Bengal Softball Sweeps Bears
Story by Jerek Wolcott-ISU Sports Information
POCATELLO, Idaho- Idaho State and Northern Colorado came into Saturday's softball doubleheader tied for third in the Big Sky Conference. Idaho State won the first game, 12-0, in five innings and the second game 9-8 to jump into sole possession of the second spot in the Big Sky.
Hailey Breakwell was four -for -five with four RBIs and three runs scored. Vicky Galasso was five-for-seven with a RBI and five runs scored and Maddy Hickman was three -for-five with four RBIs to pace the Idaho State bats.
The strong outing by Galasso was encouraging. She struggled in the first few weeks of Big Sky play. Head coach Julie Wright knew that Galasso would again find her stride.
"Vicky is a great hitter and a hitter like that isn't going to be kept down," Wright said. "We worked on some mechanical things and she is hitting really well right now."
Breakwell continued her hot streak. Over the last two weeks she is hitting 16-for-23 (.696).
"Breakwell is just insane right now," Wright said. "She is finding the right pitch and battling when she needs to. She is hot and we are going to ride this streak out."
Katee Wiley and Terah Blackwell had only one hit each but both were home runs. Wiley hit a grand slam in the first game, her first home run of the season. Blackwell had a two run blast in the second game.
The two top home run teams in the Big Sky conference didn't disappoint. Idaho State had four jacks while UNC answered with three of their own, all in the second game.
Haley Douglas earned a complete game shutout in the first game, a save in the second game and finished with a 0.00 ERA. She allowed three hits in 5.2 innings pitched with three strikeouts.
"Haley had a really good week of practice," Wright said. "Her approach and thought process was the difference. She had her mind right and when she has her mind right she is really hard to beat."
Idaho State 12, Northern Colorado 0 (Five Innings)
The Bear defense struggled to get their feet under them in the first inning as the Bengals scored three runs on two hits and four errors.
Kacie Burnett scored the first run of the game when the UNC right fielder dropped a fly ball from Galasso.
In the next at-bat, Hickman upped the lead to 3-0 on a single to right-center that scored Galasso and Breakwell.
After a scoreless second inning, the Bengals exploded for eight runs in the third on four hits and three UNC errors.
Breakwell kicked off the scoring with a solo homer to left center.
Blackwell scored on a Hickman fly ball that was dropped in the outfield to up the lead to 5-0.
In the next at-bat, Marquez was walked to load the bases for Wiley. She sent the ball over the wall at dead center to earn her first career grand slam and her first home run of the season.
Breakwell singled later in the inning to score Burnett and Hayes and give ISU an 11-0 lead.
Galasso added a run in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to give ISU the 12-0 lead.
Douglas finished off her stellar performance with a 1-2-3 top of the fifth to end the game on the run rule.
She is now 14-10 on the season. The shutout is her third of 2014.
Idaho State 9, Northern Colorado 8
After Northern Colorado scored two runs in the top of the first inning, Idaho State answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer from Blackwell that scored Breakwell.
In the top of the second, UNC took a 3-2 lead on a Molly Ryan solo home run to left center.
ISU tied the game in the bottom of the second inning when Sarah Hayes scored on a Micheala Taylor single. The Bengals then took a 4-3 lead when Galasso scored on a Hickman Sacrifice fly in the third.
The Bears took a 7-4 lead in the fourth before the Bengals began their rally.
Idaho State cut the lead to 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth when Breakwell singled to score Burnett.
They took back the lead with three runs in the fifth inning.
Galasso doubled to center to start the inning off. Hickman then singled in the next at-bat to score Galasso and cut the lead to 7-6.
With runners on second and third, Gabby Lopez pinch hit for Hayes. She came through with a two-run double to give the Bengals an 8-7 lead.
Burnett added insurance in the next at-bat with a single to right field, scoring Hayes and giving ISU a 9-7 lead.
The Bears hit a home run and loaded the bases in the seventh inning. The bengals got out of the jam with a 5-2-3 double play to end the game.
Foster (8-4) earned the win in relief. She gave up three hits, three runs and struck out four. Jessica Tolmie started the game for Idaho State. In three innings she gave up two hits, three earned runs and struck out two.
Douglas earned her first save of the season. She gave up a hit and walked one.
The Bengal defense helped out the pitching with a stellar performance. ISU had just one error in the two games.
"The defense has been playing well," Wright said. "For us it is about approach and attacking the ball and I feel like we did that really well today."
On the day the Bengals had 20 hits and 21 runs. UNC tallied eight runs on eight hits.
ISU is now 27-16 on the season and 8-3 in Big Sky play. Northern Colorado falls to 15-30 on the season and 6-5 in the conference.
The Bengals and Bears meet in the final game of the series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Miller Ranch Stadium.