BOISE, Idaho-In just its third year as a program Boise State softball accomplished what no other Western Athletic Conference team has done since Fresno State joined the conference in 1993-sweep a season series from the Bulldogs.
The Broncos (32-15, 15-3) used the long ball to pick up a pair of wins Saturday, winning the first game of the doubleheader 3-2, and adding a 12-9 victory in the nightcap in front of a record crowd of 786 at Mountain Cove Softball Field. Boise State homered twice in each game, and the game-winning run was scored on a home run in every game during the series. The Broncos won all three games in come-from-behind fashion to take a two-game lead on Fresno State (29-14, 13-5) in the WAC standings.
Christina Capobianco was 4-for-6 on the day, including a homer in the first game and her first three-hit performance of the year in the finale.
Allie Crump earned her first win against No. 25/24 Fresno State, going the distance and allowing just five hits. The Broncos backed her with runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings, including a pair of home runs.
Capobianco tied the game at one with the first hit of the game for Boise State, an opposite-field bomb leading off the third inning. Kelly Sweeney had the other homer for the Broncos leading off the fifth inning. Sweeney's round tripper broke a 2-2 tie and wound up the final run of the game.
Crump scattered five hits and did not walk a batter for the second time this season (March 12 against UC Davis). She also struck out seven, her highest total since setting a school record with 14 against Albany, March 13, also the last time she pitched a complete game.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead on a home run from Nicole Angene in the second inning. After Capobianco evened the score, Fresno State responded with another run in the fourth. Again it was Angege, this time with an RBI single to left.
Boise State answered right away in the bottom of the fourth. Mackenzie Whyte led off with a double down the left field line, just over the third base bag. After an argument from Fresno State head coach Margie Wright about the ball being foul brought about no changes, Crump dumped a single into shallow right field on the first pitch. Whyte came around to score from second thanks to a head-first slide into home avoiding the tag.
Sweeney put the Broncos in the lead for good in the fifth. Her third home run of the season was just out of the reach of two Bulldog outfielders in right center, and cleared the wall by about two feet.
Fresno State threatened to the very end. With one out in the seventh Diane Runge reached on an error in the outfield and raced all the way around to third base. Crump stranded her there to move to 13-6 on the season.
Mackenzie Oakes took the loss for Fresno State, snapping an 11-game win streak for Oakes.
The Broncos held on to win 12-9 in a wild game to complete the sweep and finish 14-0 at home. Boise State broke out for eight runs in the fifth inning to take a seven-run lead and withstood a Bulldog rally down the stretch.
For the second time in as many days, Boise State found itself in a 3-0 hole in the second inning. Fresno State hit a two-run home run in the first and turned three singles into another run in the second.
The Broncos broke through offensively when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the second with two outs. Kellie Caplan drew a walk to force in a run and cut the deficit to two. On the next play, Holly Bourke grounded a ball to first, where it was booted, allowing a run to come in. Meanwhile, Caplan was caught between second and third. The throw went behind her to the shortstop covering second. Tazz Weatherly alertly broke for home. Instead of trying to run down Caplan and get out of the inning, Fresno State threw home and Weatherly beat the throw, giving the Broncos two runs on a ball that never left the infield.
The 3-3 tie lasted through the third inning, but Fresno State added two unearned runs in the fourth to reclaim the lead at 5-3. Megan Harvey answered with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning to bring the Broncos within one.
Starting pitcher Aubray Zell worked around an error in the fifth to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard and set up the Broncos' comeback.
Lela Work started the big inning with her first-career home run. Work unloaded a two-run shot to deep left field to put the Broncos ahead 6-5. It was Boise State's first lead of the game, and it did not look back.
The next 10 batters reach base for the Broncos on five walks and five singles. The second out of the inning was recorded at the plate, but it did not stop the home team from pushing eight runs across in the inning. The Broncos brought 14 batters to the plate, saw three pitchers in the inning and left the bases loaded.
It looked like the three runners left on base may come back to haunt Boise State when the Bulldogs started to come back. One more run in the fifth would have ended the game on the run rule.
Instead, Fresno State scored two runs in the sixth on a two-run homer. After Boise State went down in order in the home half of the inning, the Bulldogs put the pressure on again. With two outs and two on, the Broncos committed their fifth and sixth errors of the game, allowing two runs to score and bringing the tying run to the plate. Zell fielded a comebacker and threw to Crump at first base to end the game and secure the historic sweep.
Zell earned the win in the circle with another complete game. She is 13-2 on the year, including 9-1 in WAC play. Zell allowed 12 hits and nine runs, Saturday-both season highs-but just four runs were earned. The junior walked none and struck out three.
Oakes took the loss for Fresno State, her second of the day, to fall to 16-4 on the year and 6-2 in conference games.
Fresno State out-hit the Broncos 12-11 in the game-and 25-23 for the series-but Boise State picked up hits in critical spots and took advantage of uncharacteristic miscues from the Bulldogs to score 12 runs in the finale. Entering this season, the Broncos had scored 12 runs in their previous six meetings with the Bulldogs combined.
The Broncos are alone in first place in the conference for the first time in school history after New Mexico State was swept by Hawai'i. Boise State travels to New Mexico State (37-15, 14-4) for the regular season finale May 6 and 7, to potentially decide the regular season champion.Notes
Boise State has won 15-straight home games dating to the end of the 2010 season...Tazz Weatherly is on an eight-game hitting streak...Devon Bridges saw her 35-game on-base streak come to an end in game one.