Through three weeks of NCAA Division I Collegiate softball action, the No. 1 team in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll remains undefeated California, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. While there was movement amongst the Top 25 teams, including the first Top 10 appearance of the regular season for No. 7 Georgia (12-2) and No. 10 Stanford (13-3), California (12-0) and Alabama (13-0) are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 for the third consecutive week.
Click here for the complete ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.
The Golden Bears received 16 of the 20 first place votes following a 4-0 performance at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. Cal beat Fordham 5-0, New Mexico State 2-0, Cal Poly 4-1 and Cal State Northridge 7-0. Before opening Pacific-12 Conference play on March 23 with Stanford, the Bears will play at the DeMarini Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., the Bayer Cropscience Classic in Fresno, Calif., the Hawaii Spring Fling in Honolulu and host home games against UC Davis and Princeton.
Behind an undefeated campaign at the Easton Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Alabama snagged four No. 1 votes. The team topped East Carolina 4-2 and 9-4, defeated North Dakota State 9-4 and 3-2 and finished the weekend over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. The Crimson Tide also defeated UAB 8-1 in a standalone game before the tournament. Alabama returns to action March 2 against Maryland as the host of the Easton Alabama Invite, which also features Umass and UAB.
Florida dropped from third to fourth despite wins over then-No. 14 Texas A&M 6-4, BYU 3-0, then-No. 8 Texas 5-1 and Boise State 3-0 at the Cathedral City Classic. In Palm Springs, the Gators suffered 5-2 loss to then-No. 7 Washington, a team that had a strong performance in the tournament, beating four ranked teams. The Huskies (14-1) lost to then-No. 11 Missouri 2-0 but topped Florida 5-2, Texas A&M 8-2, then-No. 13 Georgia 7-5 and then-No. 22 Nebraska 6-3, moving up to No. 3 in Top 25 with the 4-1 showing.
Despite an undefeated weekend, Arizona State, ranked No. 1 in the pre-season ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 but is only one point behind the Gators. The Sun Devils outscored Central Connecticut 43-3 in four run-rule victories. Last week’s No. 5 UCLA dropped to No. 16 after four consecutive losses in Palm Springs. The Bruins were run-ruled by Georgia 13-4 and lost to Fresno State 6-3, Texas 5-4 and Missouri 7-5 in a six inning game that was called due to the Tigers’ travel plans before topping Syracuse 6-3.
Another team to benefit from a powerful performance at the Cathedral City Classic is Texas (12-1), which jumped from No. 8 last week to No. 6. The Longhorns scored wins over UCLA and Nebraska, a team no longer ranked after four losses in Palm Springs, as well as Cal State Northridge and San Diego State but lost to Florida. Texas plays Texas State, Sam Houston State and Texas Tech in Week 4.
Just behind Texas is Georgia, a team that made the largest upward move of the week, going from No. 13 to the seventh spot. The Bulldogs went 4-1 over Week 3, beating three ranked opponents – then-No. 16 Arizona 3-0, UCLA and then-No. 6 Oklahoma 3-2 – and Cal State Fullerton 12-5 in Palm Springs. Louisiana-Lafayette (12-0) experienced the same jump as Georgia, improving from No. 18 to No. 12, with a 5-0 run at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., that included a 10-7 win over then-No. 12 Michigan.
Tennessee (10-3) moved up a spot from last week to No. 8 with a 4-1 showing in Clearwater. With losses to then-No. 15 Stanford and Georgia, Oklahoma (9-3) fell from No. 6 to No. 9, the Sooners’ lowest ranking of the year. Stanford, ranked No. 10 in the pre-season poll, earned a coveted Top 10 spot for the first time in the regular season with a 5-0 showing in Palm Springs. Baylor (12-2) dropped from No. 10 to No. 11.
For the first time this season, Hawaii (12-0) and South Florida (10-2) are ranked, coming into the poll at No. 22 and No. 23, respectively. Nebraska (9-7) and Houston (9-5) dropped out.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed five World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.
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