POCATELLO, Idaho - The pitchers stole the spotlight on Tuesday as the Boise State softball team edged out two victories over in-state rival Idaho State, 4-3 and 6-4. The Broncos' (17-25, 4-5) pitchers combined to strikeout 18 Bengals (8-25, 2-2 PCSC) in the doubleheader sweep. Lela Work earned her first collegiate victory and struck out a career-high eight batters in the night cap while Allie Crump matched a season-high with nine strikeouts in the early game.
The Broncos jumped on top early in the early game with runs in each of the first three innings. The Broncos quickly manufactured a run as Kellie Caplan led off the game with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice and scored on a single by Kathy Cox. Caplan's stolen base was the first of three in the game, which sets the Bronco record.
Caplan continued to produce in the second inning by knocking in Christina Capobianco to put the Broncos up 2-0. Cox continued the scoring by scoring on an error in the third inning. Crump pushed the lead to 4-0 with a RBI-single that plated Yurek from third.
That would be all Crump needed as she stifled the Bengals offense with the complete game victory. She allowed just one earned run in the first inning and a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth. She struck out nine batters, including three consecutive batters in the third and fourth innings. During that stretch, Crump also retired eight batters in-a-row. She earned her team-leading and career-high tenth win of the season and is now just three strikeouts shy of 200 for her career.
Crump's ninth strikeout couldn't have come at a better time as the Bengals mounted a seventh inning comeback and had the winning run on second. With two outs in the seventh and down 4-3, the Bengals hit back-to-back singles to pose the threat. Both runners moved up on a passed ball to put the tying run on third and the winning run on second. However, Crump proved up to the challenge as she fanned her ninth batter of the game to seal the victory.
The Broncos won in opposite fashion in the nightcap as they had to overcome a 4-2 deficit late in the game to steal the sweep with a 6-4 win. The Broncos again made a quick mark on the scoreboard with two runs in the first thanks to a two-run single from Vanessa Alvarez. However, the Bengals made a quick strike in the second with four unearned runs off Bronco starter Aubray Zell. Taylor Machione smashed a bases-loaded triple to push across three of the four runs.
The four-run inning prompted a move to the bullpen and freshman Lela Work. Work had a career day in the circle as she shut down the Bengals for 5.1 innings. Work fanned a career-high eight batters and earned her first victory as a Bronco. She only allowed three hits in the relief effort and retired nine consecutive Bengals between the third and sixth innings.
Work received some help from the Bronco offense as they mounted a late comeback for the win. Tazz Weatherly tied up the game at 4-4 in the top of the fourth as she stroked a two-RBI single up the middle. In the sixth, the Broncos retook the lead as Crump plated Cox on a fielder's choice for her second RBI of the day. Laeha Hill padded the lead in the seventh as her pinch hit single to center brought in Weatherly for a 6-4 lead.
The Bengals still fought back in the seventh as they again put the winning run on base when Megan Miller was intentionally walked to load the bases. However, Work was equal to the task as she matched Crump by fanning the next batter to seal the victory.
The Broncos offense scratched out the extra runs despite leaving 13 runners on base in the nightcap and combined to leave 23 runners on in the doubleheader. The Broncos left the bases loaded twice in the second game and three times in the doubleheader.
The Broncos will look to continue their winning streak when Utah State visits Mountain Cove this weekend for a three-game WAC series. The Broncos and Aggies faceoff in a single game at 3 p.m. on Friday and in a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.