2017 College Softball Power Rankings: Third Edition

Danielle O’Toole and Arizona swept Washington at home in week seven. How far did that push them up the rankings this week? (Photo Courtesy of Pac-12 Network)

2017 College Softball Power Rankings: Third Edition

The third edition of our power rankings for the 2017 season has some movement at all levels. Week seven had some upsets and some incredible performances over the weekend. Below we list the top 16 teams along with the next four teams.

We will start by providing last week’s rankings below and please note the table below is based on records as of March 21.

RankTeamConf.Overall
Record
Conf.
Record
Last
Week's Ranking
1FloridaSEC26-15-01
2AuburnSEC27-32-12
3Florida StateACC28-1-19-03
4ArizonaPac-1229-13-04
5OregonPac-1227-03-05
6Texas A&MSEC25-25-16
7WashingtonPac-1224-33-07
8AlabamaSEC28-35-19
9MinnesotaBig 1025-20-011
10UtahPac-1221-43-0Not
Ranked
11James MadisonColonial24-30-012
12OklahomaBig 1224-70-08
13UCLAPac-1221-80-310
14GeorgiaSEC26-52-114
15BaylorBig 1226-50-015
16LouisianaSun Belt20-53-016
17TennesseeSEC22-53-313
18KentuckySEC19-61-218
19MichiganBig 1018-7-10-020
20ArkansasSEC21-62-4Not
Ranked

Below is the third edition of our 2017 power rankings and please note the records listed are through games as of Tuesday, March 28.

#1 – Florida Gators (29-2 Overall, 7-1 SEC)

Florida (#1 last week) holds onto the top spot, but the two teams below definitely closed the gap. The Gators defeated Auburn two games to one, but it could have easily been the other way. The Gators walked off in the first game while game two was dominated by Kelly Barnhill who struck out 16 batters allowing only one walk and two hits. Barnhill has the NCAA’s best ERA at 0.20.

The third game was a 1-0 loss for Florida and they had their chances to get the sweep. They had only three hits, but drew five walks. Delanie Gourley struck out 10 in the loss (now 11-2 on the season), but the solo shot by Kendall Veach was enough for Auburn. The Gators can win in just about any fashion and are extremely tough when the pitching, even if the bats are not hot. Florida faces Arkansas on the road over the weekend with a midweek game at home to Bethune-Cookman.

#2 – Florida State Seminoles (32-1-1 Overall, 12-0 ACC)

The Seminoles are up one spot from last week after an easy 4-0 week. They allowed just one run in the four games and their sweep of Virginia saw them win all games in run-rule fashion. Sunday’s 10-0 win was highlighted by Jessica Burroughs’ 4th career no-hitter.

How good has FSU been this year? They have posted shutouts in 8 of the 12 ACC games and have allowed just three runs over their last 10 games. The Seminoles boast two of the top six ERA leaders in the NCAA with Meghan King (4th) and Burroughs (6th). FSU plays Pittsburgh at home this weekend.

#3 – Arizona Wildcats (32-1 Overall, 6-0 Pac-12)

Arizona also moved up a spot in the rankings and they could be placed higher. The Wildcats swept Washington and the three games were not as close as the scores might indicate. They won 3-0 on Friday with Danielle O’Toole throwing a no-hitter. Game two was an easy 12-0 win in five innings and the third game was a 5-2 final, but Washington did not score until the seventh inning.

Arizona held the #9 offense in terms of batting average and slugging percentage scoreless until the final inning of the series. The Huskies are ranked 12th in scoring in the NCAA to provide more evidence how excellent the sweep was by Arizona. The Wildcats face Grand Canyon in a midweek doubleheader and then hit the road to play California.

#4 – Oregon Ducks (29-0 Overall, 5-0 Pac-12)

Oregon (#5 last week) defeated Utah in a doubleheader that was played on Sunday to remain as the only unbeaten team. The weather wreaked havoc with the schedule and eventually forced the cancellation of the final game on Monday. The Ducks offense tore through Utah’s pitching with a 12-3 win in the first game though errors were common from both teams (3 by Oregon and 4 by Utah). Game two was more defensive and Maggie Balint had herself a strong outing allowing just five hits in the 3-0 win.

