3-6-2012 California, Alabama Lead ESPN USA Softball Poll

California, Alabama continue to reign atop the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – With a month of play under their belts, the California Golden Bears (16-0) completed a perfect weekend to earn a fourth-straight No. 1 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. Undefeated Alabama (17-0) remained close behind at No. 2, while Washington (19-1) maintained their rank at No. 3.

 

Following a perfect 4-0 weekend at the DeMarini Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., the Golden Bears received 16 of the 20 first place votes to secure their spot at the top of the poll.  Cal defeated Florida International 8-1, Southern Mississippi 8-0 and East Carolina 11-3, both in five innings, and closed out the weekend with a 5-1 win over Northwestern.  Despite a stellar performance at the Easton Alabama invite in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Crimson Tide was unable to best Cal, earning four No. 1 votes which put them at No. 2 for a fourth week.  The Alabama pitching staff only allowed their opponents three runs, earning coach Patrick Murphy his 700th victory with the program and tying the third best start in school history.

 

Following a flawless performance at the Louisville Slugger Classic in Stockton, Calif., Washington (19-1) is No. 3 for the second consecutive week.  The Huskies blanked Sacramento State 9-0 and Delaware 12-0 and 5-0 before topping Pacific University 5-4 and 6-4.  The Florida Gators (19-1) secured the No. 4 slot again this week after a dominating performance at home in the Lipton Invitational, which saw the Gator’s nab four run-rule victories against Eastern Michigan 16-0, Gardner-Webb 9-0 and 14-0 and Tennessee State 8-0 before handing Campbell a 4-0 loss.  Florida also defeated Eastern Michigan 2-1 in a standalone game earlier in the week.

 

Arizona State (20-2)  holds the No. 5 spot after hosting the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.  The Sun Devils collected six wins this past week, including a 9-0 five-inning outing against Wichita State in which ASU pitcher Hilary Bach threw her first career perfect game, the fourth in ASU history.  Rounding out the Top 10 are Texas (17-1), Georgia (18-2), Oklahoma (14-3), Tennessee (14-3) and Stanford (18-3).  Despite an undefeated weekend, the Tennessee Lady Vols fell one spot to No. 9, switching places with now-No. 8 Oklahoma.  

 

Rising in the polls this week are No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette (17-0), No. 12 Missouri (10-3), No. 13 Arizona (16-4) and No. 14 Michigan (15-5).  All four schools moved up one spot in the Top 25 while Baylor (14-5)  dropped to No. 16 after suffering three losses to then-No. 16 UCLA and unranked Illinois State and Syracuse.  The Bears played for the first time this year without All-American pitcher Whitney Canion, who tore her ACL during the Feb. 26 game against North Texas. Other school’s created some shakeups in the Top 25 poll as both Auburn (16-3) and Hawaii (17-0) are now tied at No. 19.  Florida State (17-3) fell two spots this week to No. 22 after suffering a 3-2 loss to Radford and two losses from Hawaii at the Hawaii Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

New to the poll this week is No.T23 Syracuse (9-6), a team which defeated three Top 25 teams last weekend at the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Fla.  Despite a 5-0 loss to then-No. 17 Auburn, the Orange handed out losses to their tied counterparts North Carolina (14-5), No. 14 Michigan and No. 16 Baylor.  Dropping out of the polls this week is Georgia Tech (12-9).

 

This week, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) will witness competitive matches as Florida, who was selected during the pre-season to win the SEC conference title this year, squares off against conference rivals Mississippi State and Tennessee.  Baylor and Arizona will also face off this week in a three-game set in Waco, Texas.

 

ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25

March 6, 2012 — Week 4 (Feb. 27-March 4, 2012)

 

Rank

Team

Record

Points

Previous Ranking

1.

California (16)

16-0

496

1

2.

Alabama (4)

17-0

478

2

3.

Washington

19-1

456

3

4.

Florida

19-1

439

4

5.

Arizona State

20-2

420

5

6.

Texas

17-1

403

6

7.

Georgia

18-2

376

7

8.

Oklahoma

14-3

357

9

9.

Tennessee

14-3

350

8

10.

Stanford

18-3

314

10

11.

Louisiana-Lafayette

17-0

289

12

12.

Missouri

10-3

280

13

13.

Arizona

16-4

260

14

14.

Michigan

15-5

217

15

15.

Oregon

13-3

195

18

16.

Baylor

14-5

192

11

17.

Louisville

15-0

183

19

18.

UCLA

14-6

159

16

T19.

Auburn

16-3

146

17

T19.

Hawaii

17-0

146

22

21.

Texas A&M

14-7

93

21

22.

Florida State

17-3

59

20

T23.

North Carolina

14-5

43

24

T23.

Syracuse

9-6

43

RV

25.

South Florida

13-4

38

23

 

Parenthesis denotes first place votes.

Dropped Out: Georgia Tech (25)
New to Poll: Syracuse (RV)

 

Others receiving votes: New Mexico (30); DePaul (19); Arkansas (3); Georgia Tech (3); Kentucky (3); BYU (2); Mississippi State (2); Oregon State (2); Kansas (1); SC Upstate (1); UMass (1); Utah (1)

 

 

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