Aztecs Fly by Boise State 9-1 with 7-Run First Inning

SDSU 9, Boise State 1 Opens in a new window

BOISE, Idaho – Top-seeded regular season champions San Diego State softball began the Mountain West Championship on Thursday evening with a game against the fifth-seeded host Boise State Broncos. The Aztecs scored six runs before getting out once as part of a seven-run first inning on their way to a run rule, five inning 9-1 victory to advance to the winner's bracket.
The Aztecs wasted no time getting on the board. The newly crowned Mountain West Co-Player of the Year, Mac Barbara homered to right-center on the third pitch of the game. After a walk by Alyssa Garcia and a Katie Goldberg single, Cali Decker hit a home run of her own to right-center to make it a 4-0 ballgame. That homer chased Boise State starter Taylor Caudill after just twelve pitches and no outs. Jenna Bloom came on for the Broncos to replace the All-Mountain West First Team selection. Angie Yellen walked, and AJ Murphy homered to right field as the Aztecs extended their lead to 6-0, still without an out. Three of the next four hitters walked and Garcia singled back up the middle to score Lala Macario from third to cap the seven-run inning.
Boise State scored a run of their own in the second. Alycia Flores led off with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball. After a walk put runners on the corners, Aztec starter Cece Cellura picked up a strikeout. Shortstop Hollie Farmer singled through the left side to make it 7-1, putting runners on first and second. Cellura was able to induce a 6-4-3 double play by Leah McAnally to escape the frame without any more damage.
Cellura worked around a pair of singles in the third but held the Broncos scoreless.
In the bottom of the inning, Bella Espinoza had a one-out single, meaning every Aztec in the starting lineup reached base. On the next pitch, Barbara hit another home run, this time to center to stretch the SDSU lead to eight runs. She extended her hot streak, as Barbara is 5-6 with four home runs and seven RBIs over her last two games (nine total innings). Boise State pulled Bloom later in the inning, ending her day with 2 2/3 innings, five runs and four hits allowed and five walks. Abby Dowell replaced her and kept the Aztecs off the board over the final 1 1/3 innings.
The eight-run lead would be all the Aztecs needed as Cellura pitched another scoreless inning in the fourth. In her four innings, she allowed no earned runs while striking out three Broncos.
SDSU threatened again in the bottom of the fourth. Yellen walked again to lead off the inning and was replaced on the basepaths by Elianna Reyes. After a strikeout, Macario singled through the right side as Reyes moved to third. Macario stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but pinch-hitter Jade Ignacio and Espinoza were unable to drive them in.
Cassidy West came in for the fifth inning to try and end the game. West retired the first two hitters before a two-out walk kept the game alive. The next hitter, Jordyn Hutchins, grounded out to second to end the game.
San Diego State's three home runs in the first inning marked the first time they accomplished the feat since March 4, 2017, when Jenavee Peres, Katie Byrd and Jaylene Ignacio (Jade's sister) each homered in the first inning in a 10-4 win over Miami of Ohio.
Between the second out of the fourth inning last Saturday and the first out of the first inning on Thursday, the Aztecs scored 16 runs while only getting out four times. During that stretch, SDSU had 11 hits and nine walks as 25 hitters came to the plate.
The Aztecs won in fewer than seven innings due to the run-rule for the second consecutive game. The last time that SDSU was able to do that was on April 14-15, 2017, with both wins coming over New Mexico.
Top-seeded SDSU moves on to the winner's bracket, where it will face third-seeded Nevada at noon MT/ 11 a.m. PT on Friday in Boise, Idaho. The Aztecs won 5-4 in the teams' lone tournament meeting, which came last season.
San Diego State 9, Boise State 1
Boise State (34-22)               010 00X X – 1 6 0
San Diego State (29-18)       702 0XX X – 9 8 0
W – Cellura, 8-5; L – Caudill, 17-13
HR: Barbara, SDSU (12, 13); Decker, SDSU (2); Murphy, SDSU (3).