Oregon has one of the best offenses in softball. They are ranked #1 in batting average, #3 in scoring, #4 slugging percentage, and are also #5 in ERA. We griped about their schedule in the first edition of the power rankings and they have since defeated two ranked teams in California and Utah. So why have they barely moved? The teams above them are just as good, but there remains a strong case for Oregon to be higher. Funny thing about this season though, the Ducks will play the two teams directly ahead of them over the next six weeks.

Oregon has a Thursday game at home against BYU and then welcomes Arizona State to Eugene for a three game set.

#5 – Auburn Tigers (28-5 Overall, 3-3 SEC)

The Tigers (ranked #2 last week) played the Florida Gators on the road and lost two of three. They lost the opening game in heartbreaking fashion after the final out of the game was dropped. That allowed two runs to score and gave the win to Florida. Saturday was not close as Auburn had no answer for Kelly Barnhill. The Tigers won 1-0 in the series finale despite a strong pitching game from Delanie Gourley.

There are some issues with the offense such as their 100+ ranking in batting average. Slugging percentage and home runs have also slipped in SEC play. Auburn is still very good and can play with any team on any given weekend, however, they need to take advantage of opportunities like game one against Florida. The Tigers face Georgia on the road this weekend.

#6 – Texas A&M Aggies (28-3 Overall, 7-2 SEC)

The Aggies (6th last week) had a pretty good week going 3-1. They won two of three against Missouri though the loss was a bit of a surprise. They won 8-0 on Friday and then lost 5-1 on Saturday. Samantha Show was in the circle for the loss, but she just did not have her stuff. She only lasted two innings and gave up four runs on six hits in the loss (10-2 on the season). The Aggies bounced back to win game three 7-3 with Lexi Smith improving to 9-0.

The Aggies continue to be a top pitching (#8 ERA) and defensive team (#2 in fielding percentage). The offense is in the top 25 for most offensive categories. This is a team to watch out for in the tournament and they will play Texas State Wednesday followed by a road trip to South Carolina.

#7 – Minnesota Golden Gophers (28-2 Overall, 3-0 Big 10)

Minnesota moves up two spots after sweeping Nebraska in their opening Big 10 series. The Gophers won the first game 16-0 in five innings while they needed a seventh inning rally in the second game. Minnesota scored three in the seventh and then completed the sweep with an 8-1 win on Sunday.

Minnesota has been quietly good on offense with the #6 batting average and #6 scoring team. Slugging percentage is 12th in the nation while the ERA is ranked at #15. The fielding percentage is okay at #61, but there is room for improvement. The Gophers will be on the road for the second straight week as they play at Illinois for three games.

#8 – Alabama Crimson Tide (31-4 Overall, 7-2 SEC)

Alabama stays at the same spot from last week. They opened with a 7-3 over South Carolina, but were then completely dominated in game two. They lost 14-0 while Nickie Blue threw a complete game shutout allowing just two hits. The Tide came back to win game three 5-2, but needed some late inning run support get the victory. On Tuesday, the Tide won 5-3 over Kent State, but needed another late rally to give Patrick Murphy his 1,000th career win.

For the second weekend in a row, Alabama lost the middle game of a three game series and the offense was shut down in the process. Alexis Osorio (16-2) also did not pitch particularly well and those two happening at the same time spells disaster. The offense is struggling a little bit at 83rd in home runs and 54th in scoring, but there is a lot of talent on this squad. Alabama has a potentially tricky road series at Missouri this weekend.

#9 – Oklahoma Sooners (28-7 Overall, 0-0 Big 12)

The Sooners move up three spots after going 4-0 and seeing some other teams falter. They defeated potential top 25 team Mississippi State 5-3 on Friday at home after a four run third inning. They finished with wins over Louisiana Tech and UAB (twice).

OU has good pitching (23rd in ERA), defense (3rd in fielding percentage, and batting (17th in scoring), however, they are a bit light on home runs (134th in the country). The Sooners start Big 12 play versus Iowa State at home.

#10 – Washington Huskies (26-6 Overall, 3-3 Pac-12)

The Huskies take a three spot drop after being swept by Arizona in stunning fashion. They did take a midweek doubleheader against Grand Canyon by a combined score of 21-4.

It is still difficult to fathom how the Huskies were stymied. They are one of the top offenses (top 25 in batting average, home runs, scoring, and slugging) as well boasting a solid pitching staff (37th with a 2.17 ERA). Maybe Arizona is just that good? The Huskies have another tough Pac-12 test against UCLA, but they will be at home for this series.

