May 2, 2013
Boise State softball hits the road for the ninth and final time in the regular season with a three-game Mountain West series at UNLV May 3-5, in Las Vegas. The Broncos and Rebels will face off Friday at 6 p.m. (PT), Saturday at 1 p.m. (PT) and Sunday at noon (PT).
Boise State enters the weekend one game behind UNLV in the conference standings. The Broncos took two of three from Colorado State to improve to 5-7 and remain alive in the MW title race. They will likely need a sweep to stay in contention. The Rebels won their last series at Nevada and sit at 6-6 in the conference with a trip to MW-leading San Diego State on the horizon to finish the season.
UNLV ranks in the bottom half of the conference in nearly every category, offensive and pitching, but remains one game ahead of Boise State in the Mountain West standings.
The Broncos swept UNLV last season in a three-game series at home. Boise State won the opener 3-2, with two runs in the seventh. A 7-5 win in the middle game was less dramatic, but it took back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning of the finale to pick up a 5-4 victory for the sweep. The Broncos are 3-10-1 all-time in Las Vegas, including a 0-1 mark against UNLV. Since joining the Mountain West Boise State is 4-8 on the road in conference play, having won just one series.
The Broncos will return home May 9-11, to face Nevada in the final games of the regular season.
Live audio will be available for free on the Bronco Digital Network. Live stats can be found at BroncoSports.com on the softball schedule page. For in-depth, in-game coverage follow the Broncos 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 are 21-24-1 on the season, coming off consecutive series wins against conference-leading San Diego State and Colorado State.
The Broncos have been led by a veteran presence in the first 46 games. Juniors Devon Bridges and Tara Glover and senior Holly Bourke are once again atop nearly every offensive category, all hitting better than .340.
Bridges is the top offensive threat with eight home runs and 43 RBI, nearly double the number of runs driven in by the next highest Bronco (23). She leads the team with a .383 average. Bridges also paces the Mountain West with 13 multi-RBI games and has a team-high 19 multi-hit games.
Glover leads the sqaud with 58 hits and is second on the team batting .352 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 23-for-24 on stolen bases, surpassing her own single-season school record.
Bourke is reaching base at an astoundig clip this season. Bourke owns a .476 on-base percentage (second in the MW) with 47 hits and 31 walks. She has reached base safely in 41 of the 46 games this season, getting a hit in 30 of them.
Freshman Makenna Weir has supplied the most consistent new bat. Weir has a .274 batting average. Her 20 walks, 21 RBI, three home runs and seven doubles, rank in the top four on the team in each category. She has started at five different positions this season.
The pitching staff is led by junior transfer Rebecca Patton's 10-10 record and 3.16 earned-run average. Patton has been named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week twice this year. She has struck out 98 and walked 48 in 135.1 innings this season. Senior Lela Work and sophomore Kenzie Cole have also shared time in the circle. Cole has pitched 83 innings and has a 6-7 record and one save. Work is 5-7 with a save in 78.2 innings.
Boise State has gotten 134 starts out of its freshmen, starting at least three freshmen in 34 of the 46 games. Another 55 starts have come from transfers.
UNLV | 20-26 (6-6 MW)
The Rebels are led by Stefany Valentino's conference-leading .413 batting average. Valentino has upped her game in MW play, batting .500 with 21 hits in 12 games. Tayler Aleman and Pauline Monreal are the top power hitters. Aleman has eight home runs, whie Monreal has five to go along with 13 doubles. They are tied for the team lead with 29 RBI.
UNLV's Amanda Oliveto is arguably the top pitcher in the Mountain West. Oliveto has appeared in 37 of the Rebels' 46 games, starting 32 of them. She has a 2.63 ERA in 199.1 innings, including four shutouts among 22 complete games. Oliveto, a junior, threw her fourth-career no-hitter earlier this season en route to earning her first of three MW Pitcher of the Week awards in 2013. Francesca Foti is the only other Rebel to pitch in conference play. Foti has a .407 batting average against in MW games.
UNLV was picked to finish sixth in the MW in the preseason coaches' poll. First-year head coach Lisa Dodd took over a team returning seven starters from last year's fourth-place team.
All-Time Series: Boise State leads 3-2
Boise State Streak: Won 3
Around the Conference
The Mountain West title race will begin to clear up when San Diego State (8-4) visits Colorado State (7-5). The winner of the series will be in the driver seat in the last weekend of conference play.
New Mexico (3-9) is the only team that has been eliminated from title contention but can play spoiler the next two weekends, starting with a trip to Fresno State (8-7). The Bulldogs will become the first team to complete their Mountatin West schedule this weekend. A series win will keep their championship hopes alive.
