UCLA takes over the top spot in the ESPNcom USA Softball Collegiate Top 25

By Steven Embree | March 18, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

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.

Click here to see the complete ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll

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.

About ASA
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!

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