OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a 2-1 weekend series win over conference foe and then-No. 9 ranked Arizona, the Oregon Ducks (49-7-1, 20-3-1 Pac-12) secured the No. 1 seed in the recently announced NCAA Division I Softball Championship bracket and also sit atop the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll for the fifth consecutive week the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and USA Softball announced today. The Pac-12 Champions began the season ranked eighth but climbed their way into the top overall ranking by week and never let up. UCLA (48-6, 19-5 Pac-12) comes in at No. 2 after taking their final series of the season over then-No. 3 Arizona State two games to one. The Bruins have held their spot behind Oregon for four-consecutive weeks. Also earning first-place votes this week are Arizona State and Alabama.
Having already secured the conference title, Oregon was playing for tournament seeding when it took the field with Arizona for the final series of the regular season on Thursday. The Ducks took game one 7-3 before falling in game two on Saturday 11-8. They bounced back with an 14-3 run rule on Saturday to take the series. Oregon will host a regional in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament as they welcome Utah Valley, Albany (NY) and now-No. 25 Wisconsin to Eugene.
UCLA, who also went 2-1 on the week, got off to a slow start in their top-five matchup with Arizona State (44-10-1, 11-3-1 Pac-12). The Bruins fell 2-0 in game one but bounced back to win the next two games 9-5 (nine innings) and 9-2. UCLA was also award a regional to open post-season play and will host Southern Utah, Long Beach State and now-No. 19 Notre Dame.
After clinching their 12th Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship, Florida State (50-6, 24-3 ACC) moves into the No. 3 spot this week. The Seminoles ran through the conference tournament with wins over Georgia Tech (11-5), North Carolina (9-1, five innings) and then-No. 20 Notre Dame in the Championship 3-1. Hosting an NCAA Tournament Regional, Florida State will welcome South Carolina, Fordham and South Florida to Tallahassee.
Arizona State fell to No. 4 in this week’s poll following their series loss to UCLA. The Sun Devils will host Dartmouth, San Diego State and now-No. 13 Michigan in their NCAA Regional.
Despite a disappointing performance in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament, Alabama (45-11, 19-5 SEC) held steady at No. 5 in this week’s poll. The Crimson Tide beat then-No. 21 Auburn 8-4 to open tournament play but fell to then-No. 14, and eventual Conference Champions, Georgia 5-3 on day two. Despite the loss, Alabama is the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and will host SIU Edwardsville, now-No. 21 South Alabama and No. 24 USC Upstate for their Regional in Tuscaloosa.
Rounding out the Top 10: No. 6 Florida (45-11, 15-10 SEC) held their spot with despite a first-round exit in the SEC tournament; No. 7 Georgia (45-12, 15-9 SEC) used a 3-0, SEC tournament run to climb seven spots this week; the Tennessee Lady Vols continued their decent in the poll this weeks falling to No. 8 after a first-round SEC tournament exit at the hands of then-No. 11 Kentucky; No. 9 Washington also dropped one spot this week despite sweeping California in their final Pac-12 series; the Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners (45-10, 16-2 Big 12) held onto their No. 10 ranking this week with back-to-back wins over in-state rival Oklahoma State.
After receiving votes for three-straight weeks, the Wisconsin Badgers (34-18, 15-7 Big 10) finally break into the Top 25 this week replacing last week's No 25 Texas A&M, who drops out following a bye week.
The Road to Oklahoma City gets underway on Thursday as the NCAA Tournament kicks off with Regional action all across the country.
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.
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
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!