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Oklahoma Remains the Unanimous Choice for No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Rankings
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Make it back-to-back weeks for Oklahoma (27-1) as the nation’s unanimous No. 1-ranked team as the Sooners received all 31 possible first-place votes in the March 19 release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll.
The Crimson & Cream continued their winning ways this past week at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., registering a 5-0 mark with five-consecutive shutout victories over Pacific (9-0, 5 inn.), N.C. State (3-0), then-No. 14 Arizona (4-0), Penn State (8-0, 5 inn.) and Cal State Fullerton (9-0, 5 inn.). Oklahoma has now equaled a school record with seven straight blankings, dating back to March 8, and hasn’t allowed a run over its last 40 innings of work from the circle.
No. 2 Arizona State (29-2), No. 3 Florida (27-3) and No. 4 Alabama (26-3) all held steady in the same positions from last week’s listing, while No. 5 Texas A&M (26-2) jumped two spots following a series sweep of Arkansas (2-1, 7-3, 9-1 in 5 inn.).
The second-rated Sun Devils were 4-1 at the Judi Garman Classic, topping Cal State Fullerton (9-0), then-No. 9 Texas (3-0), Virginia Tech (11-0) and Pacific (5-4, 8 inn.), while suffering a 5-4 defeat to then-No. 15 Michigan.
The third-ranked Gators utilized late dramatics to take a high-profile Southeastern Conference home set from then-No. 6 Tennessee, two games to one. UF secured the opener (6-5, 8 inn.) on a bases-loaded walk and lost on Saturday to the Lady Vols (1-3, 8 inn.) before rebounding during the series finale to register a 5-3 (8 inn.) triumph via a walk-off, two-run HR. Meanwhile, the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide swept a three-contest set at South Carolina, winning a trio of tight match-ups over the Gamecocks (6-4, 5-3, 7-6).
No. 6 California (23-3) dropped a single position after going 3-1 at the Chevron Spring Fling in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Golden Bears recorded shutout victories over then-No. 19 Baylor (3-0) and then-No. 20 Hawai’i (1-0) but also split a pair of match-ups against Syracuse (2-1, 1-8). Missouri (15-2) rose a single spot to seventh following a perfect 5-0 effort in sweeping a doubleheader from Evansville (3-1, 4-3) and a three-contest series at Ole Miss (11-0 in 5 inn., 6-1, 12-0 in 5 inn.). Tennessee (23-6), Texas (27-4) and Oregon (23-4) rounded out the new national top 10.
New to this week’s poll were 22nd-ranked Virginia Tech (18-4) and 25th-ranked Nebraska (18-5), taking positions vacated by former No. 22 Louisiana-Lafayette (19-11) and No. 24 North Carolina (19-10). The Hokies managed high-profile triumphs over then-No. 14 Arizona (9-2) and then-No. 15 Michigan (3-2) as part of its 3-2 week at the Judi Garman Classic, while the Huskers swept a pair of meetings from New Mexico State (4-1 in 10 inn., 8-0 in 5 inn.)
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 31 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.
To view the complete USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll, please click this link.