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Arizona softball adds Missouri transfer Rylee Pierce

Pierce was an All-SEC player in 2018

Photo via @RyleePierce on Twitter

Missouri first baseman Rylee Pierce is transferring to Arizona, she announced Saturday on Twitter.

The junior was a member of the All-SEC second team in 2018, hitting .318/.417/.523 with eight homers, 12 doubles, and 23 RBI.

Pierce has one year of eligibility left and can play immediately.

The Visalia, California native hit .309 with four home runs and 10 RBI against SEC pitching, which is comparable to what she will see in the Pac-12.

Missouri’s coaching change likely was a factor in Pierce’s decision to transfer. UM fired longtime head coach Ehren Earleywine just two weeks before the start of the 2018 season (seemingly because of concerns about his coaching style), and Pierce thanked Earleywine in her departing statement.

Pierce has only played first base in college and was a catcher in high school, so it will be interesting to see how the Wildcats use her, since those are two positions Arizona is solid at.

Arizona has a first-team All-American at first base in Alyssa Palomino, and an all-conference catcher in Dejah Mulipola.

Palomino was an outfielder in her first two years at Arizona, but she suffered two ACL tears, so it would be risky to move her back out there.

So putting Palomino or Pierce, who tore her ACL as a junior in high school, as the designated player probably makes the most sense.

Either way, Pierce should boost an Arizona’s offense that was inconsistent in 2018. The Wildcats were one of the nation’s top home-run-hitting teams, but often struggled to manufacture runs with timely hitting.

Arizona (43-16, 13-11) finished in fifth in the Pac-12, before falling to UCLA in Super Regionals.