Sunday, April 3, 2011

Boise State Tops Saint Mary's 5-3

Boise State concluded a successful road trip with a 5-3 win over Saint Mary's 5-3 this afternoon.
The Broncos took a 5-0 lead and held on for the win, giving them four wins in the seven-game road swing.  Kellie Caplan, Allie Crumb, Holly Bourke and Devon Bridges lined consecutive singles to score two runs in the first inning.  Boise State scored three unearned runs, one in the fourth and two in the sixth.  Megan Harvey drove in Kelly Sweeney in the fourth and Sweeney crossed home plate again in the sixth as Caplan drove her in.  Tazz Weatherly also received an RBI in the Bronco sixth.

Aubray Zell started and pitched three innings for Coach Erin Thorpe, with the only Gael to reach base doing so on an error.  Lela Work relieved Zell and pitched the final four innings to get the victory.  Work allowed three runs on six hits and is now 4-5 on the season.

Thorpe's team comes home victorious

Saint Mary's broke through in the sixth with a double and single but Work received help from a pitcher's best friend--the double play.  Brittany Sabatini's two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh made it interesting, but Work was able to retire the final two batters as Boise State won for the 22nd time against 13 defeats.

Bridges reached safely for the 25th consecutive game for the Broncos, who will host Louisiana Tech this Friday and Saturday at Mountain Cove Field.

Definition of Softball and Baseball Abbreviations

I got a note from someone asking to explain the abbreviations that we see in newspapers and online regarding softball (and baseball) statistics.  Here are a few of them:

IF:  Infield (usually refers to "Name of Player" plays in the infield (1B, 2B, Shortstop or 3B)
OF:  Outfield (usually refers to "Name of Player" plays outfield (left field, center field, or right field)
AB:  At Bats (An "at bat" is an official plate appearance resulting in either a hit or an out after the ball is put into play.  For example, one does not have an official at-bat if a teammate is thrown out on the basepaths before the hitter has a chance to bat.  Note:  a player who receives a walk or is hit by a pitch does not receive an official at-bat.)
R:  Runs, in this case it means runs scored by that player or team.
H:  Hits, or the number of times that a player (or team) has successfully put the ball into play and reached safely through no fault of the other team.  When an error is made that allows the hitter to reach base, it is not an official at-bat.
E:  Error--Statistics are kept on the number of errors that an individual player makes, the number of team errors in an inning, the number of errors in a game, and the number of errors for a season.  There are four main ways a fielder can make an error--first, by misplaying a ground ball and letting the ball get past them, second by dropping a fly ball that should be caught, third by fielding the ball but then making an errant throw that either allows the batter to be safe or allows a baserunner an extra base that they shouldn't have had and fourth, by dropping the ball on a throw from another fielder that allows the batter or baserunner to be safe.  For there to be an error, it must be on a play that the scorer believes should be made for an out, either by throwing out the batter or by making a play to get a baserunner out.  Note:  When a catcher allows a pitch to get by them, it is not an error but is ruled a "passed ball".   
RBI:  Runs batted in--A player is given credit for an RBI when they successfully get a teammate to home plate through no fault of the other team.  As is the case above, an error by the other team that results in a run scoring does not count for an RBI by the hitter.  An RBI can be credited for a walk or being hit by a pitch if the bases are loaded.  In those cases, the runner on third base is forced in by the walk or hit batter and the batter gets an RBI.
BB:  This stands for bases on balls or more commonly a walk.  It has several uses.  An individual hitter can receive a walk (four balls called by the umpire before either three strikes or called or before the ball is put into play).  Sometimes you will see this statistic for an entire team, which is the total of all the walks received in a game or in the season.  It is also used to reflect pitcher's statistics, i.e. how many walks the pitcher or pitching staff allowed during a game or during the season.
SO:  Strikeout.  As above, this is used for offensive and pitcher statistics for both individuals and teams.  A strikeout occurs when a player gets three strikes called on them.  If there are two strikes and the hitter hits a foul ball, in most levels this is not counted against them (some do count this as the final strike.)  In most levels of baseball and softball, however, a foul with two strikes simply means the hitter goes back to the plate and continues to bat.  Note:  If a third strike is called by the umpire but dropped by the catcher, the runner has the opportunity to run to first base.  If they beat out the throw, the play is scored a strikeout and a passed ball by the catcher.  If the catcher is able to field the ball and throw out the hitter, the play is simply recorded as a strikeout.  You will sometimes hear a strikeout referred to as a "K".  If a hitter has 3 SO's, it means he or she has struck out three times in that game or the season.  Similarly, if a pitcher has 3 SO's, it means the pitcher has struck out three batters in the game.

