Jessie Harper, Dejah Mulipola, Alyssa Palomino Blast Arizona Record Books

The junior class for the Arizona Wildcats is on a mission to be one of the greatest collection of players not just in program history, but in the nation. Leading the way are a trio — Jessie Harper, Dejah Mulipola, and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza — who have combined for 50 home runs this season, the most for any three players from one team.

In fact, the Wildcats possess the only roster in the nation that includes more than two players with double-digit home runs — Harper (21), Mulipola (17), and Palomino-Cardoza (13), and Malia Martinez (11). For perspective, the combined total of the four juniors would rank them eighth in the country if they were their own team.


“We definitely feed off each other and have the utmost confidence in each other,” said Harper, who leads the nation in home runs and is ranked fifth nationally in slugging percentage. “We have a motto here at Arizona known as ‘Pass the bat’ and we are confident that each player in the lineup and off the bench will put the ball in play and hit the ball hard. Knowing what each one of us brings to the table has allowed us to be relaxed at the plate. We take pride in knowing how dominant we can be and that has helped us so far this season.”


The Wildcats lead the country in home runs (81), already surpassing their 2018 total of 75 that was sixth most in the country. The 81 home runs exceed the number of total runs that Arizona’s pitchers have allowed all season (74).

The display of power is a prime reason why the No. 8 Wildcats (35-7, 12-0) are off to their best Pac-12 start in program history (2017, 13-0; 1994, 23-0). After a tough early stretch in which they faced eight teams currently ranked in the top 25, the Wildcats have reeled off 17 consecutive victories, most recently three convincing league wins over Pac-12 foe Utah (13-0, 22-1, 13-2) and non-conference opponent Grand Canyon University (6-0, 2-0, 8-1).

During Arizona's 17-game winning streak, which began after the Wildcats suffered two close defeats in a three-game series against then-No. 1 Florida State, the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 152-14.

“The losses (to FSU) were an eye-opener,” said Harper, who is 10th in Arizona history with 58 home runs for her career, two away from becoming the fourth Wildcat in school history to hit her 60th career home run play on the field. “We could have done things differently and came away with wins but we realized that we can compete against anyone on the field. It motivated us to compete and play our game and not worry about the other team. If we focus on what we do best, we know we can be as great as we want to be.”


A large part of that confidence stems from when the Arizona players played either with or against each other in the ultra-competitive club circuit.

Mulipola and Palomino-Cardoza are two of seven current Arizona players who were a part of the nationally renowned OC Batbusters club. The two won three national championships while playing with the organization based in Orange County, California.


“We take pride in being great and it is what we learned early on from our coaches with (the OC Batbusters),” said Palomino-Cardoza, who also helped lead Mission Viejo High School to a CIF championship in 2014 and state runner-up in 2015. “Mark Campbell and Mike Stith instilled in us to approach the game with a winning and tough-nosed mentality. Keeping that mentality here of being great and being dominant has influenced the chemistry of this team.”

The mentality has certainly contributed to a dominating offense. Arizona's offense is top 10 in the NCAA in home runs per game (1st - 1.97), slugging percentage (3rd - .638), batting average (6th - .344), scoring (6th - 7.46) and on-base percentage (.427).

The power at the plate has been so impressive that the home fans -- who are nationally known to be one of the most faithful — have begun showing up earlier than usual to watch batting practice.

Case in point, a recent home run by the left-handed swinging Palomino-Cardoza that landed on top of the Gittings Building which is situated beyond the right-field wall of Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium was a follow-up performance from a similar blast in pre-game warm-ups.


“She hit it a ball like that ironically during batting practice over the scoreboard and I asked if she thought she would be able to do it in a game and then she did," Mulipola said. “The building has to be at least 60 feet tall. It was awesome. That was definitely the most impressive any of us have had this season.”

Harper played for the So Cal Choppers Gold, a club that often battled against the Batbusters in major tournaments. The Arizona shortstop believes the success of the Wildcats is due in large part to an Arizona roster that has 16 players who competed for a California club team.

“Just the fact that we know how great the teams are in California and how competitive it can be has allowed us to step in almost immediately and contribute right away,” said Harper, who has been named first-team all-conference and all-region player for two consecutive seasons.

Or to put it more bluntly, as Mulipola described, the Wildcats as “An incredibly confident bunch of players.”

More Ways To Watch FloSoftball

Never miss a moment. 

USA Softball Announces WBSC Men's Softball World Championship Roster

OKLAHOMA CITY – The final roster for the 2019 USA Softball Men’s National Team (MNT) was announced today by USA Softball. The 17-member roster will compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s Softball World Championship (MWC) set to take place July 13-23 in Prague, Czech Republic. The 16th edition of the men's flagship softball event will showcase 72 games of the highest-level softball competition in the world.

USA Women's & U19 Women National Teams Arrive In Rosemont & Houston

null

OKLAHOMA CITY — Houston, Texas and Rosemont, Ill. turn Red, White and Blue this week as two USA Softball National Teams conduct their 2019 training camps. The USA Softball U-19 Women’s National Team (WNT) and WNT will hold their respective training camps June 10-16 with the U-19 WNT at the Scrap Yard Sports Complex in Houston, Texas and the WNT at the home of the Chicago Bandits in Rosemont, Ill.

What To Watch For NPF 2019 Season

null

Last season USSSA Pride reclaimed the Cowles Cup Championship over the Chicago Bandits but this season could have a much different ending.

Chicago Bandits Brenna Moss Is The Savage You Never Knew

What You Get with FloPRO

When North High School softball standout Brenna Moss opted to stay close to home, shifting her commitment from Utah State University to nearby Fresno State, the Bakersfield native never could’ve imagined the path her softball career would take.

What To Watch For At WBSC XVI Men's Softball World Championship

null

With eight teams expecting to make the playoffs again in the tournament, worldwide softball fans can expect intense competition in Group A of the XVI WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship, starting on Thursday in Prague. World No. 1 New Zealand, Japan (3), Argentina (5), host Czech Republic (7), Mexico (9), Botswana (13), Philippines (17) and Cuba (24) have all playoff experience, and will arrive to Europe aiming to finish as one of the top four teams of the group and advance to the decisive stage of the tournament.

Tulsa Elite Invite: After The Storms, Battles Continued

Download The FloSports iOS App Today

For two days the Tulsa Elite Invite was marred by bad weather that made scheduling games almost impossible for tournament officials.

Tulsa Elite Invite: Texas Glory Naudin 16U String Hits For Lead

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- After the opening day of the Tulsa Elite Invite was interrupted by weather delays, it looked like the tournament had finally found some good luck on day two. With games not starting until 5 p.m., tournament officials were optimistic they could get the event back on schedule.

Tulsa Elite Invite: Texas Bombers Do Damage Before The Storm

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — The Tulsa Elite Summer Invite got off to a strong start Thursday at the Arrowhead Sports Complex, but then Mother Nature decided to spoil the softball party.

Top Players To Watch For At The 2019 Tulsa Elite Invite

Download The FloSports iOS App Today

The Tulsa Elite Invite hosts a number of top athletes, Hot 100 players, future All-Americans, and National Champions.