Broncos Advance To Title Game
May 17, 2017
OGDEN, Utah - Facing a team that had taken two of three from them earlier in the season, this time in a win-or-go-home situation at the National Invitational Softball Championship, Boise State head coach Cindy Ball handed the ball, and the Bronco season, to Mackenzie McGill for the start Wednesday in Ogden, Utah, and the fourth-year senior flourished. McGill allowed just two runs on four hits and struck out three as the Broncos beat the Aggies, 10-2 in six innings, to advance to the Ogden Regional title game.
There, the Broncos will face host Weber State for the second time this week, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. Thursday. The Broncos will need to defeat the Wildcats twice to win the regional and advance to the NISC Championship Series, scheduled for May 21-24. Should the Broncos win Thursday's first game, the second and deciding game for the regional will be played immediately afterward.
"They're a very special group, a tough group that is playing well together. It's awesome to see so many people shine," said Boise State head coach Cindy Ball about her team claiming two games to keep the season alive. "Executing that part of the defensive plan the way we did was great. Our defense was ready for the ball and getting the double plays was huge for us. It gets us back in the dugout even quicker."
After beating San Diego, 7-3, earlier in the day to stay alive, Boise State faced Utah State in a second elimination game Wednesday. The Broncos (32-19) were all over Utah State and starter April Brown from the jump, as Tatiana Sorokina led off the top of the first with a homer to left, and after a one-out double from Rebekah Cervantes, Makenzie Sullivan drove her in with the first of her two triples in the contest.
Utah State got to McGill for the only time in the game in the second inning, drawing even at 2-2 as Riley Plogger tripled in Sarina Jaramillo after a leadoff walk then came in on Brina Buttacavoli's RBI single.
That would be it for the Aggies, however, as McGill allowed just two more baserunners the rest of the way, with both being erased by double plays. Victoria Saucedo led off the third with a single, but was taken out on Paxton Provost's 5-4-3 double play, and from there McGill retired the next seven batters she faced. With Utah State trailing by eight in the sixth and needing a run to keep the game going, Saucedo walked to open the frame, but McGill induced another double-play ball to third from Provost, as Sorokina started the sequence. McGill then got Jaramillo to ground to short to end the contest and end her masterful performance.
McGill picked up her first win of the season and collected her first complete game since an 8-4 win at Texas Tech on March 20 of last year.
"Gilly was a great matchup against Utah State and pitched exactly as the game plan was," Ball said. "Our defense played very solid behind her, too."
McGill also got help from the Bronco bats, as Cervantes and Sullivan each had three hits in the contest. Sullivan had her two triples and hit her 10th home run of the season while driving in five runs in the game, and Cervantes went 3-for-4, coming up just a home run shy of the cycle. Cassidy Edwards was 2-for-4 and Corey Hendrickson hit a two-run homer in the contest.
"The rabbits got on when they needed to and our 'meat eaters' came up in clutch situations," Ball said. "They swung the bat well and looked for their pitch and stuck to their plan. It was a great thing to watch."
Sullivan and Hendrickson's homers each came in Boise State's five-run, game-opening third inning, as Sullivan slammed a three-run shot with one out to make it 5-2, and, after Edwards' single, Hendrickson followed with her own shot to center to put the Aggies in a 7-2 hole.
Morgan Lamb added a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and the Broncos got to the eight-run advantage in the sixth after Sullivan followed Cervantes' triple with her second of the day then scored on Edwards' RBI single to center.
Brown fell to 13-8 with the loss for Utah State, giving up six runs on six hits over two and a third innings, while reliever Jordyn McCracken fared no better, allowing four runs on seven hits over three and two-thirds innings.
Boise State 7, San Diego 3: Boise State kept its season, and its run in the NISC, alive Wednesday by beating San Diego, 7-3, in an elimination game in Ogden.
Sophomore Morgan Lamb's two-out, three-run blast put the Broncos in front for good at 4-2 in the top of the fourth, and Boise State added three runs over the final two innings to build the 7-3 lead that held up. Lamb's homer highlighted a 3-for-4, three-RBI day for the Bronco catcher.
Lamb also scored Boise State's first run of the day, leading off the third with a single before being advanced to second and third on sacrifice bunts from Tatiana Sorokina and Izzy Serrano, respectively, and brought in by Rebekah Cervantes' single to right-center.
After San Diego (22-24) answered with Olivia Sandusky's two-run homer with two away in the bottom half of the third off of Bronco starter Christina Washington, Lamb stepped into the box with Corey Hendrickson and Kora Wade on base. Lamb, after fouling off three-straight pitches and facing a full count, slammed Megan Sabbatini's next offering deep and out to left to put Boise State up 4-2.
Sabbatini would exit following the inning, falling to 16-11 on the year and allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts over four full.
San Diego pulled to within a run in the fifth as Sara Silveyra's two-out double scored Laity Coleman, but a fine defensive play from Cervantes at shortstop would prevent the Toreros from pulling even. After Silveyra took third on a passed ball from Paige Reimann and Sandusky walked, Lauren Kane hit a bouncer that appeared headed through the hole and into left field before Cervantes made a diving stop and fired to second in time to force Sandusky for the third out.
The Broncos got the run back right away in the sixth, as Wade led off the sixth with a single off of Delaney Heller, stole second and came in on Shaelee Pearson's single up the middle. Boise State added two more insurance runs in the seventh via an RBI single from Cassidy Edwards and a wild pitch from Laura Berriatua which allowed Edwards to score.
Reimann would pick up the win in relief for the Broncos, improving to 7-5 on the year after giving up just a run on two hits over three and one-third innings. Washington went the first three frames for the Broncos, striking out one while allowing two runs on three hits. Kelsey Broadus came on for Reimann with one out and one on in the seventh, getting the final two outs of the contest.
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