Arizona softball starts its season in 10 days when Long Beach State comes to town. The Beach will face two players that Softball America considers among the best in the country. The publication released its preseason All-American lists on Monday afternoon, including Arizona’s Allie Skaggs and Carlie Scupin.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS— Softball America (@SoftbalAmerica) January 30, 2023
See SA's first, second and third team selections here.https://t.co/xfit2AUqjb pic.twitter.com/oake2wZkwp
Both players were named to the teams as “DP or UTIL-non-pitcher.” Skaggs, who has played second base for the Wildcats in 91 games including 78 starts, was named to the first team. Scupin was named to the second team after starting at first base for all 115 games in her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Skaggs tied with Washington’s Baylee Klingler last season for a league-leading 24 home runs. In the nonconference portion of the season, Skaggs went on a tear with eight home runs in seven games, accomplishing the feat for the first time in program history since 2009. She had three hits against UTEP on Apr. 19. All three left the yard, giving her four RBI.
Despite hitting for impressive power, Skaggs’ at-bats weren’t a matter of feast or famine. She had a .367 batting average and a .462 on-base percentage. The OBP led the Wildcats and was ninth in the league. Her 1.259 on-base plus slugging was also first for the Wildcats and landed even higher in the Pac-12, coming in at fifth among eligible batters. The batting average was 12th in the conference.
Scupin went into a bit of a slump at the beginning of the Pac-12 play, but the fact that she still ended up with impressive numbers points to how well she did when the Wildcats turned thing around and it really mattered. At the end of the Pac-12 season and heading into the NCAA Tournament, Scupin rewrote the story of her season.
From the start of the UCLA series on March 19, 2022 through the end of the doubleheader against UTEP on April 19, Scupin had just eight hits in 29 at-bats. While the batting average of .276 isn’t bad, it’s not terribly impressive in softball, either.
Scupin only had one multi-hit game during that month and accounted for just four total RBI in 17 games. The multi-hit game came during the series opener against Arizona State on March 25, 2022 when she got two hits. Both UCLA and Oregon State held her to no hits over their three-game series, and she didn’t have any back-to-back games with hits all month.
Despite a down month to start Pac-12 competition, Scupin ended the season with a .369 batting average. That trailed only Jasmine Perezchica on the Wildcats and was 11th in the conference. Her 1.198 OPS was second on the team, falling behind only Skaggs. It was eighth in the Pac-12.
The stats are not simply because she had great numbers against lower-ranked teams on the schedule early in the year, either. Scupin started bouncing back against Utah. The Utes had three pitchers in the top 20 for ERA, landing them sixth in team rankings: Sydney Sandez (12th), Mariah Lopez (13th), and Shi Smith (19th).
Arizona also had to play Stanford during that run. The Cardinal featured Alana Vawter, who ended the year on her second straight All-Pac-12 first team. The Cardinal’s pitching staff had a 1.99 ERA, good for third in the league. Vawter sat in first or second place among the league’s pitchers in nine different pitching stats.
Then came the postseason, when Scupin went 9 for 24 at the plate with two doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI. When the Wildcats were up against elimination in the Women’s College World Series, their star first baseman made a statement.
Scupin had three hits against Oregon State in Oklahoma City, including an RBI double, to get their first WCWS victory under first-year head coach Caitlin Lowe. The Beavs had held her to one hit in nine at-bats in early April during her difficulties in conference play.
As a team, Arizona is ranked 14th in Softball America’s Top 25 preseason rankings.