OKLAHOMA CITY -- Following a 2-1 weekend series win against 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 DI 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 (N.Y.) 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 against 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.