“Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat,” former Kentucky pitcher Miranda Stoddard posted on Instagram. UK’s best pitcher from two years ago will be an Arizona Wildcat going forward.
✍️— Arizona Softball (@ArizonaSoftball) August 21, 2023
» Anaheim, Calif.
Welcome to Arizona, Miranda! pic.twitter.com/hM5I3f2ybY
Stoddard left Lexington after the 2022 season, but she didn’t play Division I softball last season. This year, she will return to the West, much closer to her home in Anaheim, Calif.
It wasn’t the first time in her softball career that Stoddard sat out a season. In high school, she sat out the 2017 season before transferring from Canyon to Orange Lutheran.
When she signed with UK, head coach Rachel Lawson was most impressed by Stoddard’s velocity.
“I believe that Miranda is the hardest-throwing pitcher that we have ever signed at Kentucky,” Lawson is quoted on UK’s website. “She has great power in the circle and in the box. She’s an excellent athlete and has a competitive championship mindset and can play any position on the field at an elite level.”
Stoddard arrived in Kentucky for the 2020 season and was a contributor for the Wildcats both in the circle and in the box. As a freshman, she hit .333 in 21 at-bats. She had seven hits, including one home run, and she scored seven runs. She also had eight runs batted in.
In the circle, she pitched just 16.2 innings in 19 appearances including two starts. She sported an ERA of 4.20, giving up 18 hits in less than 17 innings. Six of those hits left the yard.
Stoddard had her strongest outing as a sophomore pitcher in 2021. She had a 3.17 ERA in 53 IP. She also cut down on the home runs, giving up just five despite pitching three times as many innings. She went 5-0 in 59 appearances, including three starts.
When not in the circle, she often played third base. Her at-bats increased to 135 and she hit eight balls out of the park. However, her average plummeted to .207.
In her junior season, Stoddard threw a career-high 72 innings. That led Kentucky in 2022. She went 4-4 with a 3.69 ERA. She played in 55 games and got 12 starts.
Her batting average improved from the low of her sophomore season. She hit .260 in 131 at-bats in 2022. Nine of her career-high 34 hits were home runs. She also hit a career-high seven doubles.
Stoddard appears to have a great deal in common with current Arizona senior Devyn Netz, spending much of her career moving back and forth between the circle and the infield. She also possesses some of the same power, although Netz tends to hit for a higher average.
Stoddard will join a pitching staff the stood at six before her arrival. Arizona has returning seniors Netz and Ali Blanchard as well as returning sophomores Aissa Silva and Sydney Somerndike. The freshman class includes Ryan Maddox and Brooke Mannon. Netz led the staff last year with a 3.88 ERA in 171.1 IP.