#21 Arizona Softball 2014 Preview

Arizona Wildcats

Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #6 Pac 12
#21 Arizona Softball 2014 Preview
Arizona Team Page


The Wildcats are one of the most storied programs in college softball history, but are coming off of arguably their worst season, at least in recent memory. Arizona’s 33 wins last season was the fewest since 1986 when it won 27 games and the 26 losses were the most in school history.  Last year’s NCAA Tournament loss to Baylor was also the first time the Wildcats had not advanced past the Regionals stage since 2004. The team welcomes back a mix of veterans and underclassmen.  

2013: 33-26, 9-15
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Candrea

Field Players:
Arizona will be one of the, if not the, most experienced team’s in the Pac-12 this year. Of its ten regular starters, nine return, including the team's top seven hitters. The team wasn't a huge power hitting team, but two players, Chelsea Goodacre and Lauren Young, both return after combining for 29 of the team's 52 home runs. Goodacre hit .348 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs. Young hit 12 long balls. Young also drove in 36 runs. Hallie Wilson is back after hitting .372 with 70 hits and 12 doubles, all of which were team-highs. Seven of the returnees had at least 41 hits in 2013. The Wildcat lineup will be boosted by the addition of UCLA transfer Kellie Fox. She put up big numbers as a freshman for the Bruins and will look to step into the hole left by Brigette Del Ponte's graduation.

Arizona brings back its three pitchers from last year and welcomes back two-time All-American Kenzie Fowler, who redshirted last year while recovering from back surgery. Fowler, who was a First Team All-American her freshman year and a Second Team All-American her sophomore year, carries a career record of 79-27 in 127 appearances, 105 of which were starts. She also has struck out 794 hitters. The Wildcats are also lucky to bring back all three of last year's starters, led by Shelby Babcock and Estela Pinon. Babcock finished with a 16-12 record in 36 appearances and 25 starts. Pinon went 13-8 last season.

Who to Watch:
Fowler and Fox. If Fowler comes back to her form during the first two years of her career, the Wildcats will be tough to beat. A three-headed rotation of Fowler, Babcock and Pinon will be tough.  Fox batted .342 with 11 homers, 45 RBI and nine doubles in 2011 to go along with a .608 slugging percentage. She posted a career .295 batting average at UCLA in two seasons while amassing 15 home runs, 18 doubles, a triple and 67 RBIs.

Final Projection:
The Wildcats have a lot of experience returning, all over the field. The addition of Fox will bolster the lineup and the return of Fowler will make the rotation stronger; especially if she is back to the Kenzie Fowler of old. Arizona hosts a big tournament the second weekend of the season, when they will play Georgia Tech and Alabama. The week after the team travels to the Mary Nutter Classic, where it will face Texas A&M, Missouri, Fresno State, Nebraska and UNLV. Other non-conference contests include games against Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Cal State-Fullerton and Houston.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Hallie Wilson, UTL, 188
Hits: Hallie Wilson, UTL, 70
Home Runs: Chelsea Goodacre, C, 17
RBIs: Chelsea Goodacre, C, 58
Runs: Chelsea Suitos, UTL, 48
Stolen Bases: Chelsea Suitos, UTL, 13

Wins: Shelby Babcock, P, 16
Innings Pitched: Shelby Babcock, P, 171.1
Strikeouts: Shelby Babcock, P, 132
Saves: Shelby Babcock, P, 1; Nancy Bowling, P, 1

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#34 Michelle Floyd
#47 Katiyana Mauga


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