Sunday, April 06, 2014

Top Teams Struggle

National No. 1 UCLA avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of No. 3 Oregon today in Eugene, with a 6-1 win. The Ducks had taken the first two games of the series, 9-7 and 12-4 (run rule).

No. 2 Tennessee likewise (and more unexpectedly) lost two of three this weekend, playing against unranked LSU. The Tigers defeated the Vols in the first two games of the series, before Tennessee salvaged Game 3.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Bruins-Ducks Battle; Vols and Tide on the Rise

No. 1 UCLA plays a three-game series at No. 3 Oregon this weekend, in the nation's marquee match-up. According to the UCLA news release, "With a 33-2 record, the Bruins are off to their best start since the 2001 season when they began the year 39-2."

Tennessee, having risen to No. 2 in both of the major national polls after a three-game sweep over Florida last weekend, travels to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. The Vols (8-1) are one of two SEC teams with only one conference loss. The other is Alabama (11-1), which hosts Arkansas this weekend (two of the games will be shown on the ESPN Family of Networks). The Crimson Tide has overcome some non-conference losses to reach No. 4 in the two national polls.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sweeps Characterize Big 12 Opening Weekend

I don't know how many fans took brooms out to Big 12 softball fields today, but it would have been appropriate, as all three of the conference's opening-weekend* series ended in three-game sweeps:

  • Kansas over Oklahoma State (link);
  • Oklahoma over Iowa State (all three wins via run-rule; link); and
  • Baylor over Texas Tech (link).

The reason for the late start to Big 12 conference play is that relatively few series are needed, given how few schools field teams. Despite its name, the conference has only 10 institutions to begin with. Further, three of them -- Texas Christian (TCU), Kansas State, and West Virginia -- don't field softball teams, yielding only seven squads.

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*Baylor and Texas played once before this weekend, a game won by the Longhorns.

Monday, March 24, 2014

UCLA Likely to Take Undisputed No. 1 Ranking

Heading into this past weekend's play, UCLA and Florida essentially were co-No. 1 teams in the nation. UCLA held the No. 1 position, with Florida No. 2, in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. However, in the USA Today/NFCA poll, it was Florida No. 1 and UCLA No. 2. This past weekend's play likely will give the Bruins a nudge to the No. 1 spot in both polls. UCLA took two of three from Washington in Seattle, improving to 5-1 in the Pac 12 (28-2 overall). Florida, meanwhile, dropped two of three to Alabama on the Gators' home diamond in Gainesville.

Friday, March 21, 2014

B1G Conference Play Gets Underway

The B1G is the latest major conference to begin league play (see conference news release). The B1G logo is supposed to look like the word BIG when the one is viewed as an I, and the 1G is supposed to look like a 10 when the G is viewed as a zero.

Friday, March 14, 2014

SEC, Pac 12 Begin Conference Play

Among the major conferences, league play begins this weekend in the SEC and Pac 12. In the SEC, national No. 1 Florida headlines the schedule with a three-game series at LSU (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). In the Pac 12, the marquee match-up is a three-game series featuring Arizona at UCLA, in an unusual Saturday-Sunday-Monday format.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Judi Garman Classic

Arizona State went 5-0 in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California over the weekend, outshining other top teams in the field. A full compilation of results is available here.