Boise State softball wraps up the regular season at New Mexico State, Friday and Saturday, with the Western Athletic Conference regular-season crown up for grabs.
The Broncos (32-15, 15-3) enter the weekend riding a six-game win streak. Back-to-back sweeps of Hawai'i and Fresno State vaulted Boise State into first place in the conference by itself- a program first- one game ahead of the Aggies
New Mexico State (37-15, 14-4) dropped three games at Hawai'i last week to set up the showdown.
Boise State will clinch a share of the conference crown with one win. A series win gives the Broncos the title outright and the number one seed in the WAC Tournament, May 11-14, in Fresno Calif.
The three-game set begins with a single game Friday, followed by a Saturday doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT) Friday, and 2 p.m. (MT) Saturday.
Live stats will be available for each game of the series. 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 propelled the Broncos into the confernce slate where they started 8-1. Boise State enters this weekend 15-3 in WAC play, fresh off a sweep of Fresno State. The Broncos became the first team to sweep a season series from the Bulldogs in WAC history, and are in first place in the conference.
The Broncos are 13-2 in their last 15 games. The span includes not only the sweep of Fresno State, but a sweep at Hawai'i. It was the first time the Rainbow Wahine suffered a sweep at home since 2005, and was the first three wins in the all-time series for Boise State. The marquee wins have put the Broncos in the national conversation, receiving votes in the Ultimate College Softball Top 25 Poll for consecutive weeks. Boise State has nine votes in the latest poll, released Tuesday.
Junior Aubray Zell leads the team in the circle with a 14-2 record and 1.73 ERA. Zell has been named WAC Pitcher of the Week three times this season. Earning the Broncos' first win against Hawai'i, she became the only pitcher in school history to beat all seven WAC teams. Fellow junior Allie Crump joined that exclusive club with a win against Fresno State. Crump is 13-6 on the year with a 3.73 ERA.
Devon Bridges is enjoying a breakout freshman campaign, pacing the Bronco offense. Bridges is batting .387 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI, leading the team in each category. She has thrived in WAC play, hitting nine home runs and driving in 27 while slugging 1.023.
Juniors Christina Capobianco and Tazz Weatherly have joined Bridges as the Broncos' hottest hitters the last 15 games. Capobianco is slugging .821 with five homers, while Weatherly is batting .410 with 12 runs and seven RBI during the span.
About New Mexico State
The Aggies feature one of the most potent offenses in the country, led by seven starters batting .350 or better in conference play. The Aggies rank first in the WAC in nearly every offensive category, but feature middle-of-the pack pitching numbers.
Hoku Nohara leads the nation in home runs (21) and slugging percentage (1.051), while drawing more than one walk per game. Tiare Jennings adds more pop to the lineup with 14 homers. NMSU also has 73 steals.
The pitching staff is led by Alex Newman's 20-6 record with a 3.46 ERA. Newman has started 13 conference games, while Celisha Walker took the ball in the other five. Neither averages four strikeouts per seven innings.
Boise State leads 4-3. The teams have swapped season sweeps, with the Broncos taking four in 2010.
Broncos in the RPI
The sweep of Fresno State propelled Boise State to No. 72 in the most recent RPI, the highest in school history...Three other WAC members rank in the top 75 with Fresno State leading the way at No. 32. Hawai'i checks in at No. 57 and New Mexico State is No. 64.
Broncos Cleaning Up in the Circle
Juniors Allie Crump and Aubray Zell have combined for four Verzon WAC Pitcher of the Week awards this season. Zell earned the first in Bronco history for the week of Feb. 28-March 6, after tossing the program's first no-hitter. Crump took home the award the following week, earning three wins at the Santa Clara Bronco Classic and allowing just one unearned run on the weekend. Zell repeated as WAC Pitcher of the Week April 4-10, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA against Louisiana Tech. She is the first Bronco to earn multiple weekly awards in her career. She added her third weekly honor after going 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in the Broncos' sweep of Hawai'i. Zell is the first player to earn three WAC Pitcher of the Week honors this season.
Devon Bridges is among the most accomplished freshmen across the country. Bridges ranks in the top 12 in her class, nationally, in seven categories: on-base percentage (fourth); RBI per game (fifth); home runs (fifth); home runs per game (sixth); slugging percentage (sixth); walks per game (eighth); and batting average (14th).