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Arizona softball to open its season with the Hillenbrand Invitational

Posted: 10:49 PM, Feb 07, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-08 05:49:20Z
Tenth-ranked Arizona is set to kick off the 2017 campaign at home as it welcomes Fordham, Cal State Northridge, Baylor, Northwestern and Tulsa for the 21st Hillenbrand Invitational.
 
The Wildcats have a solid one-two starting pitching punch with senior Danielle O'Toole, and sophomore Taylor McQuillan. Arizona also returns the current NCAA home run leader in third baseman Katiyana Mauga.
 
"I hate throwing scrimmages to my own team, I hate it, said O'Toole. "You're supposed to like competition but it doesn't even matter because the lineup is so stacked."
 
Two of the newcomers who are projected as starters are freshman catcher Dejah Mulipola and centerfielder Alyssa Palomino, who missed last year with a torn ACL. Both players impressed during fall practice.
 
"I'd be very disappointed if this team doesn't make a big run, this year, because I think we have everything that it takes," said head coach Mike Candrea.  "I think we have quality pitching, we can play good defense. I think our offensive production is going to be good, one through nine.
 
Arizona eight-player senior class is its largest since the eight seniors in 2001 went out on top, winning the program's sixth NCAA title.
 
The Wildcats first game will be Thursday at 6pm against Fordham.