#11 – Utah Utes (21-7 Overall, 3-2 Pac-12)

Utah (#10 last week) had a rough week going 0-3, but they lost to some good teams. As previously mentioned, they lost both games of a doubleheader to Oregon, but also lost to BYU on Wednesday. The Utes are still a good team and when their pitching is on they can compete with nearly any team (see UCLA).

Utah is similar to Oklahoma in they are good at everything, but extra base hits do not come easily. Utah is ranked 115th or lower in doubles, triples, and home runs. Utah travels to Stanford for a three game series this weekend as they look to bounce back from a tough week of games.

#12 – UCLA Bruins (24-8 Overall, 0-3 Pac-12)

UCLA is up one spot this week after a final regular season non-conference slate. The Bruins defeated a good BYU team twice on Saturday (1-0 and 4-2) while also defeating Dartmouth 4-2 on Sunday. The Bruins 1-0 win over BYU was highlighted by Rachel Garcia’s one hit and four walk performance. She struck out 9 as well.

UCLA finally won some games where the offense was not as powerful. They hit just one home run over the three games and have only hit two home runs over their last six contests. The Bruins have not scored more than four runs since March 11. The Bruins travel to take on Washington this weekend in a clash of teams that were both swept in their previous Pac-12 series.

#13 – Baylor Bears (28-6 Overall, 2-1 Big 12)

Baylor (#15 last week) continues to throw in that head-scratcher every week. The Bears defeated Kansas twice over the weekend and the loss was a 10 inning thriller. The Bears bookended the series with victories by the score lines of 6-1 and 5-1. Baylor allowed a total of 7 hits over those two wins while pounding out 27 of their own.

Baylor does a great job of getting on base (#12 batting average), but has trouble turning that into runs. They are 76th in scoring (5.09 runs per game) and are 100th or worse in doubles, triples, and home runs. Perhaps that explains why they have an interesting loss here and there. The Bears face Abilene Christian on Wednesday and then welcome Texas Tech to Waco over the weekend.

#14 – James Madison Dukes (26-4 Overall, 2-1 Colonial)

James Madison was ranked 11th last week and takes a small drop after going 2-1 versus Hofstra in their opening CAA series. The Dukes handled Hofstra 10-4 and 10-1 in a doubleheader on Saturday, but fell on Sunday. It was an uncharacteristic game for James Madison as they had three errors and five passed balls with Megan Good losing her first game of the season (now 18-1).

The Dukes rank in the top 10 for both batting average (7th) and ERA (3rd). Their fielding percentage is 22nd best so they are very good in all facets of the game. They should tower over most of their competition the rest of the regular season, which makes losses like Sunday’s hard to explain other than it was not their day. James Madison faces Virginia Tech midweek and then has a home series against College of Charleston.

#15– Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (23-5 Overall, 6-0 Sun Belt)

Louisiana (15th last week) continues to chug along in the Sun Belt. They swept South Alabama on the road with DJ Sanders hitting three home runs in the series. Sanders leads the NCAA in home runs with 16. Speaking of home runs, the Ragin’ Cajuns are #1 in that category as a team as well as #1 in scoring. Louisiana will be on the road again this weekend at Georgia Southern.

#16 – Kentucky Wildcats (22-6 Overall, 4-2 SEC)

The Wildcats break through into the top 16 after sitting at #18 the last two weeks. The swept Arkansas over the weekend and did so with three close victories. They won 2-1, 7-5, and 2-0, which is not a surprise given the pitching is their strength.

Kentucky ranks as #17 in the nation for ERA (1.60) while the offense is not higher than 40th in any of the major categories. Kentucky faces Northern Kentucky midweek and then will be at Ole Miss over the weekend.

Next Four

#17 – Tennessee Volunteers (28-5 Overall, 6-3 SEC)

Tennessee (17th last week) had a busy week playing in six games and they won them all by 3+ runs. They started with 9-2 win over North Carolina and then swept Ole Miss in 8-0, 6-1, and 4-1 contests. Tuesday saw them sweep a doubleheader versus Liberty 6-1 and 6-0.

The Vols ability to score runs is 7th best in the nation at 6.97 and their defense has improved over the last two weeks. They were 64th a fortnight ago, but now sit at 64th. Tennessee faces North Carolina State over the weekend followed by an early week tussle against Eastern Kentucky with all four games at home.

