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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Citrus Classic Tops This Weekend's Action

This week's top destination appears to be the Citrus Classic in Orlando, Florida. The 26-team field includes six ranked squads: Texas A&M, Texas, LSU, Oregon, Michigan, and Louisville. Spy Softball provides a more detailed preview.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Top Performing Teams at Mary Nutter Classic

Here are some of the top performing teams at this weekend's Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California, near Palm Springs:
  • No. 1/2 Oklahoma breezed through its five games, shutting out the opponent in four of them. The Sooners' biggest-name opponent was No. 14/19 Arizona.
  • UCLA went 5-0, with wins over No. 4 Tennessee, Maryland, Oklahoma State, No. 10/11 LSU, and Nevada. These wins should catapult the No. 13/16 Bruins into the national Top 10.
  • Unranked Northwestern (5-0), whose victims included Tennessee
  • Oregon State, which went 5-0 (although not against any elite teams) and has now won 11 straight overall. The Beavers are unranked, although they are listed as receiving some votes for the Top 25 in the USA Today/NFCA poll.
  • Cal went 4-0, although the No. 8 Golden Bears did not face elite opposition.
  • No. 7 Missouri went 3-0, edging its new SEC rival, No. 5 Florida 4-3 in 12 innings. The loss was the Gators' only one of the tourney. Separate from the Nutter Classic, Mizzou rounded out its trip to southern California with a doubleheader split at Cal State Fullerton.
  • LSU, which went 4-1, including a win over Arizona.
  • No. 9/11 Oregon, which concluded its play late Sunday afternoon, went 5-0.
  • No. 22 Washington went undefeated (4-0) against collegiate competition, losing only to the USSSA Pride, a professional team with many star players familiar to longtime college-softball fans.
Finally, in terms of individual honors, Stanford frosh Kelsey Stevens pitched a perfect game over Virginia.

Updated late Sunday night.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Newly Renamed Mary Nutter Classic Opens Today in Palm Springs

The annual Cathedral City tournament, in the Palm Springs, California, area, opens today. The event is now named for Mary Nutter, who died last summer. By my count, 37 teams are on hand. These include several highly ranked squads, such as Oklahoma (1/2), Tennessee (4), Florida (5), Missouri (7), Cal (8), LSU (10/11), and Oregon (11/9). The master schedule is available here.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Campbell-Cartier Classic (San Diego State) Features Oklahoma, Washington, Kentucky

Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 in one of the major national polls and No. 2 in the other, highlights the field at San Diego State's Campbell-Cartier Classic. Two other nationally ranked teams, Washington and Kentucky, are among the field of seven.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Florida Shines at Kajikawa Classic

The University of Florida, ranked No. 14 and 15 in the two major national preseason polls, pulled two major upsets en route to an undefeated 5-0 performance at the season-opening Kajikawa Classic at Arizona State. Among the Gator victims were three Pac 12 schools: No. 3 Cal (by a score of 7-4), No. 5/6 Oregon (1-0), and No. 13/14 Arizona (14-3). Full results of the tournament are available here.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

2013 Opening Weekend Tournaments

Arizona State's annual Kajikawa Classic, which begins tonight, brings together several of the nation's highest-rated teams in the preseason polls (click here for schedule). In addition to the No. 4-ranked host Sun Devils, the field includes No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Cal, and No. 5/6 Oregon, which was featured in an column yesterday. Links to the two major polls, ESPN/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA, are available in the right-hand column of this page.

No. 1 Alabama opens its season Friday in a somewhat unusual venue. The UNI-Dome Classic, played on the turf inside Northern Iowa's indoor football stadium, mainly draws other midwestern schools, who can't be expected to play games outdoors in early February. This year, however, the Crimson Tide will be joining the gathering. (Update: Here's an column on Alabama.)

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Last Year's Finalists 'Bama and OU Top Initial 2013 Polls

With the 2013 college softball season starting this coming Thursday, February 7, the major preseason polls are now out.

In the ESPN/USA Softball Poll, defending NCAA champion Alabama is ranked No. 1 and last year's national runner-up Oklahoma is ranked second. Cal, Arizona State, Tennessee, and Oregon round out the top six.

The USA Today/NFCA Poll likewise has 'Bama, OU, Cal, and ASU as the top four. One slight difference is that USAT/NFCA has Oregon No. 5 and Tennessee No. 6.

Interestingly, the two historically dominant programs are not highly ranked this year. Arizona is pegged at No. 13 (USAT/NFCA) and 14 (ESPN/USAS), whereas UCLA is ranked 19th in both polls.