March 13, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama softball team remained the number one ranked team in the country in the USA Today/NFCA top 25 poll, the organization announced Tuesday. The Crimson Tide also remains in the number two spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
Still undefeated at 21-0, Alabama was tabbed as the nation's best softball team for the third straight week in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll that was released by the Association on Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide received 24 of 30 first-place votes this week, while No. 2 California (21-0) received the remaining six. In the rest of the top five, Washington (23-1) and Florida (23-2) traded spots at third and fourth, respectively, while Arizona State (25-2) rounded out the lead spots in fifth.
Alabama and California are two of the just five remaining undefeated teams in Division I softball this season, along with No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette (22-0), No. 14 Louisville (18-0) and No. 18 Hawai`i (21-0). However, there will be one less undefeated team at the end of the coming week as California and Hawai`i are scheduled to meet in Honolulu on Thursday.
The only team to fall from the rankings this week was No. 24 North Carolina (17-7), but did finish the voting at the top of the "Receiving Votes" category. After weeks of lingering just outside the Top 25, USF (19-4) finally made is 2012 debut in the rankings this week, tying at No. 24 with Big East rival DePaul (14-5).
Five weeks of NCAA Division I softball have yet to produce a shake up at the top of the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll. The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today that California (21-0), with 15 first place votes, and Alabama (21-0, 3-0 SEC), with five No. 1 votes, are still ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, the same spots that the teams have held since the Week 1 poll was released Feb. 14.
The Golden Bears held their first home game last week, run-ruling UC Davis 11-3 in six innings. Cal then traveled to Fresno, Calif., for the Bayer Crop Science Classic, a tournament that produced a 4-0 record for the Bears. The team topped San Diego State 12-0 (5), Butler 14-1 (5), Purdue 9-1 (6) and Fresno State 8-5 to preserve the top ranking in the poll. This week, Cal travels to the Hawaii Spring Fling tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii, where No. 6 Texas, undefeated No. T19 Hawaii and No. 21 Texas A&M (16-7) are scheduled opponents. Cal opens Pacific 12 (Pac-12) Conference play on March 23 at No. T9 Stanford.
Following a 7-3 performance against Samford, the Crimson Tide traveled to Lexington, Ky., for the opening weekend of Southeastern Conference (SEC) play. Alabama topped Kentucky 3-1 in nine innings Friday but run-ruled the Wildcats in the next two games, taking 9-1 (5) and 12-2 (6) victories back to Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide face No. 14 Oregon (18-3) and Portland State on the road this week before hosting a home stand with conference foe Ole Miss, a team that is 2-0 in the SEC after wins on the road against Arkansas.
Ranked No. 3 for the third consecutive week, Washington (23-1) takes the road this week for the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., with No. 7 Oklahoma among the opponents. The Huskies hosted the Husky Softball Classic last week, beating Seattle University 8-0 (6) and North Dakota 4-0 Saturday before beating North Dakota 12-4 (5) and Seattle 4-0 again Sunday. Washington begins Pac-12 play with Utah at home March 23-25 then travels to Berkeley, Calif., for a three game stand with Cal March 30-April 1.
Florida (23-2, 4-1 SEC) and Arizona State (25-2) also maintained their fourth and fifth place rankings. The Gators opened their conference season with a mid-week appearance in Starkville, Miss., topping Mississippi State 1-0 and 8-5, then traveled to then-No. 9 Tennessee. Florida lost the first game 1-0 but came back for 5-2 and 1-0 wins over the Lady Vols, now ranked No. T9. While Florida was on the road, the Sun Devils were in Tempe, Ariz., hosting Creighton and then the Diamond Devil Invitational en route to a 5-0 performance. Arizona State travels to the Judi Garman for games against BYU, No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette, Fresno State, No. T19 Michigan and Notre Dame before hosting No. 13 Arizona in the Pac-12 opener March 23-25.
Rounding out the Top 10: No. 6 Texas (19-1, 2-0 Big 12), which had two wins over Texas Tech; No. 7 Oklahoma (20-3), which had a win over Austin Peay, two wins over Wichita State and three wins over Indiana; No. 8 Georgia (21-3, 2-1 SEC), which had a win over Furman and went 2-1 against Mississippi State; No. T9 Stanford (25-3), which had wins over St. Mary's, James Madison, Colorado State and two over Ole Miss; and No. T9 Tennessee (15-5, 1-2 SEC), which went 1-2 against Florida.
Although undefeated after two wins against Houston and three versus North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette (22-0, 3-0 Sun Belt) is No. 11. Other undefeated teams include No. 15 Louisville (18-0) and No. T19 Hawaii (21-0).
New Mexico (17-3) and DePaul (14-5) enter the Top 25 for the first time this season, taking the final two slots in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll. Tied for No. 23 last week, both North Carolina (17-7) and Syracuse (12-8) are unranked this week, following two losses each in Week 5.