#18 – LSU Tigers (28-7 Overall, 4-2 SEC)

LSU was part of the “knocking on the door” teams, but a clutch sweep at home of Georgia sees them closer to rejoining the top 16. LSU won the three close games over the Bulldogs 4-3, 2-0, and 1-0. The Tigers defeated Louisiana-Monroe 9-1 in five innings on Tuesday to complete a 4-0 week.

LSU ranks in the top 20 in batting average (11th), ERA (18th), and fielding percentage (8th), which will make them a tough out in every game. The Tigers face Mississippi State at home this weekend.

#19 – Michigan Wolverines (23-7-1 Overall, 3-0 Big 10)

The Wolverines (19th last week) went 5-0 over the past week with a sweep of Penn State and two MAC opponents. It started with an 8-2 win over Eastern Michigan, but the Wolverines did better against Penn State. They shutout the Nittany Lions in all three games and won the latter two 25-0 including a Megan Betsa no-hitter in the finale. They kept the shut outs going with a 2-0 win over Central Michigan for their 9th straight victory.

Michigan seems to be finding their groove after a rough non-conference schedule to start the season. The fact they have not faced top competition certainly helps them, but they rank as a top 25 team in ERA (25th) and defense (5th in fielding percentage). Michigan faces Northwestern at home over the weekend as they look for 12 straight wins.

#20 – Georgia Bulldogs (26-7 Overall, 2-4 SEC)

The Bulldogs (14th last week) had a chance to solidify their top 16 spot, but were swept at the hands of LSU. Georgia could not come out on top in three close games including a walk off loss in the opening contest. Georgia only committed three errors, which is an improvement for them (had 4 against Kentucky).

The Bulldogs are #2 in the nation in batting average and 21st in ERA, but their defense is very poor at 199th. That is actually an improvement of five spots in the last two weeks. Still, that will not suffice as they welcome Auburn this weekend.

Knocking on the Door

These teams have some work to do to be one of the top twenty, but could make a jump over the new few weeks (in alphabetical order):

Arkansas, Arizona State, BYU, Cal Poly, Fresno State, Missouri, North Carolina, Ole Miss, and Wisconsin.

Below is a table listing the teams in our third power rankings.

RankTeamConf.Overall
Record
Conf.
Record
Last
Week's Ranking
1FloridaSEC29-27-11
2Florida StateACC32-1-112-03
3ArizonaPac-1232-16-04
4OregonPac-1229-05-05
5AuburnSEC28-53-32
6Texas A&MSEC28-37-26
7MinnesotaBig 1028-23-09
8AlabamaSEC31-47-28
9OklahomaBig 1228-70-012
10WashingtonPac-1226-63-37
11UtahPac-1221-73-210
12UCLAPac-1224-80-313
13BaylorBig 1228-62-115
14James MadisonColonial26-42-111
15LouisianaSun Belt23-56-016
16KentuckySEC22-64-218
17TennesseeSEC28-56-317
18LSUSEC28-74-220
19MichiganBig 1023-7-13-019
20GeorgiaSEC26-72-414

Oregon Joins The Fray Atop Of The Polls After Week 7

Oregon Joins The Fray Atop Of The Polls After Week 7

The Oregon Ducks are the new number one team in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll team after week seven while Florida State retains the top spot in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.

In the Coaches Poll, Florida State received 18 of the 30 first place votes. Florida (6 first place votes) and Oregon (6 first place votes) stay in the same spots at second and third, respectively. Arizona is up to fourth with two first place votes after their impressive sweep of Washington. Auburn dropped one spot to fifth after their series loss to Florida.

Minnesota is sixth (up two spots), Texas A&M stays at seventh, and Washington drops two spots to eighth. Alabama remains in ninth while rival LSU cracks the top 10 after their sweep of Georgia.

James Madison falls a spot to 11th, Oklahoma is 12th, UCLA sits at 13th, Baylor is 14th, and Utah dropped from 11th to 15th after their losses to BYU and Oregon (twice). 16th through 20th belong to Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia, Tennessee, and Michigan.

The bottom of the Coaches Poll stays relatively calm. Arizona State and Wisconsin remain at 21st and 22nd while Arkansas and Ole Miss switched spots. The Razorbacks are 23rd and the Rebels are at 24th. The last spot changed with BYU re-entering the top 25 and Cal Poly dropping out. The entire Coaches Poll can be seen below.

