5-8-2012 Cal Sweeps ESPN USA Today Poll

Perfect weekend keeps California at No. 1 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll

 

OKLAHOMA CITY — For the fourth time this year, the California Golden Bears swept the first-place votes, earning them the No. 1 rank in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll, announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America. The Golden Bears (48-3, 19-2 Pac-12) swept then-No. 22 Oregon State (33-19, 8-12 Pac-12) to capture all 20 first-place votes in the poll. It is the 12th time this season that California has sat atop the poll, with Alabama (47-6, 23-5 SEC) being the only other squad this season to hold the coveted No. 1 spot.

Over the weekend, California swept Oregon State, capturing a fifth Pac-12 series sweep and a seventh overall conference series victory. The Bears opened the series strong with a 9-1, five-inning victory in the first game. The next two games would pose a greater challenge, however California nabbed additional victories, beating the Beavers 4-2 and 4-1 in the final games of the series.   With the series sweep, Oregon State dropped two spots to No. 24.

Arizona State (45-5, 17-2 Pac-12) is No. 2 for the third consecutive week. The Sun Devils wrapped up their regular home season in style, sweeping the Utah Utes 13-1 (five-inning), 6-4 and 13-5 (six-inning). Alabama (47-6, 23-5 SEC) reclaimed the No. 3 slot this week  following a series win against No. 7 Florida (44-10, 21-7 SEC).  The Crimson Tide lost the first game of the series 4-1 before bouncing back with a 9-1 win and a 5-3 series-clinching victory. With the series win, Alabama earned its third consecutive Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season title and fourth overall.  Oklahoma (42-8, 16-5 Big 12) fell one spot this week to No. 4 following a 2-1 performance against No. 10 Texas.  The Sooners claimed the series-win early, defeating the Longhorns 5-2 (eight innings) and 9-3 before falling 12-5 in the final game.  Despite the loss, the Sooners captured their seventh Big 12 series win for the year, and remain the leader in the quest for the Big 12 title.  No. 5 Tennessee (45-9, 22-6 SEC) held their spot in the Top 5 after defeating No. 8 Louisville 8-1.  The Lady Vols ended the Cardinals (50-3, 20-2 Big East) 18-game win streak while effectively securing their own season-best 18th-straight victory.

Rounding out the Top 10 this week: Louisiana-Lafayette (46-3, 21-3 Sun Belt) remained the No. 6 team in the country despite dropping a game to unranked Louisiana-Monroe this weekend; Florida (44-10, 21-7 SEC) held the No. 7 spot this week after a 1-2 weekend against Alabama, including an opening game win in the three-game series in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Louisville holds the No. 8 slot after a 3-1 week in which the Cardinals lost a game to No. 5 Tennessee before sweeping St. John’s in a three-game series; Missouri (40-12, 14-7 Big 12) remains No. 9 despite 3-2 week in which the Tigers suffered a loss from unranked Murray State and No. 12 Oregon (37-14, 11-8 Pac-12);  No. 10 Texas (41-10, 15-8 Big 12) remains in the Top 10 this week after a 2-2 week in which the Longhorns defeated unranked Baylor before going 1-2 against then-No. 3 Oklahoma.

Hawaii (43-5, 17-3 WAC) earned a season-high No. 13 rank after a flawless weekend in which the Rainbow Wahine swept conference-rivals Utah State.  With the win, Hawaii captured a fourth Western Athletic Conference (WAC) regular-season title.  No. 17 Stanford (36-16, 9-12 Pac-12) made the greatest jump this week, rising four spots in the poll following a 4-0 week, including a series sweep of then-No. 15 Washington.  The Cardinal collected a 12-1 (five-inning) win against unranked Santa Clara before facing the Huskies (36-17, 7-15 Pac-12) for their last home game of the season.  The Stanford defense, behind pitching ace Teagan Gerhart (Norco, Calif.), shut out Washington in all three games with 4-0, 1-0 and 10-0 (five-inning) victories.  With the loss, Washington fell three spots to No. 18.

Syracuse rejoins the Top 25 this week for the fourth time this season after a 2-1 weekend in which the Orange defeated then-No. 18 South Florida (45-10, 17-5 Big East) 2-0 and 7-0.  With the loss, South Florida dropped two spots to No. 20.  Dropping out of the Top 25 is LSU (34-21, 15-13 SEC), which suffered a series sweep to unranked Kentucky.

This weekend will mark the first time this year that the No. 1 and No. 2 teams face off, as California and Arizona State close out Pac-12 and regular season play.  Next week marks the last regular season poll for the 2012 NCAA Division I softball season.  One final poll will be released June 12 following the conclusion of the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.

ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25

May 8, 2012 — Week 13 (April 30 – May 6, 2012)

 

Rank

Team

Record

Points

Previous Ranking

1.

California (20)

48-3

500

1

2.

Arizona State

45-5

479

2

3.

Alabama

47-6

451

4

4.

Oklahoma

42-8

443

3

5.

Tennessee

45-9

424

5

6.

Louisiana-Lafayette

46-3

379

6

7.

Florida

44-10

377

7

8.

Louisville

50-3

351

8

9.

Missouri

40-12

330

9

10.

Texas

41-10

326

10

11.

Georgia

40-14

288

11

12.

Oregon

37-14

279

12

13.

Hawaii

43-5

268

14

14.

Texas A&M

36-16

246

16

15.

UCLA

35-16

224

17

16.

Arizona

33-16

211

13

17.

Stanford

36-16

169

21

18.

Washington

36-17

137

15

19.

Florida State

45-13

115

19

20.

South Florida

45-10

111

18

21.

North Carolina

40-12

106

20

22.

Texas Tech

39-15

58

23

23.

Michigan

36-15

57

25

24.

Oregon State

33-19

53

22

25.

Syracuse

40-13

43

RV

 

Parenthesis denotes first place votes.

 

Dropped Out: – LSU (24)
New to Poll: – Syracuse (RV)

 

Others receiving votes: Tulsa (26); Baylor (11); Kentucky (8); UMASS (7); Notre Dame (6); LSU (4); Georgia Tech (4); UAB (4); Virginia Tech (2); SC Upstate (2); Maryland (1)

 

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