ARIZONA RECLAIMS USA SOFTBALL #1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2011
Arizona reclaims No. 1 ranking in ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll
OKLAHOMA CITY — Arizona is back on top of the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. The Wildcats were the top ranked team in the pre-season poll released January 25 but fell to No. 2 following a loss to Oklahoma in Week 1.
While the Wildcats received the most first place votes, with eight of 20, No. 2 Alabama was dubbed the top team by six voters. Georgia had three No. 1 votes but tied at No. 3 in the poll with UCLA, a team that received two first place votes. Florida, ranked fifth, also received a first place selection.
As hosts of the Hillenbrand Invitational, Arizona improved to 10-1 on the season starting with a 15-0 victory in five innings over Texas A&M Corpus Christi, which was highlighted by two grand slam home runs from redshirt senior Stacie Chambers (Glendale, Ariz.). Other weekend action for the Wildcats included another win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 9-1, and wins over Drake University (5-3), Kennesaw State (8-0 in five) and Pacific (8-6).
Alabama (10-0) claimed the No. 2 spot in the poll, the highest ranking that the undefeated Crimson Tide have held this season. At the Bama Bash! In Tuscaloosa, the Tide rolled past Louisville 10-2 (five), Texas-San Antonio 13-5 (six), Syracuse 9-0 (five), Louisville 9-8 and Syracuse 20-5 (five). Freshman Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.), who posted a win the circle, was named the tournament MVP after recording three multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games.
Following a week at No. 1, defending NCAA National Champion UCLA (9-1) struggled on the opening day of the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, dropping to the third spot in the Top 25 poll. After needing nine innings to overcome Southern Illinois Edwardsville 3-2, the Bruins lost 4-3 to unranked Arkansas.
Georgia (10-0) tied with the Bruins at No. 3 after ranking fourth in both the pre-season and Week 1 polls. The team has hosted two tournaments to start out the season, going 5-0 in both the opening Red and Black Showcase and the recent Georgia Softball Classic. At the Classic, the Bulldogs defeated Winthrop 14-0, Buffalo 8-0, North Dakota State 14-4, Marshall 12-2 and North Dakota State again 13-4. All games were five innings.
For the third time this season, Florida (9-0) and Oklahoma (11-1) hold on to the No. 5 and No. 6 positions, respectively. Michigan (10-0) moved from eighth to No. 7, a position that now No. 10 Tennessee (8-2) held before dropping two games at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. Arizona State (9-1) improved a spot to No. 8 while Washington (8-0) improved two positions to No. 9.
Behind a rough opening weekend in San Diego, Missouri (1-2) plummeted from No. 10 to No. 15. The Tigers opened with a victory against then No. 22 San Diego State but lost to unranked Fresno State and then No. 15 California. Georgia Tech (7-3) also fell from No. 17 to No. 25 with three losses against two unranked teams.
Nebraska (10-1) enters the poll for the first time this year with the No. 22 ranking. No. 23 Houston (8-1) also cracked the Top 25 for the first time this season. In the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic, they defeated then No. 22 Oklahoma State (8-2), now No. 18, and twice topped then No. 16 LSU (9-3), a team that has dropped to No. 20.
San Diego State (5-3) and DePaul (8-2) dropped out of the Top 25.
ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25
February 22 – February 14-20, 2011
Parenthesis Denotes first place votes.
Dropped Out: San Diego State, DePaul
New to Poll: Nebraska, Houston
Others receiving votes: San Diego State (30), DePaul (29), Baylor (28), Notre Dame (12), Fresno State (9), Auburn (8), Florida State (2) and SC Upstate (1)