UCLA takes over the top spot in the ESPNcom USA Softball Collegiate Top 25
OKLAHOMA CITY — A two-game sweep of conference foe and then-No. 8 Arizona coupled with a Florida (28-2, 4-2 SEC) loss was enough to propel UCLA (25-1, 2-0 Pac-12) to its first No. 1 overall ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll since Week One of the 2011 season the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. UCLA received 11 first-place votes this week with the Gators nabbing eight and Tennessee one.
The Bruins extended their winning streak to eight games over the weekend as they defeated Arizona 1-0 on Saturday and 8-4 on Sunday to open Pac-12 play at 2-0. The series victory boosted UCLA up two spots in the poll from a No. 3 ranking last week.
Falling out of the top spot for the first time since the start of the regular season, the Florida Gators went 4-1 on the week with their sole loss coming on Saturday to then-No. 25 LSU by a 2-3 decision. The Gators began the week with back-to-back wins over Mercer, 8-0 (five innings) and 1-0, on Wednesday. The reigning Southeastern Conference (SEC) champions began conference play at LSU over the weekend and despite the loss on Saturday, they managed to take the series with a 7-6 (eight inning) win on Friday and a 10-2 (five inning) run rule on Sunday.
Following a midweek 15-0 (five inning) win over Western Carolina, Tennessee (24-3, 2-1 SEC) also began conference play this week when they traveled to Fayetteville, Ark. to take on the Razorbacks. The Lady Vols took the series 2-1 with a 9-2 win on Friday and 8-0 (six inning) victory on Sunday but a 4-5 Saturday loss was enough to drop Tennessee down from one spot to No. 3 in this weeks poll.
Oregon (23-3) held steady at No. 4 this week following a 5-1 performance at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Ducks defeated BYU 3-2, Valparaiso 5-1, James Madison 1-0, Hawaii 12-4 (six innings) and 3-0 but fell 0-3 in Saturday's tournament championships, a rematch with James Madison. Oregon will next travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to open Pac-12 play with a three-game series versus Utah.
Moving up two spots to rejoin the Top Five after a week hiatus is No. 5 Michigan (19-6). The Wolverines competed in the Class Act Federal Credit Union Classic in Louisville, Ky. over the weekend and finished with a 3-0 record. Back-to-back run rules on Saturday included a 12-4 (six inning) win over Kent State and a 9-1 (six inning) victory over Louisville. Michigan kept the streak alive by defeating Iowa State 6-4 on Sunday before inclement weather cancelled a schedule rematch with Louisville that was to be played later in the day.
Rounding out the Top 10: Washington (20-5, 1-1 Pac-12) holds tight at No. 6 despite a 1-1 series split with conference opponent Utah; No. 7 Alabama (24-4, 6-0 SEC) jumped two positions following a 4-0 week that included a conference series sweep at Ole Miss; No. 8 Arizona State (27-5, 1-2 Pac-12) dropped out of the Top Five this week following a 1-2 performance at Oregon State to open conference play; falling one spot to No. 9, Arizona (23-5, 0-2 Pac-12) suffered two losses to UCLA in their Pac-12 opener this week; rejoining the Top Ten this week, Kentucky (21-4, 4-2 SEC) comes in at No. 10 following a 4-1 week that included 3-2 and 8-7 (eight inning) wins over then-No. 18 Missouri.
Rejoining the poll this week is South Florida (25-8), who went 7-1 this week behind their ace pitcher Sara Nevins (Pineallas Park, Fla.). Dropping out of the poll is last week’s No. 25 LSU (18-10, 2-4 SEC), who suffered two losses against then-No. 1 Florida.
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.
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