RankSchool (1st place votes)PointsRecordLast Week's
Rank
1Florida State (18)77832-1-11
2Florida (6)76829-12
3Oregon (6)74529-03
4Arizona (2)71232-15
5Auburn65227-54
6Minnesota62128-28
7Texas A&M61428-37
8Washington58826-66
9Alabama51430-49
10LSU49927-712
11James Madison45726-410
12Oklahoma43928-713
13UCLA38724-815
14Baylor37528-614
15Utah35321-711
16Kentucky29322-618
17Louisiana28323-517
18Georgia27526-716
19Tennessee24926-520
20Michigan24422-7-119
21Arizona State13823-821
22Wisconsin11423-322
23Arkansas5322-924
24Ole Miss4922-923
25BYU4621-9Not
Ranked

The USA Softball Poll is where the biggest change at the top occurred. Oregon jumps two spots from third to first while garnering 8 of the 20 first place votes. Florida dropped to second while also receiving 8 first place votes. Florida State (2 first place votes) and Arizona (2 first place votes) are followed by Texas A&M, who moved up two spots to fifth.

Minnesota sits sixth, Auburn is seventh, and Washington is eighth. The Huskies dropped three spots after the sweep against Arizona. The top 10 is rounded out by Alabama and LSU.

James Madison is down a spot to 11th, Oklahoma stays 12th, Baylor is 13th, UCLA is 14th, and Utah is 15th after being ranked 13th last week. Georgia and Kentucky are tied for 16th while Michigan (18th), Tennessee (19th), and Louisiana-Lafayette (20th) stay in the same spots as last week.

The last five spots are Wisconsin, California, Arizona State, Arkansas, and Ohio State. The Buckeyes make their first appearance this year and replace North Carolina in 25th. The entire USA Softball Poll can be seen below.

RankSchool (1st place votes)PointsRecordLast Week's
Rank
1Oregon (8)47929-03
2Florida (8)47329-11
3Florida State (2)46932-1-12
4Arizona (2)45632-14
5Texas A&M39328-37
6Minnesota38928-28
7Auburn38627-56
8Washington38226-65
9Alabama33530-49
10LSU30527-711
11James Madison29726-410
12Oklahoma27728-712
13Baylor24228-614
14UCLA21524-816
15Utah20721-713
T-16Georgia19726-715
T-16Kentucky19722-617
18Michigan17022-7-118
19Tennessee15326-519
20Louisiana12523-520
21Wisconsin9523-321
22California6519-823
23Arizona State6023-824
24Arkansas2822-922
25Ohio State2518-7NR

 

Previous Polls

Below are the polls from earlier in the season.

Preseason Polls

After Week 1 Polls

After Week 2 Polls

After Week 3 Polls

After Week 4 Polls

After Week 5 Polls

After Week 6 Polls

Weekly Reviews

Week One Review

Week Two Review

Week Three Review

Week Four Review

Week Five Review

Week Six Review

Week Seven Review

2017 College Softball Season: Week Seven Review

2017 College Softball Season: Week Seven Review

As the month of March winds down, we saw some great action over the seventh week of the 2017 college softball season. Below, we take a day-by-day look at what happened.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Virginia split a doubleheader against Towson with the Cavaliers winning the first game 5-4 in eight innings and losing the second 7-4. Towson committed five errors in the first game while Virginia committed three in the second. Towson put up 16 hits in the 7-4 victory with 8 different batters recording a hit.

Virginia Tech was able to win their doubleheader over East Tennessee State. Hannah Jones‘ two run double was ultimately the difference in their first game while Vanessa Gonzalez, Breanna Davenport, and Lauren Duff all recorded multiple RBIs in the second game.

#19 Michigan used a four run first inning to push past Bowling Green by a score of 7-1. Amanda Vargas had two RBI singles in the first and third innings to lead the offense and Tera Blanco allowed the one run on one walk and five hits with 8 strikeouts.

#14 Baylor defeated Sam Houston State 4-1 at home. Kelsee Selman threw 5 1/3 shutout innings with only three hits surrendered and recorded 9 strikeouts. Shelby Friudenberg drove in three runs for the Bears.

