WAC Tournament Seeds On The Line As Broncos Travel To Hawaii
WHAT’S ON DECK:  The inaugural season for the Boise State softball team will come to a close this weekend when it heads to Honolulu, Hawaii for a three-game series with Hawai’i. The Rainbow Wahine will be looking for at least two wins to secure the No. 3 seed in the WAC Tournament while the Broncos need a couple wins to clinch the seventh and final seed in the double elimination tournament.

ABOUT HAWAI’I: After a slow start to the season, the Rainbow Wahine have caught fire in the WAC season, currently sitting in third place with a 12-6 WAC record. Stephanie Ricketts has been as consistent as it gets in the circle for the Wahine this season. Ricketts has posted an ERA of 1.96 in 210.2 innings pitched this year and sports a 19-9 record. In WAC play, she owns a record of 11-4 with a 1.94 ERA. Courtney Baughman has eaten up 88.2 innings in the circle with a 3.32 ERA and 6-8 record. Amanda Tauali’i leads the way offensive with a .338 average, 15 home runs and 36 RBI. However, Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu has sprung to life in the box with a .339 average against WAC opponents to lead the offense in conference play. Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu is one of three Wahine players with over five homers in WAC play and leads the team with 12 RBI. As a team, the Wahine are hitting .256 while the pitching staff is holding opponents to a meager .232 average this season.

BRONCOS BROADCAST ON THE WEB: Saturday’s doubleheader will be broadcast by a local Time Warner station in Honolulu but will also be available online for $12.56 at https://secure.oceanic.com/Streaming/ShowEventList.do?eventType=Softball. A free audio broadcast will also be available online at http://espn1420am.com/.

20-WIN SEASON: Coming into an inaugural season, the Broncos and Bronco Nation had no idea what to expect out of the first-year team. With the doubleheader sweep over Idaho State in Pocatello, the Broncos set the bar high for the new program with a 20-win season as the first in the record books. The Broncos have spent much of the year hovering around the .500 mark, which will no doubt raise expectations for success in the upcoming years.

PEAKING AT THE END:  This young Bronco lineup has peaked late in the season with its second straight series of scoring 15+ runs. The Broncos put up 17 runs against New Mexico State, followed by 20 runs against Fresno State in the season’s last homestand at Mountain Cove. The Broncos smashed six home runs en route to its second-highest run total for a WAC series. With the 37 runs scored over the two series, the Broncos have more than doubled their run production over the first four WAC series.

FRESHMAN SPARKS: Ashleigh Viers-Gordillo and Kelly Sweeney were key contributors in keeping all three games tight against Fresno State. Viers-Gordillo went yard in the first inning of Saturday’s early game to give the Broncos a 5-0 lead. She also left the park in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 10-9 with a two-run bomb. Kelly Sweeney came up clutch in both games on Saturday, hitting for the cycle on the day (double and homer in the first game, single and triple in the second game). Her home run regained a temporary 7-6 lead for the Broncos in the first game. Her two-run triple (her second of the season) was the key play in a four-run seventh in the nightcap that brought the Broncos within one run. She came in to score on a sacrifice fly to tie the game in the next at-bat. Both freshmen hit .529 on the week, combining for nine runs and 12 RBI.

COX CONTINUES TO ROCK: Kathy Cox continued to be a major power source for the Broncos with two round-trippers against Fresno State. The junior now leads the team with 11 homers on the season, six in WAC play, as well as 40 RBI on the season. She is also the only Bronco to reach double digits in RBI with 18 in the six series so far, which ranks second among all WAC hitters.

POWER BATTLE: Cox and Christina Capobianco find themselves in a seesaw battle for the title of Bronco home run leader. Cox held a slim lead with nine homers to Capobianco’s eight entering last week. Capobianco tied things up with a monster homer in Pocatello on Tuesday and then regained the lead she has held for most of the season with her first WAC homer against Fresno State on Saturday, a three-run bomb to left. The lead wouldn’t last long as Cox launched two homers of her own in the nightcap on Saturday to take the 11-10 lead.

BRONCOS VS. POSTSEASON TEAMS: The Broncos are now 1-10 against teams that made the postseason in 2008 with a trio of conference sweeps from Louisiana Tech, Nevada and Fresno State. Their only win came against Long Beach State on Feb. 20, which was the Broncos first-ever game against a postseason team. The Broncos also lost to BYU in Provo, Utah. The Broncos have three more chances to grab a second win in this category with three games at Hawai’i this weekend.

WAC TOURNEY WATCH:  Utah State is nipping on the heels of the Broncos for that seventh and final seed in the WAC Tournament. The Broncos hold a narrow half a game lead on the Aggies, who will be at Fresno State to close out the regular season. The Broncos hold the head-to-head tiebreakers with the Aggies, meaning the Aggies need to take two out of three from the WAC powerhouse, Fresno State, to overtake the Broncos. Two Bronco wins in Hawai’i or two Aggie losses (or one Bronco win coupled with an Aggie loss) would clinch the final spot in the tournament for the Broncos.

WAC TOURNAMENT TICKETS: Tickets for the 2009 Western Athletic Conference Tournament hosted at Bulldog Diamond, May 6-9 are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets for the tournament by logging on to www.gobulldogs.com, calling (559) 278-DOGS or by walking up to the ticket office on Bulldog Lane on the campus of Fresno State. All-Tournament tickets in the lower box are $40, upper reserved tickets are $35 and general admission are $20. Tickets for students, youth and senior's are $10 each. Single day tickets will go on sale to the general public online only, beginning May 2. They will be available by phone and via walk up beginning May 4.

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