Tennessee collects four votes in Top 25 Poll preventing Oklahoma from a third sweep

By Steven Embree | April 23, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Sooners (39-3, 8-1 Big 12) continue their reign atop the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll this week with Tennessee (42-6, 15-3 SEC) closing the gap receiving four of the 20 first-place votes the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The Sooners, who suffered their first Big 12 Conference loss, received the remaining 16 votes to maintain their No. 1 ranking.

Click here to see the complete ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25.

The Sooners took to the road to meet up with No. 7 Texas (39-6, 9-2 Big 12) for a three-game series with the victor coming out of the series with the lead in the Big 12 Conference.  In game one, the Sooners jumped on Texas ace Blaire Luna (Austin, Texas) early to come out with a 6-1 win.  Game two had the opposite result as Oklahoma fell early to Texas, and despite a last inning rally, fell 4-2 to the Longhorns.  Oklahoma finished the series with a 5-3 win over Texas with the help of Shelby Pendley (Rio Rancho, N.M.), who hit two home runs to secure the win.

Tennessee tightened their grip on the No. 2 spot this week following their series sweep of Ole Miss.  The Lady Vols took game one 12-4 (five innings) and followed with two run-rules: 15-5 (six innings) and 9-1 (five innings).  Florida (45-5, 14-4 SEC) rose back to the No. 3 spot this week following an 8-0 (five innings) standalone win over then-No. 23 Florida State (37-15, 16-2 ACC) and a three-game series sweep of Longwood (5-1, 9-5 and 8-0).  Also rising in the poll this week is No. 4 Oregon (38-6, 13-2 Pac-12), who collected two wins over Portland State: 5-0 and 8-0 (five innings).

Arizona State (39-7, 10-5 Pac-12) fell to No. 5 this week after dropping a series to unranked Utah.  The Sun Devils suffered back-to-back losses to the Utes, 4-5 (eight innings) and 6-5, before rebounding in game three to finish the series with a 6-4 win.  Rounding out the Top 10: No. 6 Alabama (40-7, 12-6 SEC) had a win over Southern Mississippi and went 2-1 with Mississippi State; TNo. 7 Texas was 1-2 against Oklahoma; TNo. 7 Louisville (42-6, 15-1 Big East) collected two wins over Pittsburgh and swept Villanova in their three-game series matchup; No. 9 Michigan (39-7, 16-0 Big 10) kept their Big 10 record flawless after a nine-inning win over Indiana and a series sweep of Iowa; No. 10 California (35-9, 9-6 Pac-12) cruised past Santa Clara and went 2-1 with Oregon State.

Rejoining the Top 25 this week is No. 23 Georgia (34-15, 11-7), who had a loss to SC Upstate and a series sweep over then-No. 13 Texas A&M (35-12, 6-11 SEC).  No. 25 Arkansas (30-17, 8-10 SEC) makes their first appearance in the poll this season after a series win over then-No. 17 Kentucky (34-14, 10-8 SEC).  Dropping out is last week’s No. 22 Tulsa (33-13-1, 13-5 C-USA) and TNo. 25 Arizona (28-19, 5-10 Pac-12) and TNo. 25 North Carolina (35-15, 11-5 ACC).

The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA/USA Softball Regions as well as members of National and Local media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.