OKLAHOMA CITY — Despite suffering their first loss of the season, Florida (24-1, 2-1 SEC) continues their reign atop the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The Gators, with 14 first place votes, are No. 1 for the fifth-consecutive time in the 2014 season while Tennessee (21-2) captured two first-place votes and UCLA (23-1) nabbed four votes.
The Gators went 3-1 on the week, starting with a standalone game against Boston College in which the they came out with a 7-3 win. Florida then kicked off Southeastern Conference (SEC) play against Ole Miss, who snapped the Gators 22 game win-streak with a 2-0 shutout in the first game of the series. Florida bounced back to beat the Rebels 10-3 and 2-0 to capture the series win.
Although suffering a 3-2 loss to Western Kentucky at the Tennessee Tournament, Tennessee (21-2) edged UCLA by one point to narrowly remain the No. 2 team in the country this week. The Lady Vols gave a dominant performance on the week, going 6-1, including two run-rule victories over Wright State ( 9-0, 6 innings and 8-0, 6 innings) and four shutout wins over Holy Cross (5-0), Campbell (1-0), Georgia Southern (2-0) and College of Charleston (3-0). Up next for the Lady Vols is the start of SEC play as they head to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas.
UCLA stayed at No. 3 this week despite earning two more first-place votes than Tennessee. The Bruins played host to then-No. 4 Michigan in a two-game series, besting the Wolverines 4-1 (8 innings) before falling 9-4 in their second matchup. UCLA closed out the week with a strong performance as host of the UCLA/CSUN invitational with wins over UNLV (8-0, 6 innings), Loyola Chicago ( 11-3, 6 innings and 7-1), Charleston Southern (4-0), CSU Bakersfield (4-2) and Georgetown (3-1).
No. 4 Oregon (18-2) moved up one spot in the poll this week despite taking a week off to prepare for the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. Also moving up in the poll is No. 5 Arizona State (26-3), who rebounded after suffering three losses last week. The Sun Devils offense came alive in a 16-2 (5 innings) win over Detroit before narrowly edging Longwood 1-0 in two standalone games prior to heading to Fullerton, Calif. for the Judi Garman Classic. In Fullerton, the Sun Devils were flawless with a 5-0 performance, including a 2-0 shutout over Michigan and a 1-0 (8 innings) pitching duel against then-No. 14 Nebraska.
Rounding out the Top 10: Washington (19-4) holds tight at No. 6 despite a 3-2 performance at the Judi Garman Classic; No. 7 Michigan (16-6) fell three positions following a 3-4 week, including losses to UCLA (4-1, 8 innings), Arizona State (2-0), Washington (7-1) and Houston (5-2); Arizona (23-3) remains No. 8 after posting a 5-2 record on the week; Alabama (20-4, 3-0 SEC) rejoined the Top 10 this week at No. 9 after sweeping South Carolina at home; Florida State (20-3, 2-1 ACC) fell one spot to No. 10 after a 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opener against Virginia.
New to the poll this week is Auburn (19-4-1, 2-1 SEC), who opened up SEC play at home against then-No. 23 LSU. Auburn lost their first matchup against LSU 4-1, but rebounded with 6-4 and 7-0 wins to collect the series win. Dropping out of the poll is last week's No. 25 USC Upstate (22-2, 3-0 A-Sun), who suffered their first two losses of the season against North Carolina State before picking up a win over North Carolina and two run-rule victories over South Carolina State.
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.
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 Series
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!