Boise State softball looks to strengthen its grip on a top-three position in the Western Athletic Confernce when it travels to Honolulu for three games at defending champion Hawai'i.
The Broncos (26-15, 9-3) are alone in third place in the WAC standings. Boise State is coming off its first WAC series loss in more than a year. It came at the hands of Utah State, a team the Broncos were previously unbeaten against. Boise State will look to flip the script on Hawai'i, a team it is yet to defeat.
The Rainbow Wahine (30-13, 8-4) are a game back of the Broncos in the conference standings. Hawai'i returns home after a 2-1 series win at Louisiana Tech. The islands have been good to the Wahine, who hold a 21-5 record at home this year.
The three-game set begins with a single game Friday, followed by a Saturday doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 10 p.m. (MT) Friday, and 8 p.m. (MT) Saturday.
Live stats will be available for each game. For more information, check the schedule page at BroncoSports.com.
About the Broncos
Boise State softball is in its third season. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos return 15 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2010 squad that finished third in the Western Athletic Conference.
After a 2-8 start, Boise State posted a school-record 12-game winning streak behind dominant pitching. The Bronco pitching staff combined for a staggering 0.65 ERA in the last 10 games of the streak, a span that included a 41-inning scoreless streak.
The win streak helped the Broncos win 15 games in March, a single-month school record. Boise State kept the momentum into the first weekend of April, winning a conference series at San Jose State 2-1, and taking a single game at Saint Mary's. After a sweep of Louisiana Tech, the Broncos and a stint of being tied for first place in the conference standings, Boise State lost its first conference series in more than a year at Utah State.
Juniors Allie Crump and Aubray Zell lead the team in the circle. Crump sports an 11-6 record with a 3.96 ERA. Zell has used a school-record four shutouts to achieve a 10-2 record with a 1.65 ERA. Zell has allowed the fewest home runs in the WAC, and ranks sixth nationally in walks allowed per seven innings.
Sophomore Lela Work has appeared in a team-high 22 games, coming on in relief 19 times. Work has converted six saves to tie for fifth nationally.
Devon Bridges is enjoying a breakout freshman campaign, pacing the Bronco offense. Bridges is batting .406 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI, leading the team in each category. She has reached base safely in 31-consecutive games. Bridges has three grand slams this season, tying an NCAA record. She has picked up the pace in WAC play, posting a slash line of .452/.605/1.161 with seven home runs and 23 RBI.
Three other Broncos have joined Bridges batting over .350 through the first 12 WAC games. Holly Bourke has tallied 15 hits. Crump is batting .355 with just one strikeout in conference play. Mackenzie Whyte has really turned it on in league games. Half of Whyte's hits this year are against WAC opponents, as are 16 of her 25 RBI, all four of her doubles, two of her three homers and 11 of her 25 runs.
The Rainbow Wahine rode their hot bats all the way to the College World Series in 2010, setting NCAA home run records along the way. The power has fallen off this season, but Hawai'i has stepped up its pitching to remain a top team.
The two-headed pitching staff of Stephanie Ricketts and Kaia Parnaby has combined to work all but 5.2 innings on the year. Ricketts and Parnaby have thrown 38 complete games and 12 shutouts, and rank 1-2 in the WAC in ERA. Parnaby's 0.99 is ninth, nationally. Ricketts leads the WAC in strikeouts.
The bats did not completely disappear. 2010 WAC Player of the Year Jessica Iwata leads the offense.
Hawai'i leads 7-0. The Rainbow Wahine have averaged more than 10 runs per game in the series.
Devon Bridges is among the most accomplished freshmen across the country. Bridges ranks in the top 10 in her class, nationally, in six categories: on-base percentage (fifth); slugging percentage (seventh); RBI per game (seventh); home runs (seventh); batting average (10th); and home runs per game (10th).
Middle Inning Magic
Boise State scored 12 runs in the fourth inning March 25, against Nevada. According to the NCAA Record Book, only 25 teams had scored at least a dozen runs in an inning entering the 2011 season...Boise State has outscored its opponents 58-13 in the fourth this year.
Hundred Hit Club
Junior Kellie Caplan became the second Bronco to record 100 career hits March 19, against Arizona State...Junior Christina Capobianco joined her in the century club March 26, against Nevada. Capobianco earned her milestone with a pinch-hit, two-run double. Sophomore Holly Bourke cracked the 100-hit mark April 15, at Utah State. She joins former Bronco Kathy Cox as the only players to reach 100 hits in their first two seasons, and Bourke is the first sophomore to do so.