Broncos Home Finale Spoiled By Pair Of Heartbreakers
BOISE, Idaho In a pair of heartbreaking losses, the Boise State softball team dropped both games of a Saturday doubleheader at Mountain Cove to Fresno State. The early game featured a seesaw battle the ended in a 10-9 favor of the Bulldogs (31-18, 13-5). The Broncos (21-24, 4-13) pushed the nightcap into extra innings but fell 11-8 in eight innings. The Broncos have now lost 10 straight WAC games.
In the early game, the Broncos put the winning run on base before their comeback attempt was spoiled. Ashleigh Viers-Gordillo made things a lot more interesting in the bottom of seventh with her second homer of the day that cut the lead to 10-9 with two outs. Kelly Sweeney smashed a double to put the tying run in scoring position, followed by a Laurel Wyatt walk. However, Morgan Melloh was able to close the book on the Bronco rally and clinch the Bulldogs’ victory.
The Broncos came out of the gates on fire against their WAC-rivals with a five run first inning. Christina Capobianco and Viers-Gordillo smashed back-to-back homers in the inning to give the Broncos the early 5-0 advantage. Capobianco put one into the Bronco bullpen in left field while Viers-Gordillo littered the Bulldog bullpen in right center.
The Bulldogs responded over the next four frames to steal away the lead. A solo shot in the second got the Bulldogs on the board. In the third, the Bulldogs scored two more on a triple to cut the lead to 5-3. Brooke Phipps, who was 3-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored, sent her second homer of the series out of Mountain Cove to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the day at 6-5. Five hits in the fifth led to four more Bulldog runs, regaining the lead 10-7.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Broncos finally got to reliever Mackenzie Oakes with a two-run shot from Sweeney that put the Broncos back on top 7-6. But the Bulldogs responded with their four-spot in the top of the fifth.
Mandy Klein was able to hold the Broncos in the game through the last three frames out of the bullpen. She scattered four hits and allowed one run while striking out three and walking none.
The nightcap brought an extra innings affair that was highlighted by a huge Bronco comeback. The Broncos plated four runs in the bottom of the seventh to knot the game at 8-8 and force extra innings. The tying run was mere feet away from ending the game as Kellie Kaplan stroked a long fly ball to left center that was caught just in front of the wall. The fly was deep enough to bring in Sweeney from third and tie the game.
Sweeney, who hit for the cycle between both games of the doubleheader, sent a triple down the right field line that scored two runs, cutting the lead to 8-7. Sweeney was 3-for-4 in the game with a pair of singles as well as the triple, her second of the season.
Fresno State responded with three runs in the top of the eighth , sparked by a home run off the bat of Ryane Petersen. The Bulldogs plated two more after a Bronco error to take a commanding 11-8. The three runs proved to be enough as the Broncos magic ran out in the bottom half of the inning.
The comeback began in the bottom of the third when the Broncos found themselves in a 7-1 hole. Cox sent her second home run of the day well over the center field fence to cut the lead to 7-2. Laeha Hill knocked in another run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead down to 7-3. The Bulldogs hung up a run in the top of the sixth, but Maghan Yurek responded with and RBI-shot up the middle to cut the lead to 8-4.
Oakes tossed a scoreless 1.2 innings out of the bullpen to pick up her second win of the day and end the Broncos comeback hopes. Klein picked up the loss despite allowing only two earned runs through 5.1 innings of work.
The Broncos head to Hawai’i next weekend for their final series of the regular season, and still hold on to a narrow lead over Utah State for the final seed in the WAC Tournament. The Broncos and Rainbow Wahine will meet on Friday at 10 p.m. (MT) and then again in a doubleheader at 6 p.m. (MT) on Saturday.
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