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Arizona softball to open 2021 season against Texas and Alabama in Austin

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: FEB 18 USA at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona softball is expected to be a Women’s College World Series contender in 2021 and they will be tested right off the bat.

The Wildcats will open the season at the Texas Classic in Austin against Texas, Alabama and a third team.

Texas was ranked No. 4 in the country when the 2020 season was cut short due to the coronavirus. Alabama was No. 10.

The tournament is scheduled for Feb. 12 through Feb. 14. Arizona is expecting to play Texas and Alabama once and Sam Houston State twice.

However, Alabama’s schedule shows Colorado State in the field instead of Sam Houston State, so it’s possible SHSU is no longer participating. (Schedules are fluid these days.)

Texas had 2020 Softball America NCAA Player of the Year Miranda Elish, a two-way star, but she opted out of the season just as this was published. (Her younger sister Madi is committed to Arizona, by the way.)

The Wildcats were eliminated by Alabama in the 2019 WCWS but got revenge in the shortened 2020 season by winning two games in Tuscaloosa.

Per sources, the Wildcats will return home after the Texas Classic to host two tournaments. The rest of the non-conference season cannot be finalized until the Pac-12 releases its schedule.

Sources have said the conference season is going to consist of four-game series with a Saturday doubleheader instead of three games in three days like usual.

However, everything is subject to change. As of now, fans will not be allowed to attend Arizona’s games due to a Pac-12 mandate. (Parents might be OK.)

The Wildcats were originally scheduled to participate in the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs for the 12th straight year, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Arizona finished the 2020 season ranked No. 4 in the country. It returns seven star seniors while adding the No. 1 freshman class in the country.

Head to our softball section for more coverage.