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Arizona Wildcats add a softball transfer from rival UCLA

Kellie Fox

Kellie Fox

Former UCLA shortstop Kellie Fox has transferred to Arizona and will be eligible to play for the Wildcats in the 2014 season, coach Mike Candrea told TucsonCitizen.com on Thursday.

Fox, who started classes at Arizona on Wednesday, is the sister of former Arizona All-American shortstop Kristie Fox.

Candrea had put off questions about Fox until the resolution of Arizona’s petition to lower the penalty for transferring within the Pac-12. UA won that case Thursday morning.

By NCAA rules, softball players can transfer one time without penalty. According to Pac-12 rules, however, transfers within the league have to sit out a season while losing a year of eligibility and not being able to receive scholarship money from the athletic department for one year.

As is common, Arizona petitioned to reduce the transfer penalty to just sitting out the season. The conference’s faculty athletic representatives granted that request, taking into account that UCLA did not object to her transfer.

“We’re looking forward to having her in the program,” Candrea said. “She will have an impact.”

Fox will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out this season. She figures to be the 2014 replacement at shortstop, following the transfer of sophomore Shelby Pendley in December. Senior third baseman Brigette Del Ponte likely will fill the shortstop role this season.

Fox earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors as a freshman, when she hit .342 with 11 home runs while starting all 55 games for UCLA, which has been Arizona’s chief rival for more than two decades.

She slumped as a sophomore last season, hitting .251 with four home runs and starting all 56 games.

Fox, coming off elbow surgery, can practice with the Wildcats this season.

“She’s started to throw a little bit,” Candrea said. “We’re going to do what we need to do with the rehab part, but she will be able to take ground balls and swing the ball a little bit. It will be nice to have her out there.”

The Wildcats, who began practice earlier this week, open the season at Kajikawa Classic in Tempe on Feb. 8.

Kristie Fox, who is beginning her first season as the head coach at UT-Arlington, was a first-team All-American at Arizona in 2005 and 2006. She helped the Wildcats win the Women’s College World Series in 2006 and 2007.

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