Broncos Open MW Play at New Mexico

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
Tara Glover has 27 hits in the last 15 games.

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
Tara Glover has 27 hits in the last 15 games.
GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

April 4, 2013

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Boise State softball travels to New Mexico for its conference-opening series Friday through Sunday, in Albuquerque, N.M. The Broncos and Lobos will play one game each day.

Boise State (16-17-1, 0-0 MW) is opening its second season in the Mountain West and is coming off a second-place dinish in 2012. The Broncos have swept all four conference opening series in program history.

New Mexico (16-23, 0-3 MW) is looking for its first conference win after suffering a sweep at San Diego State. The Lobos have dropped their last seven MW games, dating to last season.

Two games in the series were changed from their original start times. The series opener was moved to 3 p.m. (originally 6 p.m.), to accommodate another event on the New Mexico campus. The finale was pushed up an hour to the noon first pitch to better fit the Broncos' travel arrangements.

Live audio and stats will be available for each game. Find links on the softball schedule page at BroncoSports.com. New Mexico is providing a live video stream at GoLobos.com, available for a subscription. For in-depth, in-game coverage follow on Twitter @BroncoSportsSB.

About the Broncos
Boise State softball is in its fifth season and second in the Mountain West. Head coach Erin Thorpe and the Broncos bring back five starters among the 10 returning letterwinners from their 2012 squad that went 34-20 and finished second in the Mountain West.

The Broncos enter MW play 16-17-1 on the season, including a 6-2-1 mark in their last nine games.

The Broncos were led during nonconference play by a veteran presence. Juniors Devon Bridges and Tara Glover and senior Holly Bourke are once again at the top of nearly every offensive category including the top three batting averages, all .333 or better.

Bridges is the top run-producing threat with six home runs and 34 RBI, nearly double the number of runs driven in by the next highest Bronco (18). She is second on the team with a .360 average and 40 hits. Bridges also paces the Broncos with 14 multi-hit performances and 11 multi-RBI games.

Glover leads the sqaud with a .395 batting average and 47 hits. She has been on fire the last 15 games, hitting .500 over that stretch as she continues to return to last year's form when she batted .476 and led the country with 88 hits during the regular season. The junior leadoff hitter is also 18-for-19 on stolen bases, tying her own single-season school record.

Bourke is reaching base at an astoundig clip this season. Bourke owns a .492 on-base percentage (tops in the MW) with 31 hits and 27 walks. She has reached base safely in 29 of the 34 games this season, getting a hit in 20 of them.

Freshman Makenna Weir has supplied the most consistent new bat. Weir has a .310 batting average, .412 on-base percentage, 14 walks, 18 RBI, three home runs and seven doubles, ranking in the top four on the team in each category. She has started at five different positions in her debut season.

The pitching staff is led by junior transfer Rebecca Patton's 8-6 record and 3.83 earned run average. Patton was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week earlier this season. She has struck out 69 and walked 40 in 95 innings this season. Senior Lela Work and sophomore Kenzie Cole have also shared time in the circle. Work is 4-5 with on save in 67.1 innings. Cole has pitched 54.1 innings and has a 4-6 record.

Boise State has gotten 100 starts out of its freshmen, starting at least three freshmen in 24 of the 34 games. Another 38 starts have come from transfers.

Scouting Report
New Mexico
Hitting
New Mexico is hitting .235 as a squad and averaging 2.8 runs per game. The Lobos are led by freshman outfielder Mariah Rimmer's .341 batting average. Rimmer, rated the No. 8 outfielder of the 2012 recruiting class by ESPN.com, has lived up to the billing with 43 hits, 24 runs, and 21 steals- all team highs. She also has four doubles and a pair of home runs. The top returner from 2012, Chelsea Anaya, was lost for the season in early March. Anaya had a .367 batting average at the time of her injury.

Pitching
The Lobo pitching staff has a 3.74 earned run average and a combined 170:133 K:BB ratio in 247.1 innings. Freshman Lauren Soles leads the way at 7-10 with a 2.69 ERA over 93.2 innings. Senior Kaela DeBroeck is 4-6 with a 2.77 ERA.

Season Outlook
New Mexico was picked to finish fifth in the Mountain West after a 2-10 campaign in league play last season. The Lobos returned 12 letterwinners but had to replace five starters from a team that started 2012 with a 17-2 mark and climbed into the top 25. The 2012 Lobos led the country in home runs, including two of the top five individuals natinoally. Neither returned for the 2013 season.

All-Time Series:Boise State leads 2-1
Boise State Streak: Won 2

Around the Conference
Preseason favorite San Diego State (3-0) travels to conference newcomer Nevada (1-2)for the Wolf Pack's first Mountain West home series. The Aztecs' Rebecca Arbino was last week's Pitcher of the Week, earning all three wins in SDSU's sweep of New Mexico.

Fresno State (2-1) visits UNLV (0-3) in its first conference road trip as a MW member. The Bulldogs came from behind in the finale to win the series against Nevada last week. The Rebels were outscored 35-17 in being swept at Colorado State.

Colorado State (3-0) has the bye this weekend, but is not taking a week off. The Rams travel to No. 9/10 Texas A&M for a three-game series this weekend.

