Arizona softball catcher Izzy Pacho made the prudent decision to take a two-week break from the diamond to focus on re-centering her mental health, leading the Wildcats to turn to highly touted freshman Olivia DiNardo.

“I was ready to go. When it was my turn to go, I wanted to do the best I could for my team, and I think watching Izzy made it extremely easy to step in. I knew everything she did well, so I just wanted to immolate that for the team-communicating, talking to the pitchers, helping the coaches,” DiNardo said.

As she continues to prove why she was the No. 2 catching recruit in the nation, according to Extra Inning Softball, DiNardo says she cherishes her time behind the plate as it allows her to feel more in touch with the game, as well as better helps her track the ball when she’s in the batter’s box.

“I can’t say enough about her,” Arizona Softball head coach Caitlin Lowe says. “She’s not just a hitter with tools when she walks up there, she is trying to outsmart the pitcher, and usually you take three or four years to get to that point.”

As Pacho returns this weekend, Arizona will host 2nd-ranked UCLA, which brings the return of former Wildcats catcher Sharlize Palacios and outfielder Janelle Meoo, who both transferred from Arizona following the end of last season.