April 6, 2015
BOISE, Idaho - Boise State (8-28, 0-6 MW) aims to heat up the table this week in Las Vegas as it takes on UNLV (17-20, 3-6 MW) in a three-game midweek series. The Broncos will buy in for Tuesday's (April 7) doubleheader with games set for 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. MT, and finish its run Wednesday at 1 p.m. MT at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium.
Boise State is 6-5 all-time against UNLV, dating back to 2010. The schools met twice in non-conference play (in 2010 and 2011) prior to Boise State joining the Mountain West, with UNLV capturing both contests. However, since joining the MW, Boise State has gone 6-3 against the Rebels, capturing two of the three series. UNLV, though, took the last series with a pair of wins in Boise from April 4-6 last season.
UNLV (17-20, 3-6 MW) captured its first series of the Mountain West season last weekend, rebounding from a loss in the opener to take two of three at Utah State. The Rebels dropped Thursday's opener, 9-8, then captured a pair of wild contests Friday and Saturday, beating the Aggies, 14-12 and 8-6, respectively.
UNLV is led by the bats of junior shortstop Garie Blando (.385, 47 hits, 12 doubles, seven HR, 27 RBI), junior catcher Emily Haslinger (.321, 25 hits, five HR, 18 RBI) and senior outfielder Samantha Juarez (.350, 36 hits, eight doubles, four HR, 13 RBI).
In the circle, Morgan Ettinger is 7-8 with a 3.92 ERA and 31 strikeouts while Kwyn Cooper is 6-3 with a 3.54 ERA and 34 strikeouts.
Last Week's Outings
Boise State was swept for the second series in a row last weekend, and for the third straight time in conference play dating back to last season as San Diego State took all three games at Dona Larsen Park.
The Aztecs scored in the first inning of all three games, putting the Broncos into early holes. Boise State fought back valiantly Friday and Sunday, but couldn't finish the comebacks in losses of 6-4 and 10-6, respectively, while Saturday the Aztec bats were just too much in a 16-2, five-inning win.
Some bright spots for the Broncos included seniors Jordan Kreiger (1.000 OBP in six plate appearances, including a 3-for-3 hitting effort), Buggs Torrez (4-10, HR, 3 RBI) and Lindsey Nicholson (3-6, RBI), in addition to the power of freshmen Sara Ketelslsger (.625, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) and Shaelee Pearson (5-10, two 2B, two HR, two RBI).
Beating The House
One sentiment often expressed in Las Vegas is that a push is a win for the player, and for the Broncos that means they have been winners against the Rebels in Las Vegas. The teams have met four times in Las Vegas all-time and have split those meetings, or "pushed," to use Vegas parlance.
This weekend's three-game series will break the tie, as the Broncos aim to repeat the victory they claimed in the last series against the Rebels in Vegas, capturing two of three from May 3-5, 2013.
Looking For A Hot Streak
Boise State's conference slate has gotten off to a cold start, but the Broncos know that all it takes is a hot hand to get things back onto the positive side.
Last year, the Broncos opened Mountain West play 2-5, which included being swept at Colorado State. From there, Boise State won 13 of its next 14 games to get into a first-place tie atop the conference table heading into the final series of the season.
If the Broncos can put the first two weekends out of their minds, they can write a similar story to last season and overcome the slow start.
Seniors Getting The Job Done
Boise State's seniors put together a strong weekend despite the sweep at the hands of San Diego State.
Shortstop Jordan Kreiger reached base in all six of her plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, being hit by a pitch and scoring twice. Infielder/outfielder Lindsey Nicholson batted .500, going 3-for-6 with an RBI while catcher Buggs Torrez batted .400 (4-for-10) with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
Meanwhile, redshirt senior Devon Bridges remains Boise State's top hitter among those qualified with enough plate appearances, batting .347 with five doubles and three home runs along with a team-high 22 walks. Bridges also ranks 10th in the Mountain West with a .475 on-base percentage.
The Broncos Play Some Power Ball
Another highlight of last weekend's series against San Diego State was the return of the home run for Boise State.
The Broncos had hit just two home runs over their previous nine games before beginning the San Diego State series, but against the Aztecs Boise State went deep four times over three games, including thrice in Sunday's finale.
Freshman Shaelee Pearson led off the Bronco first inning with a home run twice, pulling the feat on Friday and Sunday. Fellow rookie Sara Ketelsleger hit a two-run homer in Sunday's 10-6 loss, her second round-tripper of the season and first since Feb. 6.
Bridges Closes In On Hits Record
Redshirt senior Devon Bridges enters this week's series just three hits away from becoming Boise State's all-time leader. The current record of 216 is held by Tara Glover (2012-14).
So far this year Bridges leads the team with a .347 batting average and 34 hits, including five doubles and three home runs.