OKLAHOMA CITY – After an impressive performance in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., the Oklahoma Sooners (5-0) took the coveted No. 1 spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America. The Sooners earned enough points to surpass 2012 NCAA Champion and Preseason First Place, Alabama (5-0), who was also undefeated on the weekend.
The Sooners, who outscored opponents 50-7 over the weekend, garnered 12 No. 1 votes this week with Alabama receiving the remaining 8 first place votes. In Tempe, Oklahoma started the weekend with a 6-0 win over then-No. 20 Stanford in which 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) picked up her first no-hitter of the year and second of her career. Other weekend action for the Sooners included a 14-2, five-inning run rule over Oregon State, a 12-0 run rule over then-No. 6 Oregon in which Ricketts picked up her second no-hitter of the weekend, an 11-1 five-inning win over New Mexico, and a 7-4 defeat of Northwestern. In the five games, OU’s batters managed 13 homeruns and a .316 average.
No. 2 Alabama produced nine homeruns of their own over the course of five wins at the UNI Dome Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Junior Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) pitched her team to three of the wins with a .049 ERA only allowing one run in 14.1 innings pitched. The Crimson Tide outscored its opponents 43-12 over the five game slate.
No. 3 Arizona State (7-0) clinched seven wins at the Kajikawa Classic, including three shutouts and two run-rules. The seven wins were enough to move the Sun Devils up one spot from their No. 4 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Preseason Poll.
Five wins in the Red Desert Classic in St. Georgia, Utah were enough to move No. 4 Tennessee up a spot in this week’s poll. The Lady Vols picked up three run rules over the weekend including an 18-3 (five innings) win over Southern Utah, a 14-2 (five innings) defeat of Idaho State and a 10-0 (Five innings) win over Utah State. Tennesse finished up the weekend with a 5-0 win over South Dakota and a 6-3 win over BYU.
The Florida Gators (5-0) made the biggest jump in this week’s poll, up 10 spots to No. 5 from their preseason No. 15 ranking. The Gators, also competing at the Kajikawa Classic, defeated then-No. 6 Oregon 1-0, then-No. 3 California 7-4 and then-No. 14 Arizona 14-3 over the weekend. Florida also picked up wins over Creighton (13-3, five innings) and Cal State Northridge (7-0).
No. 6 Texas (5-0) climbed two spots this week with a 5-0 record at their own Texas Classic. Missouri held steady at No. 7 as they wait to officially begin their season later this week. Suffering loses to Kentucky (3-2, nine innings) and then-No. 15 Florida (7-4), the California Golden Bears (2-2) fell five spots from their preseason poll ranking to No. 8. No. 9 Oregon (4-2), fell three spots after their losses to Florida and Oklahoma, and No. 10 Texas A&M (4-0) rounds out the Top 10 moving up seven positions after defeating then-No. 19 UCLA 7-6 in eight innings.
Georgia (3-2), ranked No. 8 in the pre-season poll, dropped out of the Top 10 to No. 14 after suffering an eight inning, 5-4 loss to unranked Ohio State as well as a 5-2 loss to unranked Elon. Despite the losses the Bulldogs came out of their opening weekend with a winning record.
Dropping out of the Top 25 are preseason No. 21 North Carolina (3-2), who suffered losses to Tulsa and then-No. 12 LSU, and preseason No. 22 Baylor (4-2). Entering the poll this week are No. 22 Kentucky (4-2) and No. 24 Georgia Tech (5-0), both of which received votes in the pre-season poll.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is currently in its 11th year. The regular season polls will be released each Tuesday throughout the season with the final poll of the year to be released on June 11 following the WCWS. The first of 14 USA Softball Collegiate Players of the Week will also be announced later today with a new player chosen each Tuesday of the regular season.
In addition to conducting the ESPN.com/USA Softball collegiate Top 25 Poll and the USA Softball Player of the Week, ASA/USA Softball is also in the 12th season of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. The Top 50 Watch List for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year was announced Feb. 1 with the Top 25 scheduled for April 10, the Top 10, May 8 and the Top 3 to be announced May 22. The 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 28.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed five World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.