The last time Arizona didn’t make the NCAA softball tournament, retired head coach Mike Candrea was in his first season with the Wildcats. The 35-season run ended in head coach Caitlin Lowe’s second season when the Wildcats were left out of the field.
Arizona was a very young team that dealt with injuries and absences throughout the season, including a six-week absence by slugger Carlie Scupin when her arm was broken by a pitch on Mar. 15.
The team ended with a 29-25 record, although it was more competitive against top competition this season than last year when it made a run to the Women’s College World Series as an unseeded team. It also won two Pac-12 series this year, the same as last year.
The committee took just six teams from the Pac-12 despite the league being ranked as the toughest conference in the country by most metrics. Once again, it showed preference for the SEC, which got 12 teams into the field.
The committee gave Stanford a No. 9 seed while giving Alabama a No. 5 despite the Cardinal having the No. 3 RPI and Alabama being No. 12. That keeps the Crimson Tide, whose ace Montana Fouts was injured in the SEC Tournament, home through the super regionals while sending the Cardinal on the road if they win their home regional.
It will be the first NCAA softball tournament to feature neither Arizona nor Michigan.