Arizona State prevents Oklahoma sweep in Top 25 Poll

By Codi Warren | March 12, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY — During a week in which several ranked teams kicked off conference play, the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll saw a major shakeup the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. Top-ranked Oklahoma (22-1), furthered their hold of the No. 1 spot, receiving 18 first-place votes while Arizona State (25-1) staked their claim with two. This marks the first time this season that the Sun Devils have garnered first-place votes.

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season, No. 1 Oklahoma dominated the weekend, capturing four run-rule victories and outscoring opponents 47-2. The Sooners topped Northern Colorado 14-0 (five innings) and 10-0 (five innings) and Drake University 10-2 (six innings) and 13-0 (five innings) to preserve the top ranking in the poll. Following a 4-0 performance at their Diamond Devil Invitational, Arizona State moved up one spot in the poll to No. 2. The Sun Devils topped Pittsburgh 10-0 (five innings) and 8-2 and UC Davis 12-3 (five innings) before closing the weekend with a 6-0 win over New Mexico State. The Florida Gators (25-2, 2-1 SEC) moved up one spot to No. 3 this week, despite suffering a loss to unranked Auburn. The Gators started the week with an 8-4 win over then-No. 2 Alabama before opening Southeastern Conference (SEC) play with two wins (13-0 and 2-0) over Auburn and dropping a 5-4 decision to the Tigers.

Also moving up in the ranks this week is No. 4 California (20-2), while No. 5 Texas A&M (23-2, 1-1 SEC) continues to hold their place in the poll. Alabama (23-3, 1-2 SEC) dropped to No. 6 following a week of action in which the Crimson Tide suffered three consecutive losses. The Crimson Tide were dealt their first loss of the season by Florida, and then suffered back-to-back losses against then-No. 10 Tennessee (4-3 and 2-1). Alabama bounced back with a 7-1 win to close the three-game series with a 1-2 SEC record. With the wins, Tennessee (21-4, 2-1 SEC) jumped three spots to No. 7. Rounding out the Top 10 are No. 8 Missouri (10-2, 1-1 SEC), No. 9 Oregon (21-4) and No. 10 Texas (23-3).

No. 11 Louisville (20-3) continues their rise in the Top 25, jumping two spots from last week’s poll. The Cardinals, host of the Red & Black Tournament in Louisville, Ky., were a perfect 4-0 on the weekend, collecting a 5-4 win over No. 14 Michigan (17-6), a 9-1 (six inning) win over Miami (Ohio) and a five-inning, 12-0 run-rule over Austin Peay before capping off the weekend with a 9-3 defeat of Illinois State. Also collecting their highest ranking of the season are this week’s No. 15 Baylor (22-3) and No.T21 Virginia Tech (15-2) and No. T21 Nebraska (16-5. The Bears swept their three-game series against Purdue and Nebraska nabbed two wins over Wichita State while the Hokies collected a 3-1 record at the Long Beach State Invitational in Lakewood, Calif., including a 2-1 win over then-No. 9 UCLA (22-4). Louisiana-Lafayette (16-9, 1-2 Sun Belt) suffered the biggest drop this week, slipping eight spots to No. 25 following a 1-4 week of play.

The Top 25 teams remained the same this week, with the SEC and Pac-12 represented by seven teams apiece, with the SEC leading with five Top 10 teams. The Big 12 has three teams in the Top 25, while the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big 10 have two teams each. Not to be forgotten are the Big East, Big West, Conference USA and Sun Belt Conference, who are represented by one team each in the Top 25.

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.

About ASA

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!

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