Strong Pitching, Timely Hitting Key Doubleheader Sweep

PORTLAND, Ore.-Boise State softball used two impressive pitching performances and timely hitting Tuesday, to sweep a doubleheader from Portland State on the road. The Broncos (25-10) won the first game 4-0 behind a shutout from Aubray Zell. The second game was a come-from-behind, 3-2 win in extra innings.

Zell earned a win and a save on the day, shutting down the Vikings in the first game and coming on in the eighth inning to preserve the win in the nightcap. Allie Crump went seven in game two for the win.

Boise State 4 Portland State 0
Zell delivered a three-hit shutout in the first game, striking out eight along the way without issuing a walk. She also fielded her position well, assisting on four outs.

Boise State struck first with two runs before recording an out. Glover drew a leadoff walk before Kellie Caplan was hit by a pitch. Glover and Caplan completed a double steal to put give Christina Capobianco two runners in scoring position. Capobianco took advantage with a single up the middle to plate both runs.

The second inning started with another hit batsman. Two outs later an error prolonged the inning and Glover made the Vikings pay with an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0.

Glover's second hit came in the sixth as she drove in Tazz Weatherly for the second time in the game and provided an insurance run.

It was more than enough for Zell who sat down the last nine batters she faced. She worked around leadoff singles in the third and the fifth. The runner in the third reached third base with two outs, but that's the closest Portland State would get.

Boise State 3 Portland State 2 (8 innings)
Devon Bridges stepped up on both sides of the ball in the late game, hitting a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning and gunning down a runner at the plate to end the game.

Crump started the game and pitched the first seven innings. Crump gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and one hit batter. She fanned four without walking anybody and was not hit hard the entire game.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth Bridges stepped to the plate with the tying run 60 feet away in Glover. Bridges found herself in a full count and Viking starter Anna Bertrand came after her on the inside half of the plate. The sophomore slugger squared it up and blasted the pitch over the temporary fence in left center, banging her seventh home run off the 250-foot slow-pitch fence.

Portland State responded in the bottom of the inning by putting the first two batters on. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position before Crump buckled down and retired the No. 4 and No. 5 hitters to hold the lead.

A one-out single gave Portland State life again in the seventh. A throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed pinch runner Danai Martin to move all the way to third. The batter grounded back to Crump in the circle and a look to third sent the runner back a couple of steps. When she threw to first, Martin took off for home. Capobianco stepped on the bag to record the out and fired home. Katie Engelbrecht fielded the throw and went for a swipe tag. The throw beat Martin, but the home plate umpire called safe. Boise State Head Coach Erin Thorpe came out of the dugout to argue, but the ruling stood and the Vikings tied the game. Crump finished the inning and the teams headed to extra innings and the international tiebreaker where a runner is placed at second base to start the inning.

After a sacrifice moved the tiebreak runner to third, Glover put the Broncos on top and extended her hitting streak to 11 games when she dumped a single into left field. That's all the Broncos would get, but it was a lead.

Zell emerged from the Bronco bullpen for the home half of the eighth inning. The runner placed on second was advanced to third with a sacrifice bunt. The next batter lifted a line drive to right field. Bridges got behind the ball, came in to make the catch and fired home. The runner broke for home and Bridges' throw hit Engelbrecht who was blocking the plate. The umpire ruled she whiffed with the first tag attempt, but the runner missed the plate and Engelbrecht was able to apply the tag to end the game on a double play.

Portland State took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, playing a little small ball. An infield hit was followed by two sacrifice bunts. With two outs another infield single drove in the game's first run.

The Broncos did not pick up a hit until the fifth inning when Tazz Weatherly jumped on the first pitch and ripped a double to right center. Mackenzie Whyte followed with single to left, putting runners on the corners with one away. Two ground outs to the pitchers failed to bring in the tying run.

Portland State's Bertrand pitched the full eight innings, allowing four hits and one walk. It was the base on balls to Glover in the sixth that came back to haunt Bertrand as Bridges drove her in with the home run.

Boise State continues its road trip Wednesday and Thursday at No. 17/16 Oregon. The first day is slated for a doubleheader, beginning at 3 p.m. (PT) at Howe Field in Eugene, Ore. The teams will meet again at noon (PT) Thursday, for a single game.

Boise State is now 16-1 when holding opponents to two runs or fewer this season...the second game marked the second time this season Boise State used a double play to end the eighth inning without allowing a run...Boise State has three wins against Portland State this season, evening the all-time series at 3-3.

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