Broncos Resume In-State Rivalry Tuesday, Host Last Series This Weekend
WHAT’S ON DECK:  The Boise State softball team will make their first trip to Pocatello on Tuesday to face a familiar opponent in Idaho State. The Broncos will then play host to Fresno State on Friday and Saturday for a three-game WAC series. It will be the last homestand of the year as the Broncos head to Hawaii May 2-3 and hope to make their first WAC Tournament appearance a few days later.

ABOUT IDAHO STATE: The Broncos will have their hands full with a hot Bengal team that has won seven of its last eight games, including a three-game sweep over Northern Colorado in Pocatello last weekend. The Bengals have boosted their record to 18-19 with a .280 team batting average. Caitlin McGrath leads the team in that category with a .392 average, followed Megan Miller (.369) and Emily Hu (.333). Jessica Baca is the power threat for Bengals with 10 homers and 34 RBI on the year. The Bengals aren’t a team that relies on the power bat as all but two Bengals starters have at least one stolen base. Kandis Clesson is 14-11 in the circle this year and owns the only Bengal win over the Broncos. She has been the workhorse this year for the pitching staff with 187 innings pitched, a team-leading 3.59 ERA and 126 strikeouts. Christin Martin has spent 50.2 innings in the circle with a 5.11 ERA as the only other pitcher on the staff.

SERIES HISTORY: The Broncos and Bengals will be seeing each other for the fourth and fifth times in the doubleheader on Tuesday with the Broncos holding a 2-1 advantage. The Broncos took the first two games in part of their seven game win streak to open Mountain Cove. The Broncos took the first game 7-4 with a two home run, four RBI-performance from Christina Capobianco. A week later, the in-state rivals faced off in a doubleheader at Mountain Cove. Kathy Cox and Laurel Wyatt went deep in the first game to propel the Broncos to a 4-3 victory. Kandis Clesson silenced the Bronco bats in game two, allowing only three hits and one run to earn the 6-1 victory for the Bengals.

ABOUT FRESNO STATE:  The Bulldogs will be on a mission when they come into Boise as they are only half a game behind Nevada for the top spot in the WAC. With only six games left in the regular season, every one will be important in claiming the regular season crown. The Dogs are led by All-American Morgan Melloh in the circle with a 22-14 record and team-low 1.39 ERA. Melloh has continued her dominance from her freshman campaign with 13 shutouts and 364 Ks on the year. Mackenzie Oakes has picked up 69.2 innings of work and sports an impressive 2.01 ERA and .226 batting average against. Only Haley Perkins is hitting above .300 with a .314 average. The Bulldogs also have only 20 homers on the year, but have 25 stolen bases in 28 attempts. Caitlin Stiglich leads the team with 29 RBI and Michelle Moses supplies the majority of the power with a team-high seven homers.

OFFENSIVE REVIVAL: The Bronco bats began to show life again this weekend, despite taking three losses. The Broncos put up 17 runs in Las Cruces, which is the highest series total since they put up 21 runs in a series sweep over Utah State. Over the past three series prior to New Mexico State (Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, Nevada), the Broncos were held nine runs combined as they hit an offensive slump. The power also seemed to return this weekend with five home runs hit in the series. Kathy Cox had two while Allie Crump, Kellie Caplan and Kelly Sweeney all hit their first career round-trippers.

COX IS AT IT AGAIN: Kathy Cox has become the power source for the Broncos as she broke a three-game slump with a stellar week. In the nightcap against College of Idaho on Tuesday, Cox launched a three-run homer and set new team records with four runs scored and five RBI. Cox continued to swing a hot bat with a home run in her first at-bat of each game in the doubleheader at New Mexico State on Friday. Cox also smashed a two RBI double in Saturday’s game, giving her four straight games with an RBI and an extra base hit. On the week, Cox hit .333 while slugging .810, hitting three bombs and collecting 11 RBI.

DOUBLE DIGITS ARE MAGIC: The Broncos 12-2 win over College of Idaho marked the sixth time that the young Broncos lineup has hit double digits in runs scored. The Broncos have gone on to win all six of those games. The highest run total was 14 at Utah Valley. The Broncos have score 13 and 12 twice while scoring 11 once. The closest of these games was a 13-12 win over Wisconsin, which was the Broncos fourth game and second win.

WAC TOURNEY WATCH:  Utah State put a little bit of pressure on the Broncos with a win over Louisiana Tech this past weekend. The Broncos remain in seventh place by a narrow margin as the Aggies hold a 2-10 WAC record while the Broncos sit at 4-10. The Broncos did win the head-to-head matchup 3-0. Utah State hosts New Mexico State on Monday and Tuesday in a makeup series before traveling to Reno to face the WAC-leading Wolf Pack this weekend.

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