Cal remains golden at No. 1
OKLAHOMA CITY — In the final ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll of the regular season, the California Golden Bears captured the top spot for the 13th time this season, announced today by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America. The Golden Bears (50-4, 21-3 Pac-12) took two of three from then-No. 2 Arizona State (46-7, 18-4 Pac-12) over the weekend to capture all 20 first-place votes in the poll. California was also named the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
Click here for the complete ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.
Going into the weekend series, both California and Arizona State each had a chance to claim the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Championship. The Bears took game one of the series in style when senior Valerie Arioto, a Top 11 Finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, hit a two-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Bears the 4-2 victory. The conference foes split the next two games of the series, each winning by a 5-0 margin, giving California the Pac-12 Title.
Arizona State is No. 2 for the fourth consecutive week. Despite an early week loss to Fordham, Alabama (50-7, 26-5 SEC) was able to make an impressive run in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament going 3-0 and capturing the Conference Title and hold on the No. 3 spot in this week’s poll. No. 4 Oklahoma (45-8, 16-5 Big 12) used a series sweep of Iowa State to capture the Big 12 Championship. The Sooners outscored the Cyclones 27-2 over the course of the weekend finishing the regular season in convincing fashion. No. 5 Tennessee (46-10, 23-7 SEC) held their spot in the Top 5 after going 1-1 in the SEC tournament. The Lady Vols defeated Auburn 2-1 in the opening round before falling to then-No. 7 Florida 2-1 in the second round of the conference tournament.
Rounding out the Top 10: No. 6 Florida (46-11, 23-8 SEC) moved up one spot after a 2-1 week that included a trip to the SEC tournament Championship Game where they fell to No. 3 Alabama 10-1; Louisville (53-3, 20-2) also moved up one spot to No. 7 in this week’s poll after capturing a Big East Tournament Championship; No. 8 Texas won their lone game of the week 3-1 over Baylor to move up two spots from last week; Missouri(43-12, 17-7 Big 12) remains No. 9 after a 3-0 series sweep of Oklahoma State and a 3-1 loss to South Alabama in the Sun Belt Championship cost No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette (49-4, 21-3 SEC) four spots in this week’s poll.
No. 11 Georgia (41-15, 18-12 SEC) and No. 12 Oregon (39-15, 13-9 Pac-12) held their positions in this week’s poll while No. 13 Texas A&M (39-16, 16-8 Big 12), No. 14 UCLA (36-18, 12-12 Pac-12) and No. 15 Arizona (35-17, 12-12 Pac-12) each jumped one spot as No. 16 Hawaii (44-7, 17-3 WAC) fell three spots following a 6-4 lose to BYU in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament.
No. 19 Michigan (39-15, 18-5 Big Ten) made the greatest jump this week, rising four spots in the poll following a 3-0 series sweep of Purdue. New to the Top 25 this week and for the first time this year is Tulsa (41-12, 19-5 Conference USA) following a 3-0 week and a Conference USA Championship Title. Dropping out of the Top 25 is last-week’s No. 25 Syracuse (40-14, 17-5 Big East).
The last ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll of 2012 will be released June 12 after the conclusion of the NCAA Women’s College World Series, which is May 31 – June 6 in Oklahoma City. For complete coverage of the NCAA Championships and the run to Oklahoma City for the NCAA WCWS, visit www.ncaa.com/wcws.
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/.