After beating Oregon State in dramatic fashion to improve to 10-0, the Arizona softball moved up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the latest NFCA Coaches Poll, only behind Oklahoma.
The Wildcats hopped Pac-12 rival UCLA, who lost to Oregon in Tempe this weekend. It is Arizona’s highest ranking since they were No. 2 on April 10, 2017.
The Wildcats have been destroying teams, posting an 89-12 run differential so far. This is the first time in program history that they have run-ruled eight of their first 10 opponents.
Carlie Scupin has had a huge hand in it. The freshman first baseman was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week and Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Tuesday after tallying four homers and 15 RBI in five wins in the Wildcat Invitational. That includes an eighth-inning, game-tying RBI single in the comeback win over Oregon State on Sunday.
This isn’t surprising anyone.
“I told you in the very beginning that she’s got as good of power as I’ve seen,” head coach Mike Candrea said this weekend. “The key is that you’re able to make adjustments and be able to make contact. And I think she’s very capable of being a 20-plus home run hitter every year that she’s gonna play here.”
#Pac12SB Player of the Week: Carlie Scupin.
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 2, 2021
Scupin got off to a somewhat slow start with just one hit in her first three games. Since then, the Tucson High product has eight hits and five homers in six games. Her 17 RBI are tied for third-most in the Pac-12 behind ASU catcher Maddi Hackbarth and UA catcher Dejah Mulipola.
“I’m definitely a lot more comfortable at the plate, just getting that first weekend out and getting all the, I guess, first game jitters out,” Scupin said during the Wildcat Invitational. “Now I’m seeing the ball a lot better than I did last weekend.”
Candrea said Scupin has a “fabulous plate presence right now.”
“If she can keep that going throughout the year, I’ll be a happy man,” he said. “But she’s calm and she sees the ball well, she’s not too anxious. And like we talked about, if she gets the barrel on the ball you know good things are gonna happen for her because she’s so strong.”
Arizona returns to action Saturday when they head to Florida where they will face USF (x2), No. 21 UCF, Florida A&M and No. 16 Florida State (x3).