LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Florida continues to roll as another perfect week has the Gators (22-0) keeping its firm grip on the unanimous No. 1 ranking in this week’s USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Dominant over another week of play, Florida outscored its opponents 44-5 during a six-game stretch that included two more shutouts for its pitching staff and three run-rule triumphs. In addition to those victories which came during its Aquafina Invitational, the Gators posted close wins over FIU (3-1) and Florida A&M (4-1) as well as 7-2 triumph against Illinois State.
Following undefeated weeks, Michigan (6-0) and Auburn (5-0) stayed put at No. 2 and No. 3 with the Wolverines (18-2) adding to its lead over the Tigers (20-1). Michigan opened with a key road win at then-No. 13 UCLA (8-6) and then put together a 5-0 showing at the Judi Garmen Classic, which included wins over then-No. 18 Missouri (13-0), RV Long Beach State (11-0), RV California (4-0) and RV Oregon State (9-3).
Auburn hosted the Wilson/Demarini Classic where it posted four shutouts by a combined score of 36-0 over Murray State, Bryant and Georgia State (twice). However, the Tigers needed a little comeback magic in their tournament opener, storming back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat Indiana, 8-7 in eight innings.
LSU and Louisiana-Lafayette each slid up a spot to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. The Tigers (20-2) registered four shutouts during a 6-0 week, picking up a mid-week home win over Louisiana-Monroe, before rolling through the LSU Invitational in which they outscored the opposition, 58-8.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (17-1) enter the top-five for the first time this season, becoming the first program in 2016 which started outside the top-five to enter it. Louisiana swept a three-game series at Southern Miss (17-1, 13-0, 6-2).
Alabama dropped out of the top-five for the first time this season falling from No. 4 to No. 6. The Crimson Tide (20-2) suffered only their second loss of the season, 2-1, at home to North Dakota State during the Easton Crimson Classic. Alabama did post five triumphs last week, trumping Jacksonville State on the road (8-0) before a four wins at home against Louisiana-Monroe (11-0, 5-0), NDSU (15-2) and DePaul (12-4).
The new rankings set up two top-six SEC series openers as No. 3 Auburn hosts top-ranked Florida, while third-ranked LSU heads over to No. 6 Alabama this weekend.
No. 7 Oregon and No. 8 Washington hold tight in their spots. The Ducks (17-4) went 5-0 at the Alexis Park Resort Classic, which included a seventh-inning rally over RV Florida Atlantic (6-5). The Huskies (16-3) battled the weather as they cruised to four wins at the Husky Classic, outscoring their opponents, 43-4.
James Madison, riding a 15-game winning streak, swept the competition including host and then-No. 15 Arizona (4-2) at the Wildcat Invitational to move up to No. 9. Georgia finished 4-1 at its 13th Annual Georgia Softball Classic and fell to No. 10 as it split a top-20 matchup with then-No. 20 Minnesota (6-5, 3-4).
There are no new faces to the Top-25 this week. However, UT Arlington (15 points) received some votes for the first time this season for its program-record 18-0 start. The Mavericks are the only other undefeated Division I program alongside Florida.
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference. Records reflect games played through March 6, 2016.
2016 USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Coaches Poll
Week 4 | March 8, 2016 (Results through 3/6)
|Rank||Team||Points||2016 Record||Last Poll|
New to Poll: None
Dropped Out: None
Receiving Votes: Florida Atlantic (46), Oregon State (27), UT Arlington (15), Texas (8), Mississippi State (8), Charlotte (7), USC Upstate (4), Long Beach State (3), California (2), BYU (1).
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Coaches Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.