PO:  Putout.  This occurs when a batter or base runner is called out by a tag out, a force out or has been caught stealing.  An unassisted putout occurs when only one fielder makes the play, for example when a player catches a fly ball or when an infielder or catcher fields the ball and steps on the bag to force an out.  If the ball is fielded by a player and thrown to another for a force at that base, the putout is made by the player catching the ball with an assist from the player who threw it.
A:  Assist.  The assist is given to the player who throws the ball to a teammate who actually makes the out.
LOB:  Left on Base.  This comes into play only when the third out of the inning is made.  At that point, the number of base runners who did not score is added up and that total is the number of runners left on base in each inning.  You will often see game totals for left on base, which is merely the total number of runners left on base in the inning.  Note:  Occasionally, a run will score and then an out is made when the ball is thrown to another base to get that runner out.  If the runner crosses home plate before his or her teammate is thrown out, the run counts.  This only comes into play on a ball hit safely; it does not come into play if the ball is hit in the air and the runner crosses home plate before the ball is caught.

Analysis of the WAC Commissioner's Cup Race Heading Into Spring

The last of the winter sports have been decided, leaving only the spring sports in this school year.  After the teams in those sports have had a chance to show what they can do, I like projecting the Commissioner's Cup race in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Commissioner's Cup is given annually to the WAC school that has the best overall sports department for that school year.  The standings are determined by a point system that gives inverted points to the schools based on their performance in 20 sports that the conference sponsors and how many WAC schools participate in each sport.  For example, there are nine teams in football, thus the champion gets nine points, the runner-up eight points, the third-place team gets seven points, etc.  If there is a tie, the two tied teams split the points for two positions, i.e. a tie for first would split the points awarded for #1 and #2 (9 + 8 = 17 divided by 2 = 8.5 each).  

There are four WAC schools that are able to field men's indoor track, so the winner gets four points, #2 gets 3 points and so on.  Some sports, such as gymnastics, have auxiliary members (schools that are not officially in the WAC but participate in the conference in that sport).  In those cases, the auxiliary teams do not get points for the Commissioner's Cup but their places count in the point configuration.  If there are five schools that compete in a sport and Sacramento State, for example, is third, the league champion still gets five points, second gets four points, and the next WAC school, the fourth-place team, gets two points.  Men's and women's tennis, baseball and softball all split awarded points with half going to the regular season and half to the postseason championships.

Currently, Boise State has a slim lead (64.50 to 59.75) over Utah State.  New Mexico State is third with 42.25, followed by Fresno State (41.00), Idaho (40.50), Nevada (38.75), Hawai'i (36.75), Louisiana Tech (33.00) and San Jose State (29.50).  

In coming up with the projections, I use the best available data in each sport.  For softball and baseball, the league standings are used.  For golf, I use Golfweek's weekly ratings and for tennis I use College Tennis Online's weekly rankings.  As the teams play more, the standings and weekly rankings will be more reliable.  For track, I will initially use the WAC Indoor Track Championship data but will switch to projected point totals for the Outdoor Championship based on top times once there is enough data available.  

