Boise State Softball Season Preview: Big Matchups, hosting the Mountain West Tournament and more

Photo by Corissa Campbell

With spring rolling into full effect, the Boise State softball team aims to bode even more success this season than in 2023. 

In 2023, the Broncos finished 32-17 overall, 16-5 within the Mountain West Conference and earned them the 2023 Mountain West regular season title. 

Boise State softball head coach Justin Shults emphasized the importance of reloading his team each season. 

“The team is in a really good spot right now, January can get monotonous,” Shults said. “This group has embraced that. We have cherished and been grateful for every single day.” 


In the 2024 Mountain West Preseason Polls, three Broncos were named to the All-Mountain West Preseason Team. Senior pitcher Taylor Caudill, junior outfielder Mykenzie Hanna and senior outfielder Jordyn Hutchins were the selected few to be added to the prestigious list. 

Caudill is no stranger to these awards. In 2023 alone, the star pitcher was named to the Mountain West All-Tournament Team, All-Mountain West First Team and NFCA All-Pacific Region Third Team. Her junior season consisted of 33 appearances in the circle, 24 starts and boasted a successful 15-8 record on the season with a 2.72 ERA, 147 strikeouts, 16 complete games, four shutouts and two saves in 154 2/3 innings pitched. 

“This has been the first preseason poll for softball, and it is an honor for them to get recognized. Mykenzie Hanna was left off some ballots last season, it was cool to see her get the recognition she deserves,” Shults said. “The three of them are going to be a big nucleus. We’ve added some big pieces, I’m excited to see a slightly different version with our team with a little more speed and depth in the circle. It’s going to be a fun year.” 


The Broncos kick off their season on Feb. 9 in Tempe, Arizona at the Kajikawa Classic. 

Boise State’s first opponent will come against No. 25 Northwestern University. At this tournament, they will find a familiar face when facing opponent Arizona State University, who received Kelsey Hall, Boise State’s 2023 Mountain West player of the year, from Boise State through the transfer portal. 

Hall accumulated many accolades throughout her time as a Bronco. In the 2023 season, Hall was named NFCA All-Pacific Region First Team, Mountain West Player of the Year and All-MW First Team. 

“Kelsey is a great kid. At the end of the day, it’s business,” Shults said. “She chose to go and try something in her mind she felt was a bigger opportunity. I respect that from her. At the end of the day we are going to be competing against each other and it’s going to be a business trip. We’re always rooting for her, she is a great player.” 

The Broncos will also take on University of St.Thomas, University of Wisconsin and Grand Canyon University (GCU) at the Kajikawa Classic. 


Taking place in Arlington, Texas, the Broncos will rally against Michigan State University, DePaul University, University of Missouri at Kansas City and University of Texas Arlington. Notably, the Broncos played Michigan State last season and capped a 3-2 victory. 


Boise State will face another top 25 team in No. 15 Louisiana State University (LSU) at this tournament. Austin Peay State University and University of Houston will also appear on the slate at this tournament. 


This may be the most challenging tournament the Broncos will compete in during the regular season. Not only will they take on No. 3 Stanford twice, they will also square off against No. 6 University of Georgia. Playing in this tournament will be a great opportunity for the Broncos, especially in regards to RPI rankings. 

The Broncos will also face the University of California, Berkeley (Cal). Cal finished their 2023 season with a 35-21-1 record and a loss to one of the most powerful teams in college softball, University of Oklahoma in the NCAA regionals. 

“The competition is great. We saw it last year when we hosted our conference, the games seemed to slow down for us because we had been facing All-Americans,” Shults said. “We had faced seven or eight All-Americans and offenses that were all ranked in the top 50. It feels like a gauntlet at the time and it’s frustrating because we’re not always getting the results we wanted, but it definitely serves a purpose and allows us to play our best softball when it matters the most.” 


The Broncos will kick off Mountain West conference play against Utah State University when they take on the Aggies in a series beginning March 22 in Logan, Utah. This should be an energizing start for the Broncos as the Aggies finished 8th in the Mountain West last season. 

The Broncos will look for revenge as they host San Jose State University (SJSU) for their first home slate on March 28-30. The two will face each other after SJSU bested the Broncos in game seven of the Mountain West championship tournament. 

The most anticipated matchup of conference play will come against San Diego State University 2023 Mountain West Softball champions, in San Diego, California April 6-7. 

“Coach Nuveman has done a great job in her two years.” Shults said. “Right now, they are the staple for what we are all fighting for. We’ve put ourselves in a position to be right there with them. Every game in the Mountain West is going to be challenging, with a lot of good teams.”

San Diego State’s strength stems from their weapons on the mound as well as at the plate. Aztec’s own Mac Barbara was selected as the 2024 preseason MW Player of the Year, while pitcher Allie Light was the 2023 MW Pitcher of the Year and is named the 2024 preseason MW Pitcher of the Year. 

The Broncos have a record of 15-19 against the Aztecs with their last matchup on April 30, 2023 where Boise secured a 9-6 win. 

Despite the Broncos winning the Mountain West regular season title in 2023, San Diego State University won the prized possession of Mountain West Softball tournament champions.  


Boise State will take on two 2023 NCAA Women’s College World Series teams in No. 10 University of Washington as well as No. 16 University of Utah. The Broncos will face the Utes on March 20 in Salt Lake City, Utah and face the Huskies at home on April 10.

The Broncos will also face their rivals in Idaho State University, a familiar opponent against the Idaho State Bengals this season. There is a rooted history between the teams,


With the Broncos winning the conference title last season, they are slated to host The Mountain West Softball championships. The tournament will be held at Dona Larsen Park from May 9-11.

This is possible with the addition of lights at Dona Larsen Park thanks to a seven-figure gift toward Boise State womens’ sports. 

“On behalf of the entire department, our student-athletes, and especially our champion softball team, thank you for your generous donation. We had a need and Bronco Nation responded,” athletic director Jeramiah Dickey said in a press release. “This donation guarantees the installation of lights at Huber Field and ensures the Broncos will host the Mountain West championship this coming spring.”

The addition to the facility comes after a substantial year in fan attendance. The Broncos brought series attendance records in back to back weeks last season, with the series attendance record of 2,590. 

“This opportunity is huge. They challenged us, if we win the conference championship, lights will be up and running,” Shults said. “The lights help us not only with the conference championship, but we are able to host twenty two home games this year which is the most in a long time. It allows our athletes to stay home and gives us more flexibility with the weather that Boise holds in the spring.” 

The support of fans and necessary facility updates solidifies the growth in the Boise State softball program. 

“Jenna Bloom, the transfer from Arkansas, came to the San Diego State series last season. To see that support and the fanbase rooting for us in a pivotal series, it helps in the recruiting process,” Shults said. “Our athletes get a premier, big time softball feel. It is exciting, it makes it a fun place to be – especially when we are making big plays.” 

The support and success is anticipated two-fold this season for the Broncos, on and off the field. 

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