In midweek action Nevada split a doubleheader at Sacramento State and San Diego State beat visiting San Diego Wednesday.

Broncos in the RPI
Boise State checks in at No. 120 in the most recent RPI ratings (April 1), up four spots from the initial release.

The Broncos finished 2012 ranked No. 57 in the Ratings Percentage Index, the best finish in school history. The Broncos peaked at No. 49 during the season, also an all-time high.

Tara-ing the Cover Off the Ball
Junior Tara Glover is heating up headed into conference play. Glover is hitting .500 in the last 15 games with 27 hits over that span, hitting safely in 13 of the games. During that time she has hit two home runs, a triple and three doubles, scored 17 times and stolen nine bases (including six in the last five games). The 2012 Third Team All-American is currently riding a six-game hitting streak, with a four-hit performance in the last outing, her second this year.

Base Thief
Junior Tara Glover is 18-for-19 on stolen base attempts this season. The 18 thefts matches Glover's own single-season record (2012). She tied the single-game school record with three steals against Texas Tech (March 23-game two).

Her only caught stealing of the season came after oversliding the bag at second, March 24, against Tulsa. Before that she was 15-for-15, the best start to a season in school history. It snapped a string of 17-consecutive successful steals, also a school record.

Glover has stolen 36 bases in her two seasons as a Bronco. She is second in career steals at Boise State (Kellie Caplan, 46).

Record Chasers
Stolen bases aren't the only Boise State records on watch the rest of this season. The next home run for Devon Bridges will be the 37th of her career, tying the all-time mark (Christina Capobianco). A complete list of the career and season records in jeopardy are on the right.

Boise State in Conference Openers
The Broncos have started their conference seasons off right every year. After sweeping UNLV to open its time in the Mountain West, Boise State has scored three-game sweeps in league openers in each of the program's first four seasons. The Broncos opened Western Athletic Conference play during their inaugural 2009 season with three road wins at Utah State. In 2010, Boise State welcomed New Mexico State to Mountain Cove Softball Field by taking all three games. The 2011 league slate started with three wins against Nevada.

Broncos Picked Fourth in Preseason Poll
The Mountain West head coaches picked Boise State to finish fourth in the conference...The Broncos received one first-place vote and 23 total points to finish behind defending champion San Diego State (35), Colorado State (28) and newcomer Fresno State (26). Boise State placed ahead of New Mexico (15), UNLV (12) and first-year member Nevada (eight points)...Boise State was picked to finish third in last season's poll. The Broncos finished 8-4 in league play to take second, one game out of first place.

Bourke Getting Aboard
Senior Holly Bourke has a .492 on-base percentage for the season. Bourke has 31 hits and has drawn 27 walks. She has reached safely in 24 of the last 26 games and 52-of-98 plate appearances (.531) in those games, starting Feb. 16 at UTSA. The span included a streak of reaching in seven-straight trips to the dish between Feb. 17 and 22. That streak was started by a 4-for-4 game Feb. 17 against Rutgers.

Consistent Makenna
Freshman Makenna Weir has reached base safely in 26 of the 31 games she has appeared. Weir is hitting .310 for the year and has drawn 14 walks to reach base at a .412 clip. She leads the team with seven doubles and is second with 18 RBI. Weir's versatility has also allowed the Broncos flexibility. The freshman has already made a start at five different positions this season, seeing time at catcher, second base, third base, left field and designated player.

Work-ed Her Way into the Lineup
Junior Lela Work has seen her name in the batting order the last eight games, and she has taken full advantage. Work is hitting .364 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 22 at bats. The senior entered the year with eight-career hits in 38 at bats, but was inserted in the lineup for the first time March 17, against Portland State and responded with her first hit since Feb. 10, 2011.

Brilliant Hitting Per-FOUR-mances
Senior Holly Bourke, freshman Sarah Barnes and juniors Devon Bridges and Tara Glover (twice) have each tied the single-game school record with four hits this season. Bourke's four-hit game came Feb. 17, against Rutgers in 4-for-4 fashion. It was the second four-hit game of her career, becoming the second Bronco in school history to accomplish the feat twice (Laeha Hill). Barnes duplicated the effort with a 4-for-4 game of her own Feb. 24, against San Diego. She became the second Bronco freshman with four hits in a game. Her game also included a home run, making her the second Bronco to have a four-hit game include a homer. Bridges was 4-for-5 March 2, against UCLA. She also drew a walk, becoming the first Bronco to reach base safely five times in a game. Glover was 4-for-4 against Idaho State Feb. 16, at home. She duplicated the effort March 26 at Southern Utah (game two) to become the first Bronco with three four-hit games in her career. The Broncos are 1-4 in games someone has four hits this season.

Hundred Hit Club
Three active Broncos have more than 100 hits during their Boise State careers. Holly Bourke (169) and Devon Bridges (147) each reached the milestone as sophomores. Bourke, now a senior, is just four hits shy of the school record (Kellie Caplan, 173; 2009-12)...Tara Glover has 190 hits during her collegiate career, 135 coming as a Bronco. Junior Mackenzie Whyte is sitting at 97 career hits and is on the verge of becoming the third Bronco to reach the mark.