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Florida Begins Its Fourth Straight Week on Top of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Despite suffering its first defeat of the season in a 2-0 loss to Ole Miss, a 3-1 weekly effort, including an eventual Southeastern Conference series win over the Rebels, proved enough to keep Florida (24-1) at the top of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball rankings for the fourth consecutive week.
The Gators picked up 27 of 32 possible first-place votes from the top 25 voting committee following a week that included a 7-3 win over Boston College and a two-games-to-one series triumph in Gainesville, Fla., over Ole Miss (L 0-2, W 10-3, W 2-0).
No. 2 Oregon (18-2) held steady and even added a pair of first-place nods this week despite not seeing any action over March 3-9.
A high-profile home series split versus then-No. 5 Michigan (W 4-1 in 8 inn., L 4-9) and an unbeaten, six-game run through the UCLA/CSUN Invitational improved No. 3 UCLA to its highest ranking of the season. The loss against the Wolverines marked the first of the 2014 campaign for the 23-1 Bruins.
Tennessee (21-2) dropped one position to No. 4 after going 5-1 in the friendly confines of Lee Softball Stadium in Knoxville., Tenn., but suffering a 3-2 upset loss to Western Kentucky. A 3-2 record, including victories over then-No. 5 Michigan, Wisconsin and Texas and one-run losses to then-No. 16 Nebraska and Fresno State at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., allowed Washington (19-4) to rise a spot to round out this week’s top five.
Arizona (23-3) rose a single slot to No. 6 on the strength of its 5-2 effort (3-2 at the Judi Garman). Arizona State (26-3) rebounded from a tough prior week to sweep through seven contests, including five at the Judi Garman Classic, and leap from No. 10 to No. 7. Michigan (16-6) split a pair of games at then-No. 4 UCLA and posted a 2-3 record at the Judi Garman, with losses to then-No. 10 Arizona State, then-No. 6 Washington and Houston, to lose ground from fifth into the eighth spot. A series victory over Mississippi State wasn’t quite enough to keep Kentucky (18-3) from dropping from eighth to ninth, while Alabama (20-4) utilized its three-game sweep of South Carolina to re-join the top 10.
Losses by former No. 24 LSU (17-8) and No. 25 USC Upstate (22-2) helped exclude the duo from the March 11th edition of the rankings, opening the door for the entrances of Auburn (19-4-1) and Northwestern (15-5) at 24th and 25th, respectively.
The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 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.