Sooners keep rolling in at number one
OKLAHOMA CITY — Six weeks of NCAA Division I softball have yet to produce a shake up at the top of the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll. The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today that Oklahoma (27-1), with 20 first place votes, is the first unanimous No. 1 of the 2013 season.
The Sooners, who have held the top spot in the poll since week one, traveled to Fullerton, Calif. this week to compete in the Judi Garman Classic where they went 5-0 with five shutouts, including three run-rule victories. Oklahoma defeated Pacific 9-0 (5) and North Carolina St. 3-0 on Friday and then-No. 19 Arizona 4-0 on Saturday. Oklahoma wrapped up their perfect weekend by topping Penn St. 8-0 (5) and Cal State Fullerton 9-0 (5) on Sunday. This weekend the Sooners return to Norman for a three-game series with No. 11 Louisville (23-3).
Holding on at No. 2 for the second consecutive week is Arizona State (29-2). The Sun Devils also competed in the Judi Garman Classic this weekend and went 4-1 with wins over Cal State Fullerton 9-0, then-No. 10 Texas 3-0, then-No. T21 Virginia Tech 11-0 and Pacific 5-4. The Pac-12 squad suffered just their second loss of the season to then-No. 14 Michigan 4-5 on Saturday.
At No. 3, the Florida Gators (27-3, 4-2 SEC) hosted their first SEC series of the year over the weekend when they welcomed then-No. 7 Tennessee to Gainesville. The top-ten matchup lived up to the hype as all three games between the conference foes went extra innings. The Gators took game one on Friday 6-5 (8) but Tennessee came back with a 3-1 (8) victory on Saturday. In the final game of the series, Florida, down three runs in the sixth, rallied to tie the game and send it to extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Florida pitcher Lauren Haeger hit a two-run, walk-off homer for the 5-3 win.
No. 4 Texas A&M (26-2, 4-1 SEC) and No. 5 California (23-3) flip-flop in this week’s rankings. The Aggies went 3-0 over the weekend defeating Arkansas 2-1, 7-3 and 9-1 (5). The Golden Bears started their week strong by shutting out then-No. 15 Baylor 3-0 on Wednesday, then-No. 23 Hawaii 1-0 on Thursday and defeating Syracuse 2-1 on Friday but an 8-1 loss in Saturday’s rematch with the Orange kept the reigning Pac-12 Champs from a perfect week.
Rounding out the Top 10: No. 6 Alabama (26-3, 4-2 SEC) swept South Carolina this week; No. 7 Missouri (15-2, 4-1 SEC) was 5-0 on the week with a three-game sweep of Ole Miss; No. 8 Tennessee (23-6, 3-3 SEC) dropped one spot after suffering two losses to No. 3 Florida; No. 9 Texas (27-4) went 4-1 to move up one spot in this week’s poll; and No. 10 Oregon (23-4) went 2-0 against New Mexico.
New to the poll, No. 24 Georgia (21-7, 3-0 SEC) returns to the Top 25 after a two-week hiatus and No. 25 South Alabama (23-5, 2-1 Sun Belt) enters the Top 25 for the first time this season. Following four losses on the week, North Carolina (19-10, 3-0 ACC) dropped out of this week’s poll along with Louisiana-Lafayette (19-11, 2-4 Sun Belt) who fell twice to now-No. 25 South Alabama this week.