Fresno State and Cal State Bakersfield put on an offensive display with Fresno State emerging as the winner, 13-11. Bakersfield put 7 runs up in the first inning including a grand slam by Jo Larios. The Bulldogs put up three runs in the bottom of the first, but would not plate another run until the fourth. Morgan Howe hit a grand slam of her own to make it an 8-7 deficit while the fifth inning saw the Bulldogs take an 11-9 lead.

Bakersfield tied the game at 11 in the top of the sixth, but Fresno State was able to score two runs in the bottom of the inning. Howe finished with five RBIs and five different Fresno State players recorded an RBI.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The top two teams in the nation, #1 Florida State and #2 Florida, posted shutout victories. The Seminoles won 4-0 over Central Florida with Jessica Burroughs and Meghan King allowing four hits combined. The Gators defeated South Florida 8-0 in five innings with Aleshia Ocasio going the distance allowing only two hits and striking out four. Jordan Roberts drove in five runs highlighted by a grand slam in the third inning.

#20 Tennessee rebounded from last weekend’s series loss to Arkansas with a 9-2 win over North Carolina. The Vols put across four runs in both the first and fourth innings. The duo of Brooke Vines and Chelsea Seggern each had 3 RBIs. Tennessee’s win gave co-head coach Karen Weekly was the 1,000th of her career.

#6 Washington posted a pair of victories after a doubleheader against Grand Canyon. The bats were hot as the Huskies recorded 21 runs on 24 hits over the two games. Taylor Van Zee went 3 of 4 in each game while recording a total of 3 RBIs.

An in-state battle produced a high scoring affair between Nebraska and Omaha. Nebraska put up 9 runs in the first two innings and was able to hold off Omaha 15-11. The Huskers recorded three home runs while Austen Urness (2 RBIs), Kaylen Jablonski (2), MJ Knighten (3), Cassie McClure (3), and Haley Donaldson (4) all recorded multiple RBIs. Donaldson hit a grand slam, which was matched by Omaha’s Hailey Bartz. Omaha scored their 11 runs on 17 hits while Nebraska recorded their 15 runs on 18 hits.

The biggest game of the day belonged to #11 Utah and BYU. As has been the case before this season, the team on a hot streak (Utah) was stopped by a midweek game. For the Utes, it was by their rival, 4-3. Utah took a 1-0 lead in the second on a triple by Bridget Castro, but BYU answered with a 2 run home run from Libby Sugg. The Utes reclaimed the lead again at 3-2 in the fifth on back-to-back plays by Anissa Urtez and Heather Bowen. Once again, the Utes were foiled by Sugg who hit her second two run home run of the game in the fifth inning and gave the Cougars the ultimate 4-3 win.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

North Carolina Central had a poor start to the season entering Thursday’s doubleheader against Maryland Eastern Shore at 3-17. The Eagles were able to sweep their doubleheader over the Hawks 3-2 and 4-3. The first game featured a 12 strikeout performance by Dominique Wilson while the second game saw the Eagles win on a walk off sacrifice fly courtesy of Ryann Kostandin.

Villanova posted a doubleheader victory as well. Nikki Alden went 3 for 3 with 5 RBIs and Lauren Herschberg drove in three runs in the first game win over Rider, 15-0. The second game was more of the same with the Wildcats winning 9-1 and Herschberg driving home another three runs.

Cal State Fullerton needed a late inning rally to get past Loyola-Marymount. Marymount took a 1-0 lead in the third on a single by Caitlin Harman and then doubled their advantage with Amanda Dirks going deep in the fourth. The Titans were able to finally get on the board in the sixth inning and did so via Alexis Gonzalez’s three run home run. She added a fourth RBI in the seventh on a single to right field. Loyola was not able to sustain a rally in the seventh and Cal State Fullerton won 4-2.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Indiana swept Rutgers to open Big 10 play for both teams. The first game was a 9-2 victory for the Hoosiers, but the second contest featured Indiana thrashing Rutgers 23-2. 12 different Indiana hitters recorded an RBI led by Rachel O’Malley (4), CaraMia Tsirigos (4), Taylor Uden (3), and Shayna Gamm (3). The Hoosiers recorded four home runs in the rout. Purdue also swept Michigan State in the opening conference doubleheader for both teams. Purdue won with offense in the first game (13-6) and pitching in the second (2-1).

