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Arizona softball earns highest preseason ranking since 2011

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COLLEGE SOFTBALL: MAR 07 SIUE at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona softball team is ranked No. 3 in both the NFCA Coaches Poll and the USA Softball Poll, which was released Tuesday.

Per the UA, it is UA’s highest preseason ranking since being tabbed No. 2 (NFCA) and No. 1 (USA Softball) prior to the 2011 season.

Arizona finished the shortened 2020 season ranked No. 4 in both polls and returns almost every key contributor from that squad, plus adds Team USA catcher Dejah Mulipola and the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.

The Wildcats had five players make Softball America’s Top 100—shortstop Jessie Harper (3), Mulipola (11), centerfielder Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza (13), second baseman Reyna Carranco (73) and pitcher Mariah Lopez (76).

Arizona also had two newcomers—first baseman Carlie Scupin (8) and infielder Sophia Carroll (25)—make Softball America’s Freshman Top 25.

The Wildcats open the season Friday, Feb. 12 at the Texas Classic where they will face No. 6 Texas, No. 8 Alabama and Sam Houston State in Austin. Then they will return home for two tournaments, per sources.

The Pac-12 schedule has not been released yet, but sources indicated that the conference schedule could include four-game series with a doubleheader instead of a traditional three-game series.

The Pac-12 will use the 2020 conference season configuration since it was never played, meaning Arizona will host Oregon State, Cal, UCLA and Utah and face Washington, Oregon, ASU and Stanford on the road.

However, nothing is official and everything is subject to change.

UCLA (1), Washington (2), Oregon (10) and ASU (16) are also ranked in the NFCA Coaches Poll.