Baseball has always held a special spot in my heart over other sports, and I was lucky enough to report on a few of the Boise State baseball games before all sports were canceled for the rest of the year.
The Boise State baseball team started off the season playing in Texas and ended up losing all three games. After the three away games, the Broncos came back to play on the home field after 40 years of having no team at all.
They had a total span of 11 games at home, during which they had a 9-2 record.
Their record came to an abrupt 9-5 ending, but there were three specific games that stood out while the season was in full swing.
Feb. 29 versus Northern Colorado
Two weeks before Boise State announced that all spring sports would be canceled due to COVID-19, the Broncos played Northern Colorado in the first game of a doubleheader. Junior infielder Christian Padilla was the hero of the game, hitting a walk-off single to give the Broncos the winning score of 5-4.
Even though Padilla scored the final run, the Broncos still could not have done it without senior pitcher Cameron Sommer.
Sommer came in and pitched a gem with a stat line for the day of 3.0 innings pitched, one hit, one earned run, one walk and three strikeouts.
After the game, Sommer said my favorite quote from the year by any Bronco athlete.
“I’m tied for the most wins on the team now,” Sommer said after Boise State won their second game of the season. “But seriously, the pitchers out there before me threw really well, so to help them out there feels good. I don’t care if I get the win or not, just as long as we win the game.”
March 7 versus Seattle University
The Broncos, who were 4-4, finally got their record above .500 in their second to last series of the year. Taking care of business this time around, the Broncos won 9-2.
In my opinion, the great thing about baseball is that a new player can become a hero for the team every day. Then there are some games where not just one player is a hero, but the whole team performs well together. On March 7, that is what happened.
Everyone on the team, except for two, had a hit during that game. For the baseball team, there was one stand-out player with something historic on the radar: a cycle.
Senior outfielder Michael Hicks had a single, double and a home run, making him one triple shy of a cycle. Hicks also had a great stat line, going 3-4 with three RBIs, one walk and two runs. One of the underrated stats is the left on base (LOB), meaning there is a runner on base when the offensive team receives three outs. Hicks had zero players LOB.
“[It was] good to get a series win. We dropped the one on Friday and I have not seen a Seattle U team swing a bat like that,” Hicks said after losing the first game of the series. “But it was nice to come back and win two of three because it’s hard to win a doubleheader.”
Feb. 28 versus Northern Colorado
Last but not least, one of the most important games of the year for the Boise State Broncos. It wasn’t necessarily the way the Broncos played or how well one individual played, it was the historical background of the game.
As most people know, the Boise State baseball team was not part of the Broncos’ athletics world for 40 years. Feb. 28 was the day the Broncos had their first home game in 40 years. Winning their first game in front of a sold-out crowd made the homecoming that much sweeter.
It is unfortunate that the first year back for Boise State baseball had to end early, but it also gave a teaser for what is to come next year. After having a productive season with only a handful of games, I cannot wait to see what this team will do next season.