Offensive fueled weekend keeps Pac 12 squads atop the ESPNcom USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll
OKLAHOMA CITY — A perfect 4-0 record, including three run-rule victories, and the Oregon Ducks (40-5, 14-1 Pac-12) maintain their unanimous No. 1 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. All 20 first-place votes were awarded to the Ducks, who continued their dominance in the Pac-12 Conference after outscoring opponents 49-6 in four games.
Oregon started their week with an 18-0 (five inning) win over in-state rival Oregon State, concluding a three-game series against the Beavers. The Ducks then returned home to face-off against California where they would earn their second-consecutive Pac-12 series sweep after posting 9-1 (six inning), 15-3 (five inning) and 7-2 wins over the Golden Bears.
No. 2 UCLA (39-4, 12-3 Pac-12) also produced a 4-0 record over the week with a standalone 8-0 (five inning) win over Cal State Northridge before sweeping Oregon State. The Bruins took game one of the series 8-4, captured a 9-1 (six inning) run-rule in game two and finished with a 10-8 win in game three. Michigan (36-7, 14-1 Big 10) stays at No. 3 this week after posting two wins over Big 10 rival No. 13 Minnesota (33-8, 11-5 Big 10). The Wolverines lost game one of the series 1-0 but rebounded with a 3-1 win in their next matchup before capturing the series with a 7-2 win over the Gophers. Michigan also took an 11-0 (five inning) standalone game over Central Michigan earlier in the week.
Moving up one spot is No. 4 Arizona State (39-7, 12-3 Pac-12) who split two games against No. 11 Washington (25-12, 5-8 Pac-12). The Sun Devils kicked off the series with a 3-1 win before falling to the Huskies 3-2 (10 inning) after Hooch Fagaly (Chino, Calif.) hit a walk-off home run to clinch the upset. Inclement weather canceled the third and final game of the series between the two teams. Jumping two spots to rejoin the Top 5 this week is Florida (40-8, 11-7 SEC) who swept then-No. 22 Texas A&M (29-17, 9-12 SEC), including two wins via run-rule, and earned Head Coach Tim Walton his 600th career win. Florida combined for 30 runs while holding the Aggies to just five and earned their first sweep on the road since Week 8 of the 2013 season.
No. 6 Florida State (44-6, 21-3 ACC) put up great numbers over the week as they recorded five victories over Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponents Pittsburgh and Syracuse while Alabama (39-8, 15-3 SEC) fell one spot to No. 7 after suffering a loss to then-No. 23 Auburn (33-14-1, 7-11 SEC). No. 8 Tennessee (36-8, 12-6 SEC) fell four spots this week after dropping two to Mississippi State while Arizona (34-9, 9-6 Pac-12) holds onto the No. 9 spot after taking a week off. Rounding out the Top 10 is Kentucky (38-9, 12-6 SEC) who took two-of-three games from Arkansas.
Despite some shifting in the Top 10, there was not a lot of movement in the remainder of the Top 25 Poll this week. The No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners (34-10, 11-2 Big 12) strengthened their hold on the Big 12 title after posting two wins against their Red River rivals Texas. Sooners pitching ace Kelsey Stevens (Albuquerque, N.M.) appeared in all three matchups and gave her team a three-game cushion over the Longhorns in conference play. No. 15 Tulsa (41-5, 15-2 Conference USA) moved up one spot this week after posting a sweep against UT-San Antonio. The Golden Hurricane took game one 4-0 before capturing a close 12-11 win over the Roadrunners. Game three would prove to be just as dramatic as Tulsa clinched a 2-1 (11 inning) win to complete the series sweep.
No. 19 Nebraska (33-13, 11-4 Big 10) and No. 21 Notre Dame (29-9, 9-4 ACC) also put up notable performances in conference action this week. The Huskers swept Ohio State at home, outscoring the Buckeyes 30-1 in three run-rule victories. Notre Dame was also flawless over the week, producing a 4-0 record, including three games via run-rule. The Fighting Irish picked up a 17-2 (five inning) win over Toledo before sweeping Virginia 8-0 (five inning), 12-1 (five inning) and 15-8.
The Road to Oklahoma City continues as teams compete in their final two weeks of regular season play before heading into Conference Championship Tournaments. The Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference (SEC) continue to lead the Top 10 with four teams each while the Big 10 and ACC each have one representative.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is voted on by coaching representatives of 10 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA/USA Softball Regions as well as members of the National and Local media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.
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 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 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 the 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 six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com.
About the NCAA Women’s College World
The ASA Hall of Fame Stadium serves as the home to the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS). For the 24th year, the top eight college teams in the nation will head to Oklahoma City and complete for a National Championship title. Last year, over 70,000 fans attended the WCWS. Experience It Live May 29 to June 4 in Oklahoma City. Tickets for the 2014 NCAA WCWS are on sale now, click here to purchase your tickets and make a date with champions!