Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Michigan Moves Up to No. 2 in National Poll

Michigan (18-1) has moved up to No. 2 in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll, behind No. 1 Florida (21-0). Oregon (16-2) is No. 3 and LSU (21-0), No. 4.

The Wolverines' only loss this season came on Opening Day (February 7) to none other than the Gators, by a 2-1 score. Michigan was No. 8 at the time.

Oregon lost to Florida this past weekend, 3-0. The Ducks had lost at Baylor the previous weekend.

Michigan and Oregon will each get a rematch with Florida at this coming weekend's Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California, beginning Thursday.

UPDATE (March 4): MLive News Service provides an in-depth look at Michigan's very successful opening month.

Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Mary Nutter and Michigan/Alabama Results

I've created the following graphic to display every team's win-loss record at this past weekend's Mary Nutter/Cathedral City tournament (Clip Art of softball image). You may click on the graphic to enlarge it.



As seen at the top of the diagram, three teams went undefeated: No. 15 LSU, No. 22 Texas A&M, and unranked Utah (all rankings listed here are from ESPN.com/USA Softball). LSU (San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton, No. 10 Arizona, Nebraska, Northwestern) and Utah (Nevada, UCSB, No. 13 Tennessee, Ohio State, Cal Poly) each beat only one ranked team, whereas Texas A&M didn't beat any (BYU, UCSB, Cal State Fullerton, Syracuse, Stanford). Three of LSU's opponents had received votes in the previous national rankings, however. Here's how other notable teams did:

  • No. 3 Oklahoma (lost to Arizona and Georgia; best win was over Kentucky)
  • No. 7 Georgia (lost to Texas and Notre Dame; best win over OU)
  • No. 8 Florida St. (lost to Tennessee and Cal; best win over UCLA)
  • No. 9 Kentucky (lost to Oklahoma, best win over Arizona)
  • No. 10 Arizona (lost to the SEC trio of Kentucky, LSU, and Mizzou; best win over OU)
  • No. 12 UCLA (lost to Texas and Florida St.; best win over Mizzou)
  • No. 13 Tennessee (lost to Cal, Utah, and Nebraska; best wins over Notre Dame and Florida St.)
  • No. 18 Mizzou (lost to UCLA; best wins over Arizona and Texas)
  • No. 20 Cal (lost to South Carolina; best wins over Tennessee and Florida St.)
  • No. 23 (tie) Notre Dame (lost to Tennessee; best win over Georgia)
  • Fresno State (lost to Ohio St.; best win over Texas, a team on the outskirts of the rankings)
  • Maryland (lost to Notre Dame; all wins were over unranked teams)

Elsewhere, in a battle of Top 5 teams, Michigan defeated Alabama twice in Tuscaloosa.

No. 2 Oregon, playing in the Baylor Invitational, split two with the host Bears (ranked No. 11), and also garnered a win over No. 25 Tulsa.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015 Mary Nutter/Cathedral City Tournament and Michigan/Alabama Games Highlight Weekend

The Mary Nutter/Cathedral City tournament near Palm Springs, California, has gotten underway today. The field includes 35 teams, led by No. 3 Oklahoma and the No. 7-10 teams (Georgia, Florida State, Kentucky, and Arizona) in the latest ESPN/USA Softball poll. The tournament will also determine the unofficial "OSU" champion, with Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and Oregon State all participating. Results of the tourney can be found here.

As part of the Easton Bama Bash tournament, Michigan will play Alabama in a battle of Top 5 teams on Friday and Saturday.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Upsets Mark Friday the 13th Weekend Play

This past weekend included a Friday the 13th and, coincidence or not, several of the nation's highest-ranked teams were cursed. It was a weekend of upsets, to be sure, some more shocking, some more mild.

Kennesaw State, a Division I program for less than a decade, scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to edge No. 5/6 Kentucky, 9-8. According to the linked article, "Kentucky represented the highest ranked opponent Kennesaw State has defeated since moving up from Division II [in 2006]."

Unranked Stanford beat No. 3/4 Alabama 4-1 on Saturday. The Crimson Tide had knocked off the Cardinal a day earlier in the same tournament.

No. 21 Arizona State defeated No. 4/3 Oklahoma on Sunday, 8-4 on a walk-off Grand Slam. The day before, the Sooners had prevailed over the Sun Devils.

Finally, in a rematch of last year's super-regionals, No. 8/7 Michigan swept a doubleheader from No. 6/5 Florida State.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Observations from 2015 Opening Weekend

No. 1 Florida went 5-0 at the South Florida tournament, including a 2-1 win over No. 8 Michigan. The Wolverines won the three other games they played.

In a battle of Top 10 squads, No. 5 Florida State and No. 6 Kentucky split two games against each other in FSU's Renegade Classic, the Seminoles winning 3-2 on Saturday and the Wildcats winning 3-1 on Sunday.

Preseason No. 2 Oregon dominated the Kajikawa Classic, going 6-0, including a 9-0 five-inning run-rule victory over Texas.

Cal, trying to rebound from last year's 23-29 record, went 4-0 in the Kajikawa.

Host Arizona State (No. 16) went 4-3, falling to the University of San Diego, Texas, and Cal State Northridge.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Opening Weekend Key Match-Ups

In addition to ASU's Kajikawa Classic, whose scores are available here, there are at least two additional major match-ups this weekend.

Defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Florida takes on No. 8 Michigan on Saturday in the University of South Florida tournament.

Meanwhile, No. 5 Florida State and No. 6 Kentucky will face off Saturday and Sunday in a battle of two 2014 Women's College World Series participants.

On a more local note, Texas Tech inaugurated the Adrian Gregory era, giving the new Red Raider coach a pair of Opening Day victories.