BOISE, Idaho - The Bulldogs' heated three-way Western Athletic Conference softball title race suffered a setback after Boise State edged No. 25 Fresno State 4-3 on Friday afternoon at Mountain Cove Field.
After bolting to an early 3-0 lead, the Dogs allowed the Broncos to surge back on a pair of solo homers and two unearned runs.
The loss moved Fresno State (29-12, 13-3 WAC) into a tie with Boise State (30-15, 13-3) for second-place in the WAC standings and tightened the already close battle for the two first round byes in the upcoming 2011 WAC Tournament at Bulldog Diamond May 11-14.
But the Dogs remained just a game back of New Mexico State as the Aggies fell 3-2 in 10 innings at Hawai'i in late Friday night action.
Fresno State opened the scoring on Caitlin Stiglich's first-inning sacrifice fly to deep center field and added its other two runs in the second when Brooke Ortiz and Haley Gilleland combined for back-to-back RBI hits for the 3-0 advantage.
That's when the power of Bronco freshman Devon Bridges launched a solo home run in the bottom of the second and shifted the momentum to the home team.
BSU's Kellie Caplan poked a two-out third-inning single and set the stage for the game's ultimate turning point.
The Broncos' Holly Bourke connected for what should have been merely a single, but the play ballooned to the game-tying moment.
Bourke had poked a single to center when freshman Demi Walker's errant throw to third to try to gun down Caplan bounced away from Ortiz. A speedy Caplan raced home while Ortiz fielded the ball and threw wide of Bulldog catcher Caitlin Stiglich, which allowed Bourke to score a second unearned run and even the contest at 3-3.
Boise State then took the lead for good in the next frame on a fourth-inning leadoff home run off the bat of Allie Crump.
Michelle Moses (12-10) suffered the loss in the circle despite striking out eight and allowing only one walk as the Broncos improved to 12-0 at home this season.
The teams will meet again on Saturday, starting at noon Pacific for a doubleheader.
"We Are You Team!" - The Dogs take off to Boise April 29-30 for their last WAC road series of the season. No. 25 Fresno State returns home May 6-7 to host Nevada at Bulldog Diamond for Senior Weekend. You can always stay connected with Fresno State Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@FSAthletics).
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