Suggesting a big spring on the diamond for Arizona, the Wildcats baseball team is ranked No. 5 in the preseason, while the softball team is ranked eighth in the country in polls released Tuesday.
Baseball America tabbed Arizona fifth, behind No. 1 Florida, Stanford, South Carolina and Arkansas. Coach Andy Lopez is hoping to ride a strong pitching staff, led by junior Kurt Heyer (8-5, 2.41 ERA), to a home postseason berth at the team’s new digs, Hi Corbett Field.
Mike Candrea’s softball team is trying to get back to the Women’s College World Series after losing in the Super Regionals last year.
Based on the No. 8 ranking from the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll, the Wildcats will be good enough to get back to Oklahoma City.
Much will depend on junior pitcher Kenzie Fowler, who was 26-8 with a 1.76 ERA last season after leading Arizona to the championship round of the World Series in 2010.
Defending champ Arizona State starts at No. 1 in the poll.
As usual, the Pac-12 is well represented. Cal is third, Stanford 10th, Oregon 11th, UCLA 13th and Washington 14th.