LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The 2010 season came to an end on Friday for the Boise State softball team as it dropped its second game of the day to Fresno State 6-5. The Broncos (28-32) earned third place in the tournament after they began the day with a 6-5 extra innings win over San Jose State.
Game 1 vs. San Jose State
For the first time in the tournament, the Broncos were the first to mark up the score board as they hung up two runs in the top of the first to start things off. Kellie Caplan led off the game with single and found herself on third with one out. A wild pitch brought her across the plate to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Christina Capobianco hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Kathy Cox to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead.
The Spartans got one back in the bottom half of the firs and three more in the second to chase Allie Crump from the circle with a 4-2 lead. Aubray Zell entered in relief and kept the Spartans at bay minus one run crossing the plate in the fourth inning to push the lead to 5-2. Zell scattered eight hits over seven innings to become the third Bronco pitcher to earn a win in the tournament.
Down 5-2, the Broncos went to work in the fifth as Jessi Hanna led off with a double followed by a single from Cox. Vanessa Alvarez smashed a clutch home run in the next at-bat to tie up the game at 5-5. Neither team could scratch out a run in the final two frames as the game went into extra innings. The Broncos and Spartans have played extra innings in both of their WAC Tournament matchups over the past two years.
The Broncos didn't waste any time as the put across the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth and eventually went on to win the game. Tazz Weatherly reached on a fielder's choice and moved up to second on a wild pitch to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. A ground ball from Caplan was thrown away in the next at-bat and went into the Spartan dugout to allow Weatherly to score from second on the play.
Zell shut down the Spartans in the sixth to earn the win and give the Broncos a 3-1 record in the tournament.
Game 2 vs. Fresno State
The Broncos and Bulldogs again came down to the wire for the second time in as many days with Fresno State again emerging as the slim victors. In the Broncos' five WAC Tournament games, four games were decided by one run.
Fresno State again jumped out to a comfortable two-run lead with a run in the first and second innings. Michelle Moses breezed through the Bronco lineup through the first four innings, retiring 10 consecutive batters at one point.
In the fifth, Holly Bourke led off with a single and advanced to third on a pair of sacrifices. Tazz Weatherly broke the Broncos' silence at the plate with a bloop single into left field that cashed in Bourke. Caplan stroked a triple down the right field line just a few pitches later to tie up the game 2-2.
The Bulldogs responded immediately with two more runs in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead. Both runs were unearned due to an error earlier in the inning. The Broncos committed six errors in the game, leading to four unearned runs for the Bulldogs.
The Broncos got one back when a Capobianco double scored Alvarez from first base in the bottom of the sixth. They later loaded the bases with one out but were unable to scratch out another run and went into the seventh trailing 4-3.
Three more Bronco errors in the seventh led to another pair of Bulldog runs to push the lead to 6-3. However, seniors Hanna and Cox did all they could to extend their careers as Hanna led off with a screeching line drive up the middle and Cox hit the next pitch off the scoreboard in right center field to cut the lead to 6-5. It was her school record 21st homer of the year and fourth of the tournament.
Morgan Melloh took over in the circle and got two quick outs to put the Broncos one out away from elimination. Laeha Hill came in to pinch hit and drew a walk from Melloh to give the Broncos another gleam of hope. With the walk, all three seniors reached base safely in the final inning of their careers. A ground out in the next at-bat ended the game as the Bulldogs snuck away with a win and advanced to the championship game tomorrow at 2 p.m.
The Broncos will lose just two starters off the highly successful 2010 team. A team that finished third in both the regular season standings and in the tournament in just its second year of existence.