LAS CRUCES N.M. - Freshman Lela Work shut down a surging New Mexico State offense to lead the Broncos to a 9-8 come-from-behind victory in the opening round of the WAC Tournament. The Broncos (27-30) erased and overcame an 8-0 Aggie (27-27) lead to capture the win and stay in the winners' bracket of the WAC Tournament. Work had help from four Bronco home runs as she allowed just one hit over the last five innings of the game.
Work entered the game in the third inning after the Aggies had already established an 8-4 lead against Bronco starter Allie Crump. The freshman was equal to the task as she never allowed a runner past first base and recorded six strikeouts to earn the second win of her career. After the Aggies made two trips through the lineup in two innings, Work did not allow a hit until the seventh inning when the Broncos had already taken a 9-8 lead. The only other baserunner was Hoku Nohara, who walked in the third inning. Between the two runners, Work retired 11 consecutive Aggies to keep her team in the game.
The Broncos offense did its part to earn the win and support Work's masterpiece. In the second inning, the Broncos responded to an 8-0 Aggie lead as a pair of homers cut the Aggie lead in half. Holly Bourke led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a single from Crump. Kelly Sweeney smashed the first of four Bronco home runs on the day to cut the deficit to 8-3. Tazz Weatherly went deep on the very next pitch to add to the offensive outburst.
After two scoreless frames, Christina Capobianco smashed her 11th homer of the year to leadoff the fifth inning. The solo shot cut the lead to 8-5.
In the sixth, the Broncos had another offensive outburst as they put across another four runs to erase the Aggie lead. Kellie Caplan and Jessi Hanna opened the inning with back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 8-6. After a pitching change, Kathy Cox ended an eight-game homerless drought with a two-run homer to left field that tied up the game at 8-8. With two outs, the Broncos loaded the bases. Weatherly was then hit by a pitch to force the go-ahead run across the plate.
Work closed the door in the seventh and the Broncos moved on to face No. 2-seeded Fresno State at 2 p.m. tomorrow. The Broncos took one of three from Fresno State this year in Fresno and lost 4-0 to the Bulldogs in the 2009 WAC Tournament.