All 20 first-place votes go to Oregon for third consecutive week
OKLAHOMA CITY -- For the fourth consecutive week the Oregon Ducks (44-5, 17-1 Pac-12) maintain their No. 1 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate top 25 the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced. For the third consecutive week, all 20 first-place votes were awarded to the Ducks who went 4-0 on the week extending their winning streak to ten.
The Ducks started their week with a 4-2 home win in a non-conference matchup with Portland State before traveling to Stanford for a three-game, Pac-12 series. Oregon’s offense was consistent as it scored seven runs in each of the three contests and swept the Cardinal with 7-0, 7-1, and 7-2 wins.
UCLA (44-4, 15-3 Pac-12), who was also undefeated on the week, is No. 2 for the third consecutive time. The Bruins started the week with a pair of wins against Long Beach State (10-6 and 8-1) on Monday and carried the momentum into a weekend series at Berkeley where they swept California 11-1 (five innings), 9-7 and 3-2.
Arizona State (42-7, 11-3 Pac-12) stepped out of conference to take on Southern Mississippi in a three game series and the Sun Devils took care of business going 3-0 and out scoring Golden Eagles 19-0. With the series sweep, Arizona State climbed back up to the No. 3 ranking this week, a position they previously held earlier this year in week three.
Moving up two spots, No. 4 Florida State (47-6, 24-3 ACC) closed out its regular season with a three-game series sweep of Georgia Tech this week. In a doubleheader on Saturday, the Seminoles ousted the Yellow Jackets 5-1 in game one and 4-0 in game two. On Sunday, Florida State got their second shutout of the week as they defeated Georgia Tech 3-0 setting the mark for most ACC wins in a season at 24. The Seminoles will take a week off before entering the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament as the top seed May 8-10 in College Park, Md.
Alabama (42-9, 17-4 SEC) also climbed two spots this week to rejoin the Top 5 following a 3-1 week that included a series win against No. 18 Georgia. The Crimson Tide began the week with a 12-0 rout of Southern Mississippi on Tuesday prior to welcoming the Bulldogs to Tuscaloosa for their weekend series. It was a team effort as seven of Alabama’s starting nine recorded a hit in game one of the series and they took the 4-2 win. Georgia scored seven runs in the third inning of game two and cruised to a 10-2 win evening the series. In Saturday’s rubber match, Alabama Senior Pitcher Jaclyn Traina earned her 99th career win as the Crimson Tide took a 4-1 decision securing the series. Alabama will close out Southeastern Conference (SEC) play when they travel to No. 15 Missouri for a three-game series this week.
No. 6 Michigan (39-9, 17-3 Big 10) fell three spots this week following losses at Purdue (2-3) and Illinois (2-10, six innings). Florida (42-10, 12-9 SEC) also dropped two spots to No. 7 this week after losing a series to then-No. 17 Missouri. No. 8 Arizona (39-9, 12-6 Pac-12) had a perfect week defeating New Mexico State 13-3 (five innings) and 13-7 on Wednesday and then sweeping a conference series against Utah. Coming off of an 8-0, six inning run rule against Furman and a series win against then-No. 10 Kentucky, the Tennessee Lady Vols are No. 9 in this weeks poll. Rounding out the top 10 is Washington (28-12, 8-8 Pac-12) who swept conference foe Oregon State over the weekend.
Despite a lot of shifting in positions this week, the top 25 teams remained the same for the third consecutive week. Louisiana-Lafayette (37-8-1, 16-1 Sun Belt) made the biggest jump moving up three spots to No. 13 in this weeks poll following a 5-0 week that included a pair of wins over then-No. 14 Baylor.
The road to Oklahoma City continues as teams compete in their final week of regular season play before heading into conference championship tournaments. The Pac-12 now leads the top 10 with five teams while the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has three and the Big 10 and ACC each have one representative.