Sooners hold onto top spot in Top 25 Poll
OKLAHOMA CITY – For the second-consecutive week, the Oklahoma Sooners (10-0) earned 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 and USA Softball. The Sooners secured the top spot following an impressive road campaign at the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego, Calif. in which the Sooners collected four shut-out victories. The Sooners garnered 16 No. 1 votes this week with Alabama (10-0) receiving four first place votes.
In San Diego, the Sooners started the weekend with a 7-0 win over UC Riverside, followed by a 4-0 victory over San Diego State. The Sooners their shutout streak on Saturday with an 11-0, five-inning run-rule win against now-No. 20 Kentucky in which Jessica Shults (Valencia, Calif.), a member of the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watchlist, drove in five runs, including a grand slam, and collected her 56th career home run. With the grand slam, Shults tied the Big 12 and Oklahoma career home run record. Other weekend action for the Sooners includes: a 2-0 win against then-No. T16 Washington (6-5) and a 7-5 come from behind nine-inning win against Notre Dame. The Sooners are off to their best start since 2007, when they had a 23-game winning streak.
The No. 2 Crimson Tide claimed their 11th straight title at the FGCU/LaQuinta Inn and Suites Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. following their perfect 5-0 performance. Behind the bat of junior Kaila Hunt (Evans, Ga..), another contender on the Top 50 Watch List for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Tide defeated Appalachian State 9-3, Florida Gulf Coast University 2-1, Wichita State 2-0, Georgia Southern 2-1 (nine innings) and Southern Illinois 10-1 (five innings). Hunt led the powerful Alabama offense, going 7-for-13 (.538) with four doubles, two home runs, six RBI and six runs scored.
No. 3 Arizona State (12-0) clinched five wins at home this weekend, collecting wins against: Northern Iowa 5-3, Michigan State 9-2, Illinois Chicago 15-0 (five innings), Illinois State 7-1 and Minnesota 8-0 (five innings). The Sun Devils offense dominated the weekend, producing seven home runs and two grand slams over the course of the weekend. The Sun Devils have put up multiple home runs in nine games thus far and are currently on a four-game multiple homer streak. Up next for the Sun Devils is a four-game series against Portland State.
No. 4 Tennessee (10-0) held their spot on the poll following a flawless performance at the USF Four Team Tournament in Tampa, Fla.. The Lady Vols outscored their opponents 44-5 and closed out the weekend with five wins: North Carolina State 7-0 and 8-2, Coastal Carolina (8-0 (six innings) and 10-3 and then-No. 12 South Florida (6-3) 11-0. Florida (12-0) held steady at No. 5 after a perfect 7-0 outing during last week’s play. The Gators collected four run-rule victories before securing a 4-3 (eight inning) victory against Charleston Southern, their first extra-inning game of the season. No. 6 Texas (11-0), No. 7 Missouri (5-0) and No. 8 California (7-2) kept their respective slots on the Top 25, while No. 9 Texas A&M (10-0) moved up one slot following a 5-0 weekend as the host of the Aggie Classic in College Station, Texas. No. 10 LSU (10-1) cracked the Top 10 for the first time this season. The Tigers collected six wins over the week behind the arm of Rachele Fico (Oxford, Conn.), another USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watchlist member. Fico nabbed four wins in the circle and racked up 21 strikeouts over 19.2 innings of work.
Oregon (8-3) dropped out of the Top 10 to No. 11 after suffering a 6-5 loss against then-No. 23 Hawaii (8-4). Despite the loss, the Ducks produced a winning record at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., including victories against Long Beach State 10-1, Utah Valley 9-1, Louisiana-Monroe 4-0 and Cal State Fullerton 6-0.
Dropping out of the Top 25 are last week’s No. 24 Georgia Tech (8-2) and No. 25 Hoftra (2-3). New to the poll is No. 24 Tulsa (7-3) and Baylor (10-2).
This week, many teams take to the road to participate in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.. Over 10 teams participating are among the Top 25, and the schedule is full of strong match-ups between ranked teams. Oklahoma, No. 16 Georgia (6-2) and No. 23 Florida State (7-2) will face three ranked opponents apiece, while No. 19 Arizona (8-2), No. 13 UCLA (8-1), LSU, No. 22 Washington (6-5) and No. 17 Stanford (10-2) will face two ranked squads apiece.
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/.
About the NCAA Women’s College World Series
The ASA Hall of Fame Stadium serves as the home to the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS). For the 23rd year, the top eight college teams in the nation will head to Oklahoma City and complete for a National Championship title. Last year, over 75,000 fans attended the WCWS. Experience It Live May 30 to June 5 in Oklahoma City. Tickets for the 2013 NCAA WCWS are on sale now, click here to purchase your tickets and make a date with champions!