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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Five Arizona Wildcats crack Softball America Top 100

Amy Bailey
Arizona shortstop Jessie Harper swings at the incoming ball from Oregon during the Arizona- Oregon State game at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on Friday April 27 in Tucson Arizona.

While the Arizona Wildcats and the rest of the league await the official decision from the NCAA to determine if spring student-athletes will be given an extra year of eligibility, Softball America released its top 100 players list on Monday, March 23, that included five Arizona players in the top 100 and two in the top 10.  

  • Jessie Harper (5)
  • Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza (7)
  • Reyna Carranco (73)
  • Mariah Lopez (77)
  • Alyssa Denham (82)

Harper led the team in batting average (.395), home runs (10) and runs batted in (29) in 2020 before the season was cut short due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Palomino-Cardoza hit .373 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs. Carranco had the second highest batting average in the Pac-12 last season after slashing .416. She was hitting .360 this season.

The Wildcats also dominated on the pitching side of things with Lopez and Denham as their two aces. Lopez struck out 93 batters in 71 innings pitched and allowed just a 1.38 ERA. Denham finished the season with a 1.92 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 80.1 innings pitched. 

The five players are all seniors and could potentially be eligible to play in 2021. The NCAA will hold an official vote on March 30 to discuss the possibility of granting a fifth year to spring student-athletes. The NCAA has already released a statement supporting this plan so the vote is most likely to go through.

“Council leadership agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division I student-athletes who participated in spring sports,” an NCAA statement said. “Details of eligibility relief will be finalized later with input from the Division I membership. Additional issues with the NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those with members in the coming days and weeks.” 

The committee will also exercise the idea of giving an extra year of eligibility to winter student-athletes, which includes men’s and women’s basketball. That, however, is unlikely to go through, according to sources at ESPN. 

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