The Arizona softball team, seeded 10th in the 64-team postseason tournament, will play host to an NCAA regional this weekend.
Mike Candrea‘s Wildcats will open Friday against Cornell at Hillenbrand Stadium. The other teams in the regional, which will be held through Sunday, are Oklahoma State and Hofstra.
Oklahoma State and Hofstra will play at 4 p.m. Friday. The Arizona-Cornell game is set for 6 p.m., starting about 30 minutes after the completion of the first game. The Arizona athletics site has the full schedule.
The big questions for Arizona are the availability of star freshman pitcher Kenzie Fowler (who left Friday’s game against UCLA because of swelling in her hand) and the status of No. 2 pitcher Sarah Akamine (who left Saturday’s game because of a knee injury).
Senior Ashley Ralston-Alvarez, from Catalina Foothills High and Pima Community College, finished Saturday’s game against UCLA. She has thrown only 9 2/3 innings this season.
Oklahoma State is the main competition in the Tucson regional. OSU (43-14) was ranked 16th in the most recent ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Cowgirls’ freshman pitcher Kat Espinosa, who threw a no-hitter against Texas in late April, was selected first-team All-Big 12.
The winner of the Tucson regional will play the winner of the regional in Austin, Texas. The Texas Longhorns are the top seed in that regional, No. 7 overall. That means that the Wildcats would be looking at a trip to Austin for the Super Regional, should the favorites advance.
Arizona had been sent on the road in the past two seasons in regional play.