Sooners and Crimson Tide hold steady atop Top 25 Poll
OKLAHOMA CITY – Through three weeks of NCAA Division I Collegiate softball action, the No. 1 team in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll remains undefeated Oklahoma, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. Following an action-packed weekend at the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., this week’s poll features the most movement amongst the Top 25 teams to-date, including the first Top 10 appearance of the regular season for No. 10 UCLA (13-1) and the first appearance in the Top 25 poll for Virginia Tech (11-1) and Nebraska (11-4).
The Sooners received 18 of the 20 first place votes following a 5-0 performance at the Mary Nutter Classic. Oklahoma defeated then-No. 16 Georgia (7-6) 5-0, then-No. 19 Arizona (10-5) 5-0, UC Santa Barbara 5-2, Nebraska 2-0 and then-No. 23 Florida State (9-6) 6-0. The Sooners are now 7-0 against ranked teams and have outscored Top 25 teams 47-0 this year.
Behind an undefeated campaign at the Easton Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, Ala., No. 2 Alabama snagged two No. 1 votes. The team topped Western Illinois 21-0 (five innings) and 6-0, defeated Iowa 5-0 and 4-1 and finished the weekend with a 6-1 win over Winthrop. The Crimson Tide also defeated UAB 8-4 in a standalone game before the tournament. Arizona State (16-0) held steady at No. 3 this week following their four-game sweep against Portland State. The Sun Devils opened the series with a marathon 6-5 (12 inning) win that lasted almost four hours before nabbing 19-2 (five inning), 9-0 (five inning) and 4-3 victories over the Vikings.
While the Top 3 remained unchanged, the remainder of the Top 10 saw a shakeup in the rankings. Despite suffering their first loss of the season, Florida (16-1) moved up one spot to No. 4 in the poll. The Gators went 4-1 at the Mary Nutter Classic with wins over Loyola Marymount 8-2, Oklahoma State 2-0, Syracuse 5-1 and Georgia Tech 5-3 and their 3-4 (12 inning) loss coming at the hands of then-No. 7 Missouri (9-1). No. 5 Texas A&M (17-0) cracked the Top 5 for the first time this season after their flawless week in College Station, Texas. The Aggies collected a pair of wins against Stephen F. Austin, 3-0 and 8-0, and topped UTSA 8-0 (five innings) and 6-4, Purdue 5-1 and 6-1 before closing out the Texas A&M Invitational with a 8-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana. The last time the Aggies were ranked in the Top 5 was the Final Poll of the 2008 season.
No. 6 Missouri and No. 7 California (11-2) each rose one spot in the poll while No. 8 Texas (16-1) fell two spots and No. 9 Tennessee (13-2) fell three spots in the rankings. Rounding out the Top 10 is No. 10 UCLA, who had a breakout performance at the Mary Nutter Classic. The Bruins collected two wins over Top 10 ranked squads and finished the weekend with a perfect 5-0 record.
Another team to benefit from a powerful performance last week is Tulsa (11-4), which made the biggest climb in the poll this week, jumping from No. 24 last week to No. 19. The Golden Hurricane scored wins over Utah State and Lamar before splitting games with Texas. Georgia made the biggest drop this week, falling eight spots to No. 24 following their 1-4 performance at the Mary Nutter Classic. The Bulldogs started out the tournament with a 5-4 win over Colorado State before beginning a four-game losing streak which included losses to No. 1 Oklahoma 5-0, Cal Poly 1-0, then-No. 17 Stanford 6-0 and then-No. 22 Washington 14-2.
For the first time this season, Virginia Tech and Nebraska join the Top 25, coming in at No. 23 and No. 25, respectively. South Florida (6-8) and Florida State (9-6) dropped out of the Top 25. Only four teams in the Top 25 remain undefeated: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Arizona State and No. 5 Texas A&M.