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NFCA | March 3, 2020

College softball rankings: UCF, Fresno State return after multi-year absences; top 3 remain unchanged

Washington softball: The best players in Huskies' history

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Despite suffering its first loss of the season, UCLA remained No. 1 in the 2020 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Bruins (19-1), who dropped an extra-inning affair to Texas, captured 26 first-place votes and 793 points.

After falling 6-4 in eight innings to No. 3 Texas, UCLA posted a 4-0 mark against Mount St. Mary’s, Weber State, San Diego State and San Diego. 

DOWN GOES NO. 1: Texas hands UCLA first loss of 2020

New to the top-25 this week are No. 22 UCF, No. 24 Mississippi State and No. 25 Fresno State. The Knights (16-2), who are on an 11-game winning streak, and the 25th-ranked Bulldogs (16-4) return to the poll for the first time since 2016 and 2017, respectively.

On the flip side, Tennessee dropped out of the top-25 for the first time since 2004. The Lady Vols (9-7) entered the NFCA’s Feb. 10 poll at No. 19 and were ranked consecutively in 255 polls.

No. 2 Washington and No. 3 Texas picked up four and two first-place votes, respectively. In the matchup between those two squads, the Longhorns (20-3) edged the Huskies (19-2) 8-6 at the Judi Garman Classic. It was UW’s only defeat at the Garman as it topped then-No. 4 LSU, Fresno State, then-No. 13 Michigan and Cal State Fullerton.

MORE: Washington's all-time lineup

Texas posted a 5-2 week with previously-mentioned triumphs over UCLA and Washington. The Longhorns also defeated Michigan and Boise State at the Garman, while dropping a one-run affair to Fresno State. Prior to heading out west, UT split a home twinbill with then-No. 10 Louisiana.

Following a 5-0 showing, including two wins over host Alabama at the Easton Crimson Classic, Arizona rose to No. 4. The Wildcats (17-3) topped the then-No. 8 Crimson Tide in a pair of one-run contests. They also defeated McNeese State twice and UT Arlington. 

LSU fell one spot to No. 5 after a 3-2 outing at the Garman. The Tigers (16-3) picked up wins over then-No 25 Texas Tech, California and Colorado State, but dropped contests against Loyola Marymount and Washington.

No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 7 Florida and No. 9 Alabama each fell one position, while No. 8 Louisiana moved up two spots. The Sooners (15-4) won their Courtyard Marriott Tournament, topping then-RV Northwestern twice and Abilene Christian to go along with a split with RV North Texas.

In a top-10 matchup in Gainesville, the Ragin’ Cajuns (14-5) took two-of-three from the Gators (17-4). UF opened with a 6-0 win before Louisiana stormed back with 7-5 and 7-6 triumphs. The Ragin’ Cajuns also earned a road split earlier in the week at No. 3 Texas. 

Kentucky enters the fold at No. 10. The Wildcats (17-3) put on an offensive show, while its pitching staff posted three shutouts at the Spring Games. Matching the program’s best 20-game start, UK scored 66 runs over five games, while allowing just three.

The 2020 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. Records reflect games played through March 1 with first-place votes in parentheses.

1 UCLA (26) 793 19-1 1
2 Washington (4) 766 19-2 2
3 Texas (2) 738 20-3 3
4 Arizona 675 17-3 7
5 LSU 649 16-3 4
6 Oklahoma 638 15-4 5
7 Florida 589 17-4 6
8 Louisiana 576 14-5 T-10
9 Alabama 493 12-7 8
10 Kentucky 484 17-3 12
11 Oregon 461 17-2 T-10
12 Florida State 433 10-6 9
13 Georgia 398 20-4 14
14 Oklahoma State 390 13-5 15
15 South Carolina 303 14-4 16
16 Michigan 287 12-6 13
17 Arizona State 281 16-6 17
18 Minnesota 220 12-7 18
19 Virginia Tech 198 16-4 19
20 Arkansas 184 16-4 22
21 Baylor 170 17-4 23
22 UCF 139 16-2 NR
23 Missouri 111 15-6 21
24 Mississippi State 78 18-3 NR
25 Fresno State 74 16-4 NR

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