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Arizona softball: Wildcats begin Mary Nutter Classic on Thursday in Palm Springs

Arizona will face some of the top teams in country, including No. 1 Florida State

Photo via @UA_Softball on Twitter

After playing their first 11 games at home, the Arizona Wildcats will hit the road this week to Palm Springs, Calif. to partake in the annual Mary Nutter Classic, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.

The Wildcats (11-0) outscored their opponents 97-10 in the the Hillenbrand Invitational and Wildcat Invitational the last two weekends, with wins over Fordham, Cal State Northridge, No. 25 Baylor, Northwestern, Tulsa, Drake (twice), North Dakota State, and Boston College.

It is UA’s best start since 2006, when it won the National Championship.

The competition in Palm Springs will present a tougher challenge, though, including a matchup with the nation’s No. 1 team, the Florida State Seminoles, as well as a game against the No. 23 BYU Cougars.

“We’re starting to get solidified,” UA head coach Mike Candrea said. “I think going into Palm Springs you need to be that way because we’ll be playing a good group (of teams).”

The Wildcats will also face off against the Purdue Boilermakers, Louisville Cardinals, and LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds. The Cardinals fell just outside the Top 25, receiving 13 votes, placing them at 28th in the country.

“Now we’re going on the road and that’s where you gotta win,” Candrea said. “That’ll be a very good test for us because we’ll be playing some very good teams and be on the road and those crappy fields.”

Here is Arizona’s full schedule in Palm Springs:

Thursday, Feb. 23

No. 9 Arizona vs. Louisville (7-2) — 11 a.m. MST

No. 9 Arizona vs. No. 23 BYU (5-2) — 1:30 p.m. MST

Friday, Feb. 24

No. 9 Arizona vs. Purdue (1-8) — 9 p.m. MST

Saturday, Feb. 25

No. 9 Arizona vs. LIU Brooklyn (3-6) — 6 p.m. MST

No. 9 Arizona vs. No. 1 Florida State (10-0) — 8:30 p.m. MST

All games will be streamed on, but it will come at a cost. Check out FloSoftball’s Ultimate Streaming Guide for more information on that.

If you missed the first two weekends of play, you can check out our softball section to get caught up on everything that has happened this season.

And here are Arizona’s season stats through 11 games (click to enlarge):

via Arizona Athletics

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire