Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bridges Blasts Boise State to Doubleheader Sweep of Nevada

The Bronco softball team completed a three-game sweep of Nevada yesterday with 8-3 and 11-10 wins at Mountain Cove Field, showing they are going to be a force in the Western Athletic Conference this season.  

Freshman Devon Bridges launched three homers and was 4-5 on the afternoon with eight RBI's.  Bridges homered in all three Bronco wins over the Wolf Pack.

Lela Work was credited with both victories.  In the opener, Work came in relief of starter Aubray Zell with the Broncos trailing 2-0 in the first inning and only allowed one Pack run after that.  Holly Bourke's solo homer to center, Bridges' two-run shot and a solo homer by Vanessa Alvarez gave Boise State a 4-2 lead they would never relinquish.  After Nevada closed to 4-3 in the fifth, Boise State scored four in their half of the inning, punctuated by the 100th career hit of Christina Capobianco, a pinch-hit double that drove in three.  Capobianco became the third Bronco to reach the 100-hit milestone.

Work finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed just five hits.  Mallary Darby suffered her second loss to the Broncos in as many games for Nevada.

The second game was more dramatic.  After Nevada had taken a 10-9 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Work ripped a shot into right field in the Broncos' half to score the winning runs.  Nevada jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning but Boise State responded with an RBI double from Allie Crump and another homer from Bridges.  

Nevada scored another run in the second and three more in the third off starter Crump to go ahead 7-3.  Nevada scored another run in the fourth after Work had taken over to build an 8-3 lead.  But in the bottom of the fourth, Bourke's two-run double down the line ignited a Bronco rally.  Darby contributed to her own downfall with two walks and two hit batters in the inning.  That loaded the bases for Bridges, and the red-hot freshman promptly cleared them with her second grand slam of the season.  Bridges' blast gave Boise State their first lead of the game 9-8 and set a school record of six RBI's for the game.

Work was able to retire the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings and got the first two batters out in the seventh.
But Megan Fincher drew a walk and Chelsea Venable followed with a home run to give Nevada the lead again 10-9.  Boise State, playing like a championship team, was not to be denied.  Tazz Weatherly and Mackenzie Whyte drew walks to start the Bronco seventh.  Kellie Caplan laid down a perfect bunt to move the runners and Bourke walked to load the bases.  Capobianco's fly ball wasn't deep enough to score the tying run, leaving it up to Work with two outs.  Her single scored Weatherly and Whyte's head-first slide beat the tag to give the Broncos the win.

Boise State will play seven games on the road against Utah Valley, Utah, San Jose State and Saint Mary's next week.

The Broncos, now 18-10 on the season,  look to carry the momentum of a conference series sweep into a busy week. Boise State will play seven games in the next week, beginning Tuesday, against Utah Valley in Provo, Utah. The team also has a doubleheader scheduled against Utah, Wednesday, before resuming conference action Friday and Saturday, at San Jose State. The week will wrap up with a single game Sunday, at Saint Mary's.