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Reyna Carranco to return to Arizona’s lineup Friday vs. Oregon

The sophomore second baseman is back after missing the last five games with a concussion and broken nose

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Exactly two weeks after taking a 70 MPH fastball to the face, second baseman Reyna Carranco is returning to Arizona’s lineup for Friday’s series-opener at No. 5 Oregon.

The sophomore will bat second as she had all season before missing the last five games with a concussion and broken nose.

Carranco practiced fully Tuesday for the first time since her injury, and head coach Mike Candrea was encouraged by what he saw.

“Reyna is looking good right now,” he said Wednesday. “She worked out yesterday, she’s cleared her concussion test, she put a mask on, she looked good defensively, she swung the bat well.”

Still, Candrea wasn’t sure if Carranco would play this weekend since returning from an injury like the one she suffered can be tricky.

“Let’s face it,” Candrea said last weekend, “you get hit by a 70-mile-an-hour pitch, it’s going to take a little while to get her comfortable and back.”

When healthy, Carranco has been stellar for the Wildcats this season, batting .386/.455/.545 with two homers, eight doubles, and 21 RBIs.

Her return strengthens and lengthens Arizona’s lineup, and allows Ashleigh Hughes to slide back to her natural position in center field. Hughes had been playing second and leading off. Now she’s batting ninth.

Meanwhile, Aleah Craighton has moved back to right field after replacing Hughes in center.

Friday’s series-opener in Eugene is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT. It will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.

Oregon is 29-6 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12. Arizona is 27-6 and 6-3, respectively.

Our series preview can be found here.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire