Boise State hosts No. 16/14 Texas A&M for three games Thursday through Saturday, to close out the regular season. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. (MT) each day.
The series will mark the final home games for six Bronco seniors, the first four-year class in program history. It will also be the last time Boise State plays at Mountain Cove Softball Field.
The Broncos (34-17, 8-4 MW) will send off their home field in style against the highest-ranked opponent to visit Boise State, before moving to Dona Larsen Park next season. The last time the Broncos hosted a ranked foe, they swept then-No. 25 Fresno State (April 29-30, 2011).
Boise State will honor its six seniors Saturday, following the game. Kellie Caplan, Christina Capobianco, Allie Crump, Kelly Sweeney, Tazz Weatherly and Aubray Zell have all been part of the program since its inaugural 2009 season.
Live audio and live stats will be available for each game at BroncoSports.com. Live video will be available for the entire series, and requires a subscription to BroncoVision. The games will also be aired on tape delay on The Mtn., beginning Wednesday, May 16. The Thursday game can be seen Wednesday at 8 p.m. (MT) and Firday's contest will run at 10 p.m. (MT). The series finale (Saturday) will air Thursday, May 17, at 2 p.m. (MT).
Stay current with all of the happenings in Boise State Softball by following the official twitter account of the Broncos @BroncoSportsSB.
About the Broncos
Boise State's 34 wins are the most in school history and the 2012 squad did it against the toughest schedule yet. The Broncos have played 10 games against teams ranked in the top 20 of both major top-25 polls. Eighteen games featured opponents returning from the 2011 NCAA Tournament, including five games against 2011 WCWS teams.
Boise State finished 8-4 in its first season as a member of the Mountain West and is still in contention for the conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos won three-game series against UNLV (April 13-15), New Mexico (April 27-29) and San Diego State (May 4-6).
Seniors Aubray Zell and Allie Crump anchor the pitching staff for yet another year. Zell is a five-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week after winning the weekly award three times last season in the WAC. She is 20-11 on the year with a 2.30 ERA and a school-record 169 strikeouts. Crump is 6-3 this season with a 2.91 ERA.
Boise State's top producer with the bat is at the top of the order. Sophomore transfer Tara Glover is hitting .483 to rank second in the country. Glover set the single-season hits record April 22, at Colorado State and currently has 84. She also leads the team with a .730 slugging percentage thanks in large part to a school-record four triples. Glover has used her speed to score 50 runs and steal 17 bases, both team highs. A native of Grants Pass, Ore., Glover transfered to Boise State from Utah, where she started all 51 games for the Utes as a freshman in 2011.
Crump is also a standout at the plate with eight homers, six doubles and 34 RBI. Sophomore Devon Bridges and senior Christina Capobianco continue to be among the biggest power threats for the Broncos. Bridges leads the team with 13 homers and 39 runs driven in. Capobianco has parked six and totalled 31 RBI. The senior first baseman is the career leader in home runs and RBI. Bridges is also second on the team with a .336 batting average.
About Texas A&M
The Aggies are led by All-America two-way player Mel Dumezich. In the circle, Dumezich holds a 26-11 record with a 2.05 ERA in 243 innings. She also has a team-high 15 home runs and 41 RBI to go along with a .286 batting average. The entire squad has picked up its offensive production in the past three weeks, averaging better than six runs for the last 10 games, including 18 home runs in the last seven contests. Texas A&M, ranked No. 9 in the latest RPI, is looking to host an NCAA Regional for the second-straight season.
This three-game set marks the first meeting between Boise State and Texas A&M.
Conference Championship Scenarios
Three teams enter the final weekend of the regular season with a chance to win the 2012 Mountain West softball championship and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State is the team in control of its own destiny.
- If San Diego State wins two or three games this weekend at UNLV, the Aztecs win the title outright.
- If SDSU wins only one game this weekend and Colorado State loses one or more at New Mexico, SDSU and Boise State will each have a share of the title at 8-4 apiece. Boise State would earn the automatic qualifier by virtue of its 2-1 series win over the Aztecs.
- If SDSU wins only one game and CSU wins all three of its games, SDSU, Boise State and CSU will all share the regular season title at 8-4 each. SDSU would earn the AQ by virtue of its combined 4-2 (.667) record against Boise State (3-3) and CSU (2-4).
- If SDSU wins zero games this weekend, and CSU loses one or more, the Broncos win the championship outright.
- If SDSU wins zero games this weekend and CSU wins all three, CSU and Boise State share the title and CSU is the AQ by virtue of its 2-1 series win against the Broncos.
Top of the Mountain
Sophomore Tara Glover ranks first in the Mountain West in batting average (.483), hits (84) and stolen bases (17). In 2011, while at Utah, Glover led the league in triples and ranked in the top five in runs and hits. Glover has nine career triples, tied for eighth in Mountain West history. Senior Aubray Zell leads the MW in opponent batting average (.223), wins (20), shutouts (4), strikeouts (169), innings (194.2), starts (31) and complete games (19). Senior Kellie Caplan leads the conference in sacrifice bunts (13) and checks in behind Glover for second in steals (12). For more on where individuals rank in Boise State and Mountain West history, see page 41 of the complete release.
Last Time Out
Boise State took the first two games of its final Mountain West series May 4-6, at San Diego State. The Broncos won 6-1 and 4-3, but dropped the finale 7-1. Boise State would have locked up a bid to its first NCAA Tournament with a series sweep.
Devon Bridges belted two home runs to back Aubray Zell's complete-game performance as Boise State took the opening game of its series with San Diego State 6-1. Zell scattered six hits, walked one and struck out five to become the first Bronco with a 20-win season and hand the Aztecs their first loss in conference play.
Bridges hit a two-run shot in the top of the first inning to get the scoring started following a Tara Glover infield single to lead off the game. After her early power display, Bridges drew a bases-loaded walk in the second to give Glover her second run of the game and 50th of the season, capping a three-run inning for Boise State as it took a 5-0 lead. The sophomore slugger led off the fifth inning with her 13th home run of the year, marking the third multi-homer game of her career.
Back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth inning lifted Boise State to a 4-3 win against Saturday, to clinch the series win. Allie Crump's three-run home run tied the game before Holly Bourke put the Broncos on top. Both blasts came with two away. It is the fifth time this year the Broncos have hit back-to-back home runs and the second time in conference play a game-tying three-run homer was followed by a go-ahead shot.
Lela Work twirled a gem in the circle for the Broncos, picking up a complete-game win as she scattered six hits and issued two walks but struck out six, five coming with runners in scoring position. Work, typically used as a closer throughout her career, returned to the rubber with a one-run lead and slammed the door in the late innings. She needed just 21 pitches to sit the Aztecs down in order over the final two frames.
San Diego State scored seven unanswered runs to defeat Boise State 7-1 Sunday, in the Broncos' final Mountain West game of the year. The Aztecs used a four-run fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie and seize control of the game.
Boise State struck first with a run on three hits in the second inning. Katie Engelbrecht delivered the RBI with a single up the middle.
Aztec starter Bailey Micetich retired the final 16 Bronco hitters, including 12 strikeouts. Glover struck out twice, her first two punch outs in conference play, as her 13-game hitting streak and 37-game reached-base-safely streaks came to an end.
Broncos in the RPI
Boise State rose to No. 56 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index. Its highest ranking was No. 49, April 15. The Broncos peaked at No. 72 last season before finishing 79th.
Crump in the Clutch
Five of Allie Crump's eight home runs this season have come in the sixth inning or later. Crump hit the third walk-off home run in school history with two outs in the bottom of the seventh March 16, against Portland State. She also hit a game-winning blast April 11, at Idaho State with two outs in the top of the ninth. Crump's solo shot against the Bengals was the first extra-inning home run in school history. She hit another game-winning homer April 15, against UNLV in the fifth inning. Crump delivered late again May 5, at San Diego State with a game-tying, three-run homer with two outs in the sixth inning.
Been Here Before
Boise State's senior class has combined for 860 career starts in the batting order. Of the 217 games played in program history, seniors Allie Crump and Aubray Zell have combined to start 187 of them in the circle. Kellie Caplan leads the position players with 211 games played and 203 starts. Zell has pitched in 119 games, starting 99 of them, both school records.
Glover's Streaks This Season
Tara Glover reached base safely in a school-record 37-consecutive games before failing to do so in the series finale at San Diego State (May 6). That game also saw Glover's hitting streak end at a school-record-tying 13 games. She has reached base safely in 49 of 51 games this season, with hits in 46 of them.
Glover First to 70... and 80
Tara Glover has 84 hits this year. Glover became the first Bronco to register 70 hits in a season with a 4-for-5 performance April 22, at Colorado State. Glover needed just 45 games to reach the milestone and is averaging more than 1.6 hits per game. She eclipsed Kathy Cox' former single-season record of 69, set in 61 games during the 2010 season, and is threatening the MW record of 90 (Utah's Jackie Wong, 2006; 61 games).
Zell Picks up Fifth MW Pitching Award
Senior Aubray Zell was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 6. It is the fifth weekly award this season for Zell, who shares this honor with San Diego State's Bailey Micetich. Zell finished the week 1-1 in two starts against the Aztecs with a 3.60 earned run average over 11.2 innings pitched. In Friday's 6-1 win, she scattered six hits, walked one and struck out five to hand the league-leading Aztecs their first loss in conference play.