Softball stay in first place, take series win over Boise State

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SDSU Athletics/Derrick Tuskan

Freshman AJ Murphy reacts to a pitch during SDSU’s match against Nevada from April 1-3. (Photo Courtesy of SDSU Athletics)

by Isabella Kunde, Contributor

Game one: SDSU 2, Boise State 6

The San Diego State Aztecs (29-12, 13-2 Mountain West Conference) fell short in the series opener against the Boise State Broncos (28-10, 7-5 MWC), losing 6-2 this past Thursday night at home. 

The Broncos came out swinging in the first inning with junior Kelsey Hall and senior Eliyah Flores getting back-to-back doubles. Aztec senior pitcher Maggie Balint was able to get out of the inning by striking out two batters and got a little help from her defense with an infield play for the final out of the inning. 

SDSU answered the call in the bottom of the first as sophomore Jillian Celis and senior Alexa Schultz got on base. Senior Danielle Romanello brought Celis home on an RBI single for the first SDSU run.

The second and third innings were quiet for SDSU offensively, while Boise State scored two more runs to advance their lead. 

Senior Taylor Adams hit her fourth home run of the season in the fourth inning, cutting the Broncos’ lead in half. 

The Aztecs got momentum in the sixth inning, loading the bases with no outs and getting contributions from Romanello, Murphy and Brocki. Despite their promising advantage, Boise State’s defense kept the Scarlet and Black at bay, denying them any opportunity to score. 

Boise State brought in their final run of the game off a home run from Lalor. 

The Aztecs had a hard time bringing runners home this match, leaving eight runners stranded. They finished 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and were 0-for-2 with bases loaded. 

Game two: SDSU 3, Boise State 2

It was a battle of the pitchers in an intense thirteen inning showdown between the Aztecs and the Broncos. 

Balint collected twelve strikeouts while allowing only two runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter. This was Balint’s eleventh double-digit strikeout game of the season, reaching two-hundred and nine strikeouts on the season. 

Reliever Dee Dee Hernandez had her fair share of action in this match, allowing only three hits and a walk while collecting three strikeouts in five scoreless innings. 

Both teams were offensively dormant in the first two innings, keeping the score tied at zero. The Aztecs finally scored in the third as sophomore Macey Keester got on base and sophomore Mac Barbra sent a long double off the wall to bring Keester home. Celis also collected an RBI single, making the score 2-0. 

Balint’s stellar pitching caused two easy outs in the bottom of the sixth, but Bronco sophomore Kelsey Lalor turned things around with a two-run homer to tie the game. 

Neither team was an offensive threat again until the twelfth inning when freshman Bella Espinoza singled for the Aztecs and made it to second on a stolen base. SDSU, however, was unable to capitalize

The Aztecs’ game-winning run came in the thirteenth inning. Schultz singled up the middle and advanced to second on a stolen base. Adams singled to right and brought Schultz home to win the game for the Aztecs. 

Game 3: SDSU 3, Boise State 2

Four pitchers and one offensive inning is what it took for the Aztecs to win the final game and capture the series. 

SDSU loaded the bases in the bottom of the third inning but left the runners stranded. However, their offensive momentum carried into the fourth inning, where the Scarlet and Black scored three times. The Scarlet and Black loaded the bases again in the fourth to set up the power-hitting Barbra. Barbra ripped one in the infield gap, bringing two runners in. Senior Jessica Cordola hit a single up the middle bringing home the third run for the Aztecs. 

The Broncos answered in the fifth inning and scored again in the sixth — taking advantage of two infield errors by SDSU. Balint walked a batter with the bases loaded, bringing in a run for the Broncos to make the score 3-2. Balint was able to close out the inning with two pop flies. 

Junior Dani Martinez was the starting pitcher for the Aztecs and was perfect for two innings. Allie Light came in on relief and struck out three batters. Hernandez joined the game in the fifth inning, giving up two runs and three hits. Balint collected two strikeouts, one hit and one walk to record her fifth save of the season.