Also in the Big 10, #22 Wisconsin overcame a slow start to pour in 14 runs in their win over Northwestern. Freshman Jordan Little went 2 for 2 with two walks, four runs, and 7 runs batted in with a three run home run in both the sixth and seventh innings.

Fresno State blanked Boise State 9-0 with Kamalani Dung throwing the complete game allowing one walk and three hits with seven strikeouts. The Bulldogs scored all of their runs in the first and second innings. Savannah Mchellon and Vanessa Hernandez both hit a grand slam for Fresno State.

#5 Arizona and #6 Washington squared off in a major Pac-12 battle and the Wildcats nearly had a perfect start to the series. Danielle O’Toole threw a no-hitter with the solitary walk coming in the fourth inning. First inning RBIs from Alyssa Palomino and Mo Mercado were more than enough as Tamara Statman added a solo shot in the sixth to reach the 3-0 final. For O’Toole, it was her first career no-hitter and it was an impressive performance against a top 10 team.

#13 Oklahoma defeated Mississippi State 5-3 at home thanks to a four run third inning. The Bulldogs could not get past the two Pagies, Parker and Lowary, with the latter shutting the door with two perfect final innings for the save.

A pair of SEC teams saw gems thrown by their respective pitchers. #20 Tennessee shut out #23 Ole Miss 8-0 in five innings thanks to Matty Moss’ two hitter. She allowed three walks, but struck out five while Taylor Rowland drove in four runs. #7 Texas A&M also won their game 8-0 in five innings over Missouri with Trinity Harrington allowing just one walk and two hits while striking out three.

Manhattan staged a late inning comeback to defeat Mount St. Mary’s 10-9 in 8 innings. The Jaspers trailed 9-4 after four innings, but a four run sixth inning cut the deficit to one. Stephanie Reinhardt led off the seventh with a solo shot to tie the game and Lauren Pitney drove home the go-ahead and eventual winning run with a triple in the eighth.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fordham started their Atlantic 10 Conference schedule with two big, run rule shortened wins over Rhode Island. The first was an 11-0 one-hitter from Lauren Quense (14-3) supplemented with a 5 RBI game from Lindsay Mayer. The second game was a 14-0 win with Madison Aughinbaugh allowing five hits and striking out five. Five different Rams finished with two RBIs in the second game victory.

Notre Dame finished off their weekend with a sweep of Virginia Tech in a 9-4 game. The Hokies led 3-2 after two innings, but it was short-lived as Kimmy Sullivan gave the Irish a 4-3 lead on a two run double in the third. Two RBI singles in the fourth and another two run double Sullivan put Notre Dame comfortably in front.

#5 Arizona followed up their no-hitter on Friday with a two-hitter on Saturday in a 12-0 win over #6 Washington. Arizona put up 8 runs in the bottom of the first and then got 5 excellent innings from Taylor McQuillin. Alyssa Palomino led the offense with 4 RBIs.

#15 UCLA secured a doubleheader victory over BYU. The first game was decided by Paige Halstead’s solo shot in the fifth inning and Rachel Garcia’s one hitter. She walked four batters and struck out nine in the 1-0 win. The second game saw UCLA win 4-2 behind Delaney Spaulding’s RBI and Maddie Jelenicki’s two run single. Garcia came in and earned the save over the final two thirds.

#2 Florida defeated #4 Auburn in walk off fashion in the opening game of their series. Florida struck first with two runs in the bottom of the second on Justine McLean’s single. The Tigers were able to get one back in the fourth on an RBI single from Victoria Draper and then took the lead in the fifth on courtesy of a double by Courtney Shea and a sacrifice bunt by Casey McCrackin.

In the seventh, the Gators were down to their final out when they had runners on the corner thanks to an error by Auburn. Nicole DeWitt came up and hit a pop up to short center that hit off the second baseman’s glove and fell to the ground. That allowed Alex Voss to jaunt home from third and Sophia Reynoso to score from first for the 4-3 win.

#18 Kentucky was able to complete a sweep of #24 Arkansas including a doubleheader on Saturday. The Wildcats won the first game 7-5 thanks to a two run single by Alex Martens. The second game was far more defensive with Kentucky winning 2-0 thanks to RBIs from Abbey Cheek and Sarah Rainwater. Shannon Smith went six innings allowing two hits and three walks while Meagan Prince came on for the save.

