LAS CRUCES, N.M.-New Mexico State found two more ways to win Saturday, to sweep the Boise State in the final softball series of the regular season in the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies rolled in the opener 16-3 in five innings, and took the final with a 7-6 come-from-behind win.
Boise State (32-18, 15-6) finishes the season tied for second in the conference, but will be the No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament May 11-14, in Fresno, Calif. New Mexico State (40-15, 17-4) will be the top seed in the tournament. The winner of the double-elimination conference tournament earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Aggies' Bats Stay Hot in 16-3 Win
New Mexico State broke open a tie game with seven runs in the third inning and tacked on six more in the fourth to defeat Boise State 16-3 in five innings, Saturday, in the first game of a doubleheader.
With the win the Aggies clinched at least a share of the regular-season Western Athletic Conference softball crown and the top seed in the WAC Tournament, May 11-14, in Fresno, Calif. The Broncos secured the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye by virtue of Fresno State's loss to Nevada.
Boise State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning, but a base running miscue helped New Mexico State get out of the frame. The Aggies (39-15, 16-4) responded to take a 3-2 lead after their half of the inning.
Mackenzie Whyte led off the third with a single into centerfield. Whyte would come around to score the tying run after a Christina Capobianco single and an error with two outs.
Then the flood gates opened for New Mexico State. Ten hits-including two home runs-three walks, and four wild pitches accounted for 13 runs off three different Bronco pitchers.
Boise State starter Allie Crump was chased from the game in the third inning. Lela Work came on in relief and pitched one inning. Work handed the ball over to Ashley Collier with the bases loaded in the fourth. It was Collier's first appearance since March 19, against Arizona State.
Crump took the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks. The outing started ominously as the first run Crump allowed crossed the plate on an illegal pitch call.
Broncos Let Lead Slip Away in Finale
Boise State scored five unanswered runs to take a 5-3 lead, but New Mexico State had one more rally left and went on to complete the sweep with a 7-6 win in the series finale. A run in the fourth and three runs in the fifth put the Aggies on top for good.
New Mexico State picked up six-consecutive hits to start the bottom of the fifth inning. Devon Bridges gunned down the first runner at home, but eventually the Aggies scored three runs to take a 7-5 lead.
The Broncos put the pressure on early, but found themselves down 3-0 after stranding five runners in their first two at bats.
In the third, Bridges put the Broncos on their board with a two-run home run to left center. Christina Capobianco immediately tied the game with a solo shot to left two pitches later. Boise State added another run in the frame when Kelly Sweeney broke up a play at the plate.
The Broncos picked up a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Allie Crump and led 5-3 going into the bottom of the fourth.
The Aggies scored one run in the fourth inning. The leadoff batter singled and moved up to second on a sacrifice. The second out of the inning came on a dropped third strike, and the runner took third when the throw went to first to complete the out. The run eventually came in on a wild pitch.
New Mexico State used a double play to escape trouble in the top of the fifth and set up its hit parade in the bottom half of the inning.
Capobianco continued her torrid hitting with a two-out RBI in the sixth. Boise State had runners at second and third, but could not bring in the tying run. Capobianco finished the series 6-for-9 with two home runs, five RBI and four runs scored. She had nine hits in the last four games.
Work retired the only three batters she faced in her third relief appearance of the series, but a leadoff single was left stranded in the Broncos' seventh.
Tazz Weatherly rebounded from snapping her nine-game hit streak in the first game to pound out three hits in the nightcap. Bridges, Capobianco and Mackenzie Whyte each racked up two hits in the finale.
Aubray Zell took the loss for Boise State in five innings of work.
The first three batters of the game scored for New Mexico State as the Aggies scored three runs on four hits and a botched fielder's choice in the first inning to get out to an early lead.