Boise State

Boise State softball advances to final day of NCAA regional. Daunting task awaits.

The Boise State softball team beat Stanford again Saturday evening to reach the championship round of the NCAA’s Gainesville (Florida) Regional.

The Broncos (36-15), however, will need to beat host Florida twice on Sunday to advance. The Gators no-hit the Broncos in an 8-0 win earlier Saturday and are the No. 5 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Broncos and Gators meet at 10 a.m. MT on Sunday. If the Broncos win, they’ll play again shortly afterward.

Pitcher Kelsey Broadus was fantastic against Stanford for the second straight day. She tossed a four-hit shutout in the 2-0 win, a day after she led the Broncos to a 9-1 victory against the Cardinal.

The Broncos scored both of their runs Saturday in the fifth inning with aggressive baserunning. Karlee Johnson evaded the catcher on a play at the plate and barely touched home with her fingertips before she was tagged, then Kora Wade scored from second base on an infield single.

Boise State is the first Mountain West team to advance to a regional final since San Diego State in 2015. It’s the 10th time a Mountain West team has gone that far.

The victory came a few hours after the Broncos failed to record a hit and fell into an immediate hole in the first inning against Florida.

The Gators, the top seed in the regional, beat the third-seeded Broncos in five innings. Florida star Kelly Barnhill only pitched two innings as the Gators scored six runs in the first inning and two more in the second. Natalie Lugo pitched the final three innings of the no-hitter.

The Gators scored their six first-inning runs with help from five walks from starting pitcher Gianna Mancha, who was replaced after eight batters. Broadus didn’t pitch against Florida.