TUCSON – The Arizona softball team released its 2014 schedule Friday, announced head coach Mike Candrea. The Wildcats will play 56 contests, including 32 home games in 2014.
Seventeen games will be televised, with all 17 airing on the Pac-12 Networks.
Thirty-one of UA's 59 games will be against teams who competed in the NCAA Championships last year. Twenty-three games will come against teams that were ranked in the NFCA's Top-25 at the end of last season, and the Cats will play eight games against teams that advanced to this past season's Women's College World Series.
The non-conference portion of UA's 2014 schedule features some of the nation's top softball programs, with a majority of the games taking place in tournaments. Twenty-one of the Cats' 32 non-conference games will be played in the span of four tournaments. Of these four, UA will host two; the Hillenbrand Invitational (2/13-2/16) and the Wildcat Invitational (2/28-3/2).
Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Tennessee State and 2012 National Champion Alabama are the five schools that will participate in the Hillenbrand Invitational. The four-day competition features two double-headers for the Wildcats (Feb. 15-16).
Partakers in the Wildcat Invitational include Texas-Arlington, Iowa, Indiana, reigning Big South champion Longwood, and back-to-back Horizon League champion Valparaiso. The event will last three days (2/28-3/2), with the first two days being double-headers for the Cats.
Wildcats will also face Texas A&M, Missouri and Nebraska when they travel to Cathedral City, Calif. for the Mary Nutter Classic (2/20-2/22). All three teams were ranked in the top-25 last season and participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. This will be Arizona's fifth consecutive trip, and ninth overall, to Cathedral City.
Arizona will battle a pair of Big Ten powerhouses when they travel to Fullerton, Calif. for the Judi Garman Classic (3/7-9). The Cats kick the tournament off with last year's College World Series' participant Michigan, followed by Big Ten Champion Wisconsin. Arizona has competed in the Judi Garman, previously named the CSFU Pony Invitational, Pony-Louisville Slugger and Kia Klassic, every year since 1984.