OKLAHOMA CITY — Four 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 the Florida Gators (21-0), with 19 first place votes, are No. 1 for the fourth-consecutive time in the 2014 season.
The Gators, who have held the top spot in the poll since week one, traveled to Orlando, Fla. this week to compete in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic where they went 5-0 and outscored opponents 43-4. Florida defeated then-No. 6 Oregon 2-1 in an eight-inning shootout on Friday and Fordham 9-0 and Ohio State 9-1 (6) on Saturday. They wrapped up their perfect weekend by topping Maryland 16-0 (5) and Radford 7-0 on Sunday. This weekend the Gators return to Gainesville for a match-up with Boston College on Tuesday and a three-game series with Ole Miss over the weekend.
Holding on at No. 2 for the second-consecutive week and third time since the start of the season is Tennessee (15-1). Following a midweek, 8-4 win at Cal State Fullerton the Lady Vols competed in the San Diego Classic over the weekend where they went 1-1 before being rained out of their final three games. The SEC squad suffered its first loss of the season when BYU took a 6-3 decision on Thursday. Tennessee bounced back to beat San Diego State 3-1 later in the day. The Lady Vols will return to Knoxville for their first home games of the season when they host a doubleheader with Wright State on Wednesday and the Tennessee Tournament March 7-9.
One week after cracking the top five, the UCLA Bruins (16-0) jumped two spots to No. 3 this week despite having all four of their games at the Long Beach Louisville Slugger Invitational rained out last week. The Bruins play host to No. 4 Michigan on Tuesday and Wednesday this week before competing in six games in the UCLA/C Sun Invitational this weekend.
Michigan (13-2) managed to get one of five games in over the weekend, a 7-1, six inning run rule over Utah Valley, to hold on to the No. 4 position in the poll. Following their mid-week contests with No. 3 UCLA, the Wolverines will travel to Fullerton, Calif. next Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Judi Garman Classic.
The No. 5 Oregon Ducks (18-2) join the Top five for the first time since Week 14 of last season. The defending Pac-12 Champs went 4-1 on the week behind the pitching of ace Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) who was 3-1 in the circle and allowed just one run while striking out 49 batters in 23 innings pitched. The Ducks head to Honolulu, Hawaii this week for the Rainbow Wahine Classic.
Rounding out the Top 10: No. 6 Washington (16-2) climbed one spot after going 3-0 at the Libby Matson Tournament over the weekend; No. 7 Arizona State (19-3) fell four positions following a 2-3 weekend that included losses to South Carolina, 3-2, then-No. 20 Minnesota, 3-2 and Ball State, 3-0; the Arizona Wildcats (18-1) continued their climb up the poll moving up one spot after a 5-0 week that included four, five-inning run rules; No. 9 Florida State rejoined the Top 10 this week following a one-week hiatus; and No. 10 Kentucky fell two spots despite going 3-0 on the week.
New to the poll, No. 25 USC Upstate (19-0) enters the Top 25 for the first time after receiving votes in each of the previous polls this season. Following two losses on the week, Arkansas (15-5) dropped out of this week’s poll.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is voted on by coaching representatives from 10 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.