Broncos Draw Home Team In WAC Tournament

The 2003 Boise State football team lived by the motto "Prove It". That is also appropriate for the Bronco softball team this week in the WAC Tournament opener. After three wins against New Mexico State this season, the Lady Broncos must "Prove It" this Wednesday night against the Aggies on their home field.

Boise State swept through the 2010 softball season, posting series wins over all but two Western Athletic Conference teams to finish third in the conference.

As their reward, the Lady Broncos will play the home team in their WAC Tournament opener in Las Cruces Wednesday night with all of the Aggie fans against them.

Boise State defeated New Mexico State 8-2, 6-4 and 4-1 this season but the only one that counts will be the game Wednesday in New Mexico.  The Aggies sport the league's second-best team batting average at .316.  That statistic, coupled with the home field advantage makes this a tough game indeed for Coach Erin Thorpe's crew.  It gets scary when you see that the home team scored 28 runs in a single game earlier this year.  And yet that is the team the Broncos must play despite all their accomplishments.

New Mexico State is second only to nationally-ranked Hawai'i in home runs with 60 and second in fielding percentage to Fresno State.  They are second to Hawai'i in slugging percentage (.495), second to the Rainbow Wahine in runs scored (305) and tied with Hawai'i for the league lead in on-base percentage (.399). 

First baseman Hoku Nohara had one of the best seasons in the WAC.  Nohara knocked in a league-leading 57 runs while blasting 14 home runs and hitting a sizzling .371.  Shortstop Kylie Randall finished third in the conference in hits with 65, batted .357 (7th) and was the runaway stolen bases champion with 28.  Leftfielder Tiare Jennings (nine homers, .345 average and 45 runs scored (4th in the WAC) and centerfielder Kandis Jones (.345) add to the challenging Aggie lineup that the Broncos must face Wednesday night.  Kathy Cox, meanwhile, is the only Bronco ranked in the top 15 in hitting (10th,.353).

Ashley Moroda (.305 with 10 HR's and 29 RBI's) will play the hot corner for the Aggies while Tehani Kaaihue (.310) is the second baseman.  Lauren Morizi (.281) will be in right.

The Lady Aggies also boast the top pitcher on both rosters--reliever Alex Newman, who finished third in the WAC with a stingy 2.15 ERA.

Torrey Schroeder (10-10, 5.74)or Sydney Williard (6-5, 4.99) will likely get the start for the home team  Schroeder leads the Aggies in allowing opponents a .272 batting average and has 56 strikeouts on the season.  Schroeder also allowed a team-high 73 walks and threw 19 wild pitches in the regular season.   

Although the tournament format is double-elimination, the pressure is certainly on as the winner has a distinct advantage later in the tournament.  The winner of the Bronco-Aggie contest will face #2-seed Fresno State while the loser will play Thursday afternoon in a losers-out game. 

First pitch is at 7 p.m. in Las Cruces.  The complete WAC Tournament bracket can be viewed here:


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