Ducks head into final week as No 1 team in the ESPNcom USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll

By Steven Embree | May 06, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Despite suffering a loss to then-No. 3 Arizona State, the Oregon Ducks (47-6-1, 18-2 Pac-12) remain the No. 1 team in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced today.  Though their hold on the top spot loosened, the Ducks captured 17 first-place votes, while Alabama, Florida State and UCLA each received one top vote. 

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

Oregon started the week with a pair of wins over Utah Valley (8-0, five innings and 5-4) before facing off against then-No. 3 Arizona State (43-8-1, 11-3 Pac-12) in the race to a regular season Pac-12 title.  A three-run rally in the sixth inning propelled the Sun Devils to a 4-2 victory in game one, but Oregon rebounded for a 12-2 (six inning) run-rule in game two to even the series.  Mother Nature prevented a conclusion for the weekend series, forcing the conclusion a 2-2 tie of a game that included two rain delays.  Arizona State remains No. 2 this week following the series split.

Following a series win over Stanford, UCLA (46-5, 17-4 Pac-12) held its No. 2 spot this week.  The Bruins stranded 14 runners on base in a 12-9 loss to Stanford in game one as the Cardinal offense exploded with 10 RBI off 12 hits but game two would not have the same outcome as Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) pitched a three-hit shutout in a UCLA 9-0 (five inning) win.  The Bruins clinched the series with a 5-2 victory in game three. 

Despite taking a week off to prep for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) tournament, Florida State (47-6, 24-3 ACC) holds onto their No. 4 rank and even garnered one first-place vote in this week's poll.  The Seminoles will enter the ACC tournament as the No. 1 seed as they take on No. 8 seed Georgia Tech on Thursday, May 8.  Also holding onto their spot in the poll is Alabama (44-10, 19-5 SEC), who remains No. 5 after taking two games against then-No. 15 Missouri (41-15, 15-9 SEC).  The Tigers upset Alabama with an 8-6 loss in game one, but the Crimson Tide answered with a 3-1 victory in game two and clinched the series with a 2-0 win in their final matchup.  With the series win, Alabama heads into the Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Rounding out the Top 10: Florida (45-10, 15-9 SEC) jumps one spot to No. 6 after sweeping Arkansas 8-3, 11-0 and 5-1 in their three-game series; No. 7 Tennessee (42-9, 17-7 SEC) also moved up one spot this week following their sweep of Ole Miss (11-6, 5-3 and 5-1); Washington (30-13, 10-9 Pac-12) rose two spots to No. 8 after a 2-1 outing against then-No. 8 Arizona who falls to No. 9 this week after losing to the Huskies 11-7 and 8-0 (five innings); and making their first top-ten appearance since week one, the defending National Champion Oklahoma Sooners (43-10, 14-2 Big 12) come in at No. 10 after sweeping Texas Tech 5-0, 5-1 and 13-0 (five innings) and capturing a 10-2 (five innings) win over Arkansas. 

In other Top 25 news: Michigan (40-11, 18-5 Big 10) fell five spots to No. 11 after falling 9-3 and 6-5 (nine innings) to unranked Wisconsin.  Then-No. 18 Georgia (42-12, 15-9 SEC) swept last weeks-No. 11 Kentucky (41-14, 13-11 SEC) in a three game series where the Bulldogs captured 5-1, 4-1 and 3-1 wins over the Wildcats.  With the wins, Georgia jumped four spots to No. 14 this week while Kentucky fell four spots to No. 15.  No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette (41-7-1, 19-1 Sun Belt) clinched the No. 1 spot in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament with a three-game sweep of Louisiana-Monroe.  The Ragin' Cajuns defeated ULM 8-6, 7-0 and 9-3 to clinch a two-game bye in the tournament.

It's another big week for Division I softball as the Top 10 Finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be announced May 7. The list will be cut to the Top 3 Finalists on May 21, while the winner of the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be revealed on May 27 prior to the start of the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City.

Next week will be the final regular season poll of the 2014 NCAA Division I softball season. One final poll will be released on June 10 following the conclusion of the NCAA WCWS at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

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.

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
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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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