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NCAA Softball Tournament: Arizona Wildcats outfielder Alyssa Palomino (knee) out vs. New Mexico State

The Wildcats will be without their starting center fielder in their postseason opener

Alyssa Palomino
Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona center fielder Alyssa Palomino is not in the lineup for the Wildcats’ postseason opener against New Mexico State on Friday in Tucson.

Senior Eva Watson is starting in her place, batting ninth in the lineup.

Palomino, listed as “day to day”, injured her left knee in practice this week and was sporting crutches and a heavy leg brace on Thursday.

The redshirt freshman has been a key part of the Wildcats’ lineup this season, starting in all 55 games while batting .302/.408/.711 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs and providing stellar defense in the outfield.

It is unclear when Palomino will return.

Watson has mostly been a pinch runner this season, but has 63 career starts.

The left-handed slapper is a career .317 hitter, though she is only hitting .117 in 18 at-bats this season.

The Wildcats and Aggies are set to begin at 6:34 p.m. PT and it will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Left-hander Danielle O’Toole (27-4, 1.08 ERA) is in the circle for Arizona. Righty Kayla Green (12-15, 4.36 ERA) gets the nod for New Mexico State.

The winner will play South Carolina on Saturday, while the loser will face Saint Francis (PA). The Gamecocks defeated the Red Flash 12-2 to open the Tucson Regional on Friday afternoon.

Arizona’s lineup

Mandie Perez, LF

Katiyana Mauga, 3B

Jessie Harper, 1B

Mo Mercado, SS

Tamara Statman, DP

Dejah Mulipola, C

Reyna Carranco, 2B

Ashleigh Hughes, RF

Eva Watson, CF

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