Here are the projections for each sport:

Women's Golf:  (April 15-17)
1.  San Jose State (7 points)
2.  New Mexico State (6)
3.  Idaho (5)
4.  Nevada (4)
5.  Fresno State (3)
6.  Boise State (2)
7.  Hawai'i (1)

Men's Tennis:  (April 27-May 1)
1.  Fresno State (7)
2.  Boise State (6)
3.  Idaho (5)
4.  Hawai'i (4)
5.  New Mexico State (3)
6.  Nevada (2)
7.  Utah State (1)

Women's Tennis:  (April 27-May 1)
1.  Boise State (9 points)
2.  Fresno State (8)
3.  Nevada (7)
4.  Hawai'i (6)
5.  Idaho (5)
6.  New Mexico State (4)
7.  Utah State (3)
8.  Louisiana Tech (2)
9.  San Jose State (1)

Coach Roghaar has his team playing well

Men's Golf:  (May 2-4)
1.  New Mexico State (8 points)
2.  Idaho (7)
3.  Fresno State (6)
4.  San Jose State (5)
5.  Nevada (4)
6.  Louisiana Tech (3)
7.  Hawai'i (2)
8.  Boise State (1)

Coach Kevin Burton's team hopes to improve in time for WAC Championships

Softball:  (May 11-14)
1.  Fresno State (8 points)
2.  New Mexico State (7)
3.  Hawai'i (6)
4.  Boise State (5)
5.  Louisiana Tech (4)
6.  San Jose State (3)
7.  Nevada (2)
8.  Utah State (1)

Men's Track (May 10-13)
1.  Utah State (5 points)
2.  Fresno State (4)
3.  Boise State (3)
4.  Louisiana Tech (2)
5.  Idaho (1)

Women's Track (May 10-13)
1.  Louisiana Tech (8 points)
2.  Utah State (7)
3.  Nevada (6)
4.  New Mexico State (5)
5.  Boise State (4)
6.  Fresno State (3)
7.  Hawai'i (2)
8.  Idaho (1)

Baseball:  (May 25-29)
1.  Fresno State (7 points)
2.  New Mexico State (6 points)
3.  San Jose State (5)
4.  Louisiana Tech (4)
5.  Hawai'i (3)
6.  San Jose State (2)
7.  Nevada (1)

I will continue to do these projections on a semi-weekly basis.  As the teams get close to the championships in their respective sports, the data will get more accurate as being able to project the championship results.  As of right now, here are the projections for the final Commissioner's Cup point totals:

1.  Boise State 94.50  
     Boise State is expected to pick up most of its points in men's and women's tennis and in men's track.  The Broncos are projected to score 30 points this spring--they will need to do well to hold off Fresno State.  If those teams do not come through, we will have a tight race for the Cup.  On the other hand, if the men's and women's golf teams do better than expected, Boise State's chances are dramatically improved.

2.  Fresno State 87.00
     The Bulldogs traditionally are the strongest team in the spring sports and this year should be no exception. Fresno State is expected to score 46 points in the spring alone.  Fresno is projected to win men's tennis, softball and baseball and women's tennis and they are also expected to do extremely well in men's track and men's golf.  If one or more of those teams do not come through, Fresno could relinquish the challenger's role to New Mexico State.  All those teams have to do well and Fresno State has to hope that the key Boise State sports falter for the Bulldogs to take the Cup.

Fresno State will once again provide the closest challenge to Boise State

3.  New Mexico State 81.25
     The Aggies outdual Boise State for having the second best spring sports program to Fresno State, scoring 39 points.  The Aggies' best hope is to finish strong in their strengths and hope that their men's and women's tennis teams and women's track team can finish high while Boise State slips up somewhere.

4.  Utah State 76.75
     USU does fairly well in the spring but they aren't able to field a team in baseball, men's golf or women's golf.  Until they are able to fund those programs, Utah State will never have a serious chance of winning an overall competition.  Utah State is projected to score just 17 points this spring.  They could possibly finish third if everything goes right.

5.  Nevada 64.75
     Nevada has been a challenger nearly every year in the Commissioner's Cup.  However, poor fall programs hurt their chances severely.  They finished near the bottom in women's cross country, soccer and volleyball.  The only reason they are this high is because of their football, basketball and swimming programs.  Nevada is projected to score 26 points in the spring.

6. Hawai'i 60.75
    Hawai'i is expected to do the best in men's and women's tennis and softball.  UH should score in the neighborhood of 24 points this spring.  That's a good total, but they are too far down to climb all the way to the top.

7.  Idaho 59.00
     The Vandals have been in the middle of the pack for the last several years.  Idaho will get most of their points in men's and women's golf and men's tennis.  Idaho should get about 18.5 points this spring.  They will fight for positions 5-8.

8.  Louisiana Tech 56.00
     Louisiana Tech has climbed out of the cellar in the Cup race and will score around 23 points this spring.  They probably won't get higher than #7, but they have a shot at that.

9.  San Jose State 50.50
     The Spartans are the favorite in women's golf and they should also do well in baseball.  San Jose State is projected to score 21 points this spring.

WAC Women's Golf Teams Ranked By Golfweek

#65  San Jose State
#66  New Mexico State
#104  Idaho
#109  Nevada
#124  Fresno State
#149  Boise State
#154  Hawai'i

WAC Men's Golf Teams Ranked by Golfweek

#59 New Mexico State
#65   Idaho
#71  Fresno State
#78 San Jose State
#90 Louisiana Tech
#92 Nevada
#172 Hawai'i
#191 Boise State

Bronco Softball Team Third in the WAC

Boise State was able to win two of three on the road at San Jose State this weekend, keeping the Broncos third in the conference standings.  Fresno State and New Mexico State own perfect 6-0 records while nationally-ranked Hawai'i is now 3-3 in the WAC.

Fresno State6-01.00022-8.733
New Mexico State6-01.00027-10.730
Boise State5-1.83321-13.618
Louisiana Tech2-4.33311-25.306
San Jose State1-5.16714-23.378
Utah State0-6.0005-30.143

Boise State Dominates All-Idaho Cup

Boise State's track team did what it had to do yesterday--dominate the All-Idaho Cup.  The Broncos won 12 events in Bronco Stadium, adding to the six they had won Friday.  Unfortunately, the marks posted by Boise State fell far shy of what the rest of the teams in the Western Athletic Conference are posting.

Rolando Trammel ran a career-best 14.34 in the 110-meter hurdles, adding to his win in the 400-hurdles Friday.  Speed is beginning to permeate the Bronco roster, as Eric Capelle led a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the 100.  Capelle crossed the tape in 11.06 with Karrie Butler second at 11:09, followed by Edidiong Essien (11.10) and Justin Maines (11.11).

Coach J.W. Hardy has high hopes for his team's prospects in the 400 this year, and Jeff Daw (49.57), Manoah Wesson (49.65) and Dusty Klein (49.91) finished 1-2-3 yesterday.  Austin Edwards won the 800 (1:57.44) with teammate Quinten Hennekam second in 1:47.58.  Trevor Kraychir has his eyes on reaching the NCAA National Championships in the hammer, and he began that quest with a throw of 198-5.  Boise State's Alex Nelson was second (188-5).

Sawyer Bosch and his mates weren't able to top Utah State at the WAC Indoor Championships, but he was able to easily beat the top runners in Idaho in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.  Bosch completed the distance in 9:27.6.  Boise State also won both relays with a time of 43.10 in the 4 x 100 and a mark of 3:25.87 in the 4 x 400.

The Bronco women also dominated the 100 by earning the top six places.  Destiny Gammage captured first in 12.09.  Heidi Dorling won the pole vault, clearing 11-5.75, Alexi Morton took the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.34 and the Bronco 4 x 100 relay team broke the tape in 47.57.

Gammage takes first place

Of the Bronco marks, only those posted by Eetu Viitala in the long jump (25 feet, giving him the top mark in the WAC), Wesson's 200 time of 21.69 Friday, Trammel's time. of 14.34 and 52.47 in the two hurdles, Daniel Thompson (15-5) in the pole vault and the Bronco men's 1600-meter relay team rank in the top three in the WAC.

The competition level goes up considerably next weekend when Boise State goes to the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State in Tempe.  Some Bronco team members will compete at the Mesa Classic at Mesa Community College instead.