BOISE, Idaho-Boise State scored four unanswered runs to knock off No. 25/24 Fresno State 4-3, in the opener of a Western Athletic Conference series Friday, at Mountain Cove Softball Field. Aubray Zell pitched a complete game, holding the Bulldogs without a run for the final five frames.
Fresno State (29-12, 13-3) jumped on top early with a run in the first inning and two more in the second. The first run came on a sacrifice fly, while two hits with two-outs pushed the visitor's lead to 3-0. The second-inning rally was stymied when Megan Harvey cut down Haley Gilleland-the all-time leader in stolen bases at Fresno State-trying to steal second. Boise State (30-15, 13-3) seized the momentum and never looked back.
A pair of solo home runs from Devon Bridges and Allie Crump bookended two unearned runs for the Broncos as they completed the comeback. Bridges launched her 13th home run of the season to left center for the Broncos' first hit off of Michelle Moses and cut the Fresno State lead to 3-1.
Boise State tied the game in the third when Kellie Caplan and Holly Bourke hit back-to-back two-out singles. The Bulldogs misplayed Bourke's base hit when Caplan took off for third and the throw skipped away. She came into score while Bourke moved up to third. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, tried to cut Caplan down at home and the throw was wild for the second error on the play. Nobody was left to cover the plate in the Bulldogs' scattered defense and Bourke snuck across for the tying run.
Crump then became the fourth Boise State player to hit double-digit home runs in a season with a line drive shot to straightaway center, untying the game.
From there, Zell worked into and out of trouble to preserve the lead. Fresno State advanced a runner to scoring position every inning, but Zell kept the Bulldogs off balance by painting the corners and mixing speeds to the tune of nine strikeouts. Eight of her punchouts came in innings three through six when Zell thwarted any and all Bulldog threats.
The Bulldogs took advantage of two uncharacteristic walks from Zell early on. The Bronco junior issued just two walks through her first nine appearances in conference play. She walked one in each of the first two innings Friday, and both came around to score.
Zell settled in for the rest of the game, scattering five hits and hitting a batter in the final five innings. Fresno State advanced the tying run to second base in the top of the seventh, but could not break through.
It is the Broncos' first win against a top-25 opponent, and moves them into a tie for second place with the Bulldogs in the WAC standings. The teams will meet again for a doubleheader Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
Boise State set a school record with its 30th win of the season...The Broncos tied their conference win mark, matching the 13 wins from 2010...Boise State is 12-0 at home and on a 13-game home win streak...Devon Bridges has homered in eight of the last nine home games, and nine of the 12 this season...Bridges extended her on-base streak to 35 games...Kellie Caplan extended her hit streak to seven games...Tazz Weatherly extended her hit streak to six games.