Nevada (8-7) has the weekend off before visiting Boise State at Dona Larsen Park to close the season. A series that can still have title implications based on this weekend's results.
Colorado State takes on in-state foe Northern Colorado Wednesday, in a game postponed from earlier this season.
Last Time Out
Boise State took two out of three from Colorado State April 19-21, for its ninth-consecutive conference series victory at home. The Broncos won game one in nine innings before clinching the series win with a 5-2 victory. The Rams managed to avoid a sweep with a 5-4 win in the finale.
Bridges Breaks Home Run Record
Boise State junior Devon Bridges scorched a solo home run over the scoreboard at Dona Larsen Park April 28, to become the all-time home run leader at Boise State. Bridges' 38th-career homer surpassed the previous mark of 37 held by Christina Capobianco (2009-12).
Patton Pitcher of the Week, Again
Redshirt junior Rebecca Patton was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week for the week ending April 21. Patton started both of Boise State's wins against then-conference leader San Diego State April 20 and 21, at Dona Larsen Park. Patton was 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA in 10.2 innings. She allowed four runs (two earned) on just nine hits and one walk. It was her second MW honor of the season.
Bourke the All-Time Hits Leader
Boise State senior Holly Bourke singled through the right side in the sixth inning April 13, at Fresno State for her 174th-career hit, surpassing Kellie Caplan's school record. Bourke is now at 185 for her career, looking to become the first Bronco to reach the 200-hit plateau.
Locks of Love Donations
Fresno State softball hosted a Locks of Love donation event after the April 13, game between the Broncos and Bulldogs. Boise State head coach Erin Thorpe and freshman Maddy Foster joined in to donate 10 inches of their hair. Their hair will be used to create hair pieces for children with medical conditions which prevent them from growing hair.
Junior Tara Glover is 23-for-24 on stolen base attempts this season. The 23 thefts surpass Glover's own single-season record (18; 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 41 bases in her two seasons as a Bronco. She is second in career steals at Boise State (Kellie Caplan, 46).
Stolen bases and home runs are not the only records on watch this season. Devon Bridges is also closing in on Capobianco's runs batted in mark. Holly Bourke is eyeing the games played and started records. A complete list of the career and season records in jeopardy is available on page three of the game notes.
Cole's New Role
Sophomore pitcher Kenzie Cole has taken on the role of reliever for Boise State lately. Cole has appeared in 11 of the last 16 games for the Broncos, 10 coming out of the bullpen. She has tossed 34.1 innings over that stretch with a 1.83 ERA and a 3-1 record with one save...Cole has appeared in nine conference games (eight in relief), allowing just nine earned runs in 28.2 innings for a 2.20 ERA, fourth in the Mountain West...On the season, Cole has pitched in 13 games in relief, holding a 1.88 ERA. In her nine starts she has a 7.05 ERA.
Bourke Getting Aboard
Senior Holly Bourke has a .476 on-base percentage for the season. Bourke has 47 hits and has drawn 31 walks. She has reached safely in 36 of the last 38 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 mini-streak was started by a 4-for-4 game Feb. 17 against Rutgers.
Freshman Makenna Weir has reached base safely in 35 of the 42 games she has appeared. Weir is hitting .274 for the year and has drawn 20 walks to reach base at a .384 clip. She is in the top four on the team in doubles (seven), homers (three) and RBI (21). 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. Weir has also started at eight different positions in the batting order.
Broncos in the RPI
Boise State checks in at No. 135 in the most recent RPI ratings (April 29). This week's opponent, UNLV, is No. 103...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.
Barnes, Bourke and Bridges have become a lethal combination for the Bronco offense. The trio leads the way for Boise State in nearly every offensive category. Junior Devon Bridges paces the Broncos in batting average (.383), slugging percentage (.624), homers (eight) and RBI (43). Senior Holly Bourke has the top on-base percentage (.476) and is hitting .348. Bourke has 47 hits and 31 walks on the year. She ranks 53rd in the country drawing 0.67 walks per game. Freshman Sarah Barnes has 24 hits with four home runs and a .297 on-base percentage and 15 RBI.
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
Four active Broncos have more than 100 hits during their Boise State careers. Holly Bourke (185) and Devon Bridges (164) each reached the milestone as sophomores. Bourke, now a senior, broke the school's all-time hits record April 13 at Fresno State...Tara Glover has 201 hits during her collegiate career, 146 coming as a Bronco. Junior Mackenzie Whyte (108) entered the century club with a three-hit game April 5, at New Mexico.
Memorable First Hits
Freshmen Ashley Palmer and Sarah Barnes hit back-to-back home runs Feb. 9, against Northwestern. Not only were they the first home runs of their collegiate careers, for each of them it was their first-career hits...Palmer and Barnes are the first Broncos to homer for their first-career hits.