Arizona softball will face 12 teams that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament according to the schedule released on Wednesday afternoon. The schedule will also feature 10 teams that landed in last year’s final NFCA coaches poll.
The schedule kicks off with the second iteration of the Candrea Classic. Arizona will open against Long Beach State at 6 p.m. MST on Thursday, Feb. 9. The Beach went 29-22 overall last season, including two losses to the Wildcats in the inaugural Candrea Classic.
Arizona faces Kansas on Friday, Feb. 10 before wrapping up their opening tournament with two games against N.C. State. The first will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, and the second at noon on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Arizona starts facing teams that made the postseason and the final rankings when they go to the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational during the second week of play. The Wildcats will face Florida State, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, and Indiana when they travel to the state of Florida.
Florida State was seeded No. 2 in the NCAA Tournament last season but was knocked out by unseeded Mississippi State in the Tallahassee Regional. Arizona then knocked out the Bulldogs in the Starkville Super Regional.
Va Tech was the No. 3 national seed in 2022. They were knocked out in the super regionals.
FSU, MSU, and Va Tech were all in the final NFCA rankings for 2022.
The Wildcats next travel to Fayetteville to play in the Razorback Invitational. They open with a doubleheader against host Arkansas on Thursday, Feb. 23. The games will be played at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. MST.
Arizona has another doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 24 with early morning games against Drake and Illinois State. The Wildcats face Drake again on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 25.
The team finally returns to Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium for a midweek game against CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday, Mar. 1 before kicking off the Hillenbrand Invitational on Friday, Mar. 3. Arizona will host Weber State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Nebraska, and CSUN over the weekend. The Cornhuskers spent part of last season in the NFCA poll before dropping out of the final one.
The Wildcats face a tough slate of Pac-12 series with most of its toughest matchups on the road. That starts on Friday, Mar. 10 with a trip to Arizona State.
After opening Pac-12 play, Arizona returns home to play New Mexico in a doubleheader on Wednesday, Mar. 15.
Pac-12 competition continues with Utah at home beginning Friday, Mar. 17. The following weekend features a series in Seattle against Washington.
Arizona takes another break from conference play to host the Bear Down Fiesta on Mar. 31 and Apr. 1. The Wildcats play Georgetown and San Diego on both days.
A tough two weeks feature a series at Stanford from Apr. 6-8 before returning home to host UCLA. That series is likely to be circled on the calendars of everyone interested in either program after two Arizona starters transferred to Westwood in the offseason.
The Wildcats make a one-game stop at Grand Canyon on Apr. 19 before heading to Oregon for the Apr. 21-23 series.
The final two weeks of the regular season will be back in the friendly confines of Rita as Arizona hosts Oregon State and California to close out regular Pac-12 play.
The inaugural Pac-12 Softball Tournament will be held at Hillenbrand from May 10-13.
May 14th will be Selection Sunday, followed by regionals from May 19-21. Super regionals run from May 26 through May 28, then qualifying teams head to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series from June 1-9.