Late Home Runs Lift Broncos to Series Sweep
BOISE, Idaho-Devon Bridges and Allie Crump hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning to propel Boise State to a series sweep against UNLV, Sunday, at Mountain Cove Softball Field. The Broncos won 5-4 as Bridges drilled a three-run shot before Crump's solo blast gave Boise State the lead.
The Broncos (29-13, 3-0 Mountain West) have started each of their four seasons with a three-game sweep in the conference opener. The come-from-behind win Sunday, extends the nation's second-longest home winning streak to 26 games.
Lela Work pitched five shutout innings of relief, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out four. Work earned the win in her first appearance since March 22, improving to 4-2 on the season.
Aubray Zell started in the circle for Boise State, allowing four runs in two-plus innings of work. Zell surrendered five hits, including back-to-back home runs to start the third inning that chased her from the game.
UNLV (19-21, 0-3) jumped out to an early lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first. The third-inning homers from Tayler Aleman and Tayler Van Acker extended UNLV's lead to 4-0. The Broncos used a double from Tara Glover and a single by Christina Capobianco to score their first run in the bottom of the third.
Amanda Oliveto took the ball in the circle for the Rebels and cruised through the first two innings. She worked around a walk in the fourth and was in complete control until the heart of the top of the Bronco order came to the plate for their third time through the order.
It was Glover starting the rally in the fifth as well, getting hit by a pitch. She was retired on a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning, but Capobianco drew a four-pitch walk to bring Bridges to the plate as the tying run. The sophomore slugger hit a towering fly ball to center for her ninth round-tripper of the season and 25th of her career.
Crump battled through a nine-pitch at-bat and on the third full-count offering from Oliveto turned on an inside pitch, crushing it over the left-field fence. It was Crump's seventh home run of the season and the second time she and Bridges have gone deep in consecutive at bats this year. All five of Boise State's runs came with two outs as the Broncos grinded out the win.
Jessica O'Connor came out of the bullpen and finished the game for UNLV without allowing a hit.
The Rebels threatened in the sixth when their first two batters reached base, but Work was able to wiggle out of a jam yet again and preserve the lead. UNLV outhit Boise State 9-6, but stranded nine runners on base.
Glover finished the game 2-for-3, as she went 7-for-10 in the series with two home runs and multiple hits in each game. Tazz Weatherly also stayed hot at the dish throughout the three-game set, going 1-for-1 Sunday, with two walks. Weatherly reached base in all seven plate appearances against the Rebels and recorded five hits. She also stole four bases in the series.
San Diego State completed a series sweep of Colorado State to keep pace with the Broncos. New Mexico was idle this week.
Boise State makes its first conference road trip April 20-22, to Colorado State. The Friday and Saturday contests are slated for 3 p.m. (MT), and the series wraps up Sunday, at 1 p.m., from Fort Collins, Colo.
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