).
Boise State is 13-2 in its last 15 games, with both losses coming against top-five opponents at the Judi Garman Classic.
Nevada enters on a three-game winning streak, but saw its last four scheduled games canceled due to weather. This series will be the Wolf Pack's first road games since a March 8 doubleheader at UC Davis.
The Broncos won the last two games of the 2010 series, outscoring Nevada 19-1.
Live stats, audio and video will be available for each game this weekend. To tune in, 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 posted a school-record 12-game winning streak behind dominant pitching. The Bronco pitching staff combined for a staggering 0.65 ERA in the last 10 games of the streak, a span that included a 41-inning scoreless streak.
The streak came to an end at the Judi Garman Classic, but the strong play continued as the Broncos went 1-2 at the prestigious tournament, losing to a pair of top-five teams. A 9-3 loss to No. 5 Arizona State marked Boise State's first loss in more than three weeks, but was followed immediately with a 1-0 victory against Penn State. The next day against No. 4 Washington, the Broncos lost 4-1, but battled the whole way, including bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the seventh.
Juniors Allie Crump and Aubray Zell lead the team in the circle. Crump sports a 9-4 record with a 4.08 ERA. Three of Crump's losses and nearly half of her earned runs have come at the hands of top-25 opponents. Zell is still the hot hand for the Broncos, with a 5-1 record and a 1.51 ERA. Zell has not lost since Feb. 12, and earned the win in each of her last five starts. She has also not allowed a run in 30-straight innings.
Junior Kellie Caplan leads the way at the plate for Boise State. Caplan's team-best batting average sits at .407. She has collected a base hit in 20 of the Broncos' 25 games, and is currently riding a six-game hitting streak. Caplan already has 10 multi-hit games this season, including five games with three hits.
Devon Bridges is enjoying a breakout freshman campaign for the Bronco offense. Bridges is batting .385 with four home runs and 20 RBI. She has reached base safely in 15-consecutive games.
About the Wolf Pack
Nevada enters conference play on a three-game win streak. The Wolf Pack started slowly with a 3-12 record in February, but earned a win against then-No. 18 Nebraska toward the end of the month.
Mallary Darby leads the Wolf Pack in the circle, already throwing 109 innings. Darby has racked up 12 complete games in her 19 starts to post a 9-10 record and a 4.17 ERA. She has been the Nevada workhorse during March, starting 10 of the team's 11 games in the month and pitching all but two-thirds of an inning for the Wolf Pack in the last eight games.
Nevada is paced at the plate by four players batting over .300. Karley Hopkins leads the team with a .383 average and 21 runs scored. The lineup packs a little punch with 21 home runs, including a team-high five from Danielle Patrick. Nevada also falls victim to the power stroke, striking out once every 4.2 at bats.
Nevada leads 4-2. The Wolf Pack swept the first series between the two schools when it came to Boise with a No. 23 ranking in 2009. The Broncos won the last two games to take the 2010 series.
Sophomore Lela Work is tied for the national lead for saves with five. Work has come in in relief in 10 games this season, finishing a WAC-high nine. She entered the season as one of four Broncos to record a save in program history, and now holds the all-time record with six. She is also in the top-10 for career saves in WAC history. Her five saves this season are tied with Michigan All-American Jordan Taylor...The NCAA single-season record is 15 (Mallor Aldred, Canisius 2008).
Setting the Table
As a team, Boise State is reaching base 44.4 percent of the time leading off an inning. Devon Bridges leads the way with a 61.5 percent success rate (8-of-13). Kellie Caplan has had the most opportunities and has taken full advantage. Caplan has reached base 17 of the 31 times she has come to the plate first. Three of Allie Crump's home runs have come leading off an inning.
Hitting Their Stride
Boise State hit .415 as a team at the SpringHill Suites Invitational and has continued to make noise with the sticks. The Broncos are batting .304 as a team, good for second in the WAC and 39th nationally. The Broncos now boast four of the top-10 individual batting averages in the conference, led by Kellie Caplan (third, .407), Devon Bridges (fourth, .385), Allie Crump (sixth, .382) and Holly Bourke (ninth, .350).
Boise State Streaking
The Broncos enjoyed a school-record 12-game winning streak from Feb. 27 through March 13. Boise State scored 92 runs during the streak, which came on the heels of suffering back-to-back shutouts. Bronco pitchers 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 seven 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 .246 on the year, but that number swells to .333 with runners on base and .458 with runners in scoring position. She leads the team in batting with runners in scoring position...Of Alvarez' 16 RBI this season, 13 have come with two outs.
Broncos Trot Home
Boise State opened its 2011 home schedule by smacking 15 home runs in five games during the Boise State SpringHill Suites Invitational. It is the most in any five game stretch in school history...The Broncos hit a team-record six round trippers March 5, against Seattle...Nine different players hit home runs on the weekend, led by Devon Bridges' four...Entering the home tournament, Boise State had hit four home runs through the first 12 games of the season...Entering 2011, there had only been 36 six-home-run games in NCAA history accoring to the NCAA record book...Just the eighth time a team hit three in one inning (fourth).