Broncos Fall in Heartbreaker, 6-4 at No. 17/16 Oregon
EUGENE, Ore.-Boise State suffered a gut-wrenching, 6-4 loss in extra innings against No. 17/16 Oregon Thursday, in the final game of a five-game road trip to the state of Oregon. The Broncos (25-13) had leads in each the sixth and seventh innings, but could not close the game as a walk-off home run ended it in the eighth.
Aubray Zell went the distance in the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk. Zell struck out eight. The Broncos outhit Oregon 8-7, but four errors proved too costly to overcome.
The Bronco offense came alive in the sixth inning with back-to-back singles from Katie Engelbrecht and Tara Glover to start the frame. Those hits chased Oregon starter Karissa Hovinga and staff ace Jessica Moore came out of the bullpen. Through five innings, Boise State had just one hit on an infield single that tipped Hovinga's glove, but the Ducks did not want to take any chances in trying to hang onto a 1-0 lead.
A walk loaded the bases before a fielder's choice cut down the run at home. Still, the bags were full and Allie Crump battled through an at bat to slash a single between first and second. Glover scored the tying run but Kellie Caplan was thrown out at home trying to take the lead. The Broncos would go on top one batter later when Mackenzie Whyte reached on an error and Devon Bridges scored.
Oregon came back in the bottom of the inning and reclaimed the lead on a two-out, two-run home run from Alexa Peterson.
Boise State did not lie down. Holly Bourke scorched a leadoff double to right center and Tazz Weatherly followed with a pinch-hit single over second base to put runners at the corners. A wild pitch meant two were in scoring position for Glover. She hit a bounding ball up the middle and both runners raced around to take the lead back. Glover eventually made it to third, but the Broncos could not add an insurance run.
The first two batters of the home half of the inning reached via error and Oregon was threatening again. Zell fielded a ground ball and went to third to get the lead runner. The throw was high, but Weatherly pulled it down and applied a tag for the first out.
After a wild pitch moved each runner up 60 feet, Zell picked up a big strikeout against Kelsey Chambers, who homered twice Wednesday, for the second out. Kailee Cuico stepped in as the Ducks' last chance. Cuico tapped one just in front of the plate where Engelbrecht fielded the ball and looked to tag out the runner coming home from third. The runner leaped toward the third-base dugout to avoid the tag and was ruled to have stayed in the base path as she circled around to the plate for the tying run.
The Broncos loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning on two walks and an error, but could not bring in the go-ahead run.
The Ducks got a one-out double and Lindsey Chambers followed with a blast over the left-field fence to end the game.
Oregon scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning on a looping single over shortstop to push across a run from third.
The Broncos are next in action April 4 at Idaho State. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. (MT) at the newly-constructed Miller Ranch Stadium in Pocatello, Idaho.
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