#14 Baylor split a doubleheader versus Kansas as both teams started their Big 12 conference schedule. Baylor won game one 6-1 while amassing 16 hits. Kansas led 1-0 after the first inning, but Baylor was led by three hit efforts from Jessie Scroggins, Ari Hawkins, and Shelby McGlaun. The second game belonged to Kansas 6-4 though it took 10 innings to complete. Erin McGinley hit a walk off two run home run to give the Jayhawks the win.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

#5 Arizona finished off #6 Washington for the sweep in the 1,500th career win for Mike Candrea. Arizona got two run home runs from Mo Mercado and Alyssa Palomino along with an RBI single by Jessie Harper. The Huskies scored their first runs of the entire series in the seventh with on two run shot from Kirstyn Thomas. Arizona won 5-2 with Danielle O’Toole allowing the two runs on only three hits and a walk.

#3 Oregon defeated #11 Utah in a doubleheader. The Ducks won the first game 12-3 in five innings. The Ducks had a slow start relative to the rest of the game with no runs in the first inning. They put up 12 runs over the final four innings with the trio of Nikki Udria, Mia Camuso, and Jenna Lilley all recording 2 RBIs. In game two, Maggie Balint threw the complete game shutout allowing five hits with four strikeouts. Gwen Svekis hit a two run home run in the first inning to give Balint all the support she needed. The Ducks won 3-0 to improve to 29-0 on the season.

#9 Alabama split a doubleheader versus South Carolina on Sunday, but won the series. South Carolina won the first game 14-0 with 12 runs over the final three innings including 8 in the seventh. Alyssa VanDerveer had 4 RBIs and Krystan White had 3 RBIs as they delivered just the second loss of the season to Alexis Osorio (16-2). Nickie Blue threw the complete game shutout allowing only two hits and striking out four.

The Tide bounced back to win the second game 5-2, but fell behind 2-0 after the top of the third. Alabama scored two runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to move to 7-2 in the SEC and 30-4 overall.

#12 LSU swept #16 Georgia over the weekend and posted two close shutout victories over the Bulldogs on Sunday. LSU won the first game 2-0 thanks to Allie Walljasper’s two hit and three walk performance. Bailey Landry drove home the two runs in the third inning to give the Tigers the series win. The second game was more of the same as Sydney Smith also allowed just two hits and one walk in her complete game shutout. Smith did not strike out any batters while Landry scored the lone run in the first inning to complete the sweep.

#2 Florida won their second game in a row over #4 Auburn and it was Kelly Barnhill throwing a gem. She threw a complete game shutout with 16 strikeouts while allowing one walk and two hits. Chelsea Herndon drove home four runs for the Gators in the 7-0 victory.

The Big 10 saw rivals Michigan and Ohio State post large run rule victories to complete sweeps over their respective opponents. The #19 Wolverines won 17-0 over Penn State with Tera Blanco driving home 6 runs in the win and Megan Betsa throwing a no-hitter (one walk) and striking out 9 in the five inning game. The Buckeyes crushed Maryland 22-0 with five RBIs by Lilli Piper along with 3 RBIs from Anna Kirk and Taylor White. Michigan and Ohio State will face each other April 7-9 in Columbus.

#8 Minnesota swept Nebraska on Sunday after winning 8-1. Sara Groenewegen allowed the one run on two hits while striking out 11 in the complete game effort. Sam Macken (2 RBIs), Kendyl Lindaman (3), and Sydney Dwyer (2) all drove home multiple runs. #22 Wisconsin won their series two games to one thanks to a 7-1 victory over Northwestern on the road. The Badgers held a slim 2-0 lead going into the seventh inning, but a five run burst pushed them to the win. Brooke Wyderski hit a three run shot in the seventh and finished with four RBIs.

#1 Florida State continued their dominating march through their ACC schedule with a no-hitter against Virginia. Jessica Burroughs allowed one walk, hit one batter, and struck out 11 in her fourth career no-hitter. Jessica Warren and Cali Harrod both recorded 3 RBIs while the Seminoles allowed just one run over the three games. Florida State has posted shutouts in six of their last seven games and have only allowed one run in their last six ACC games.

A four-way logjam is atop the Mountain West after the weekend’s game. Utah State and Fresno State are both 4-2 while San José State and New Mexico both sit at 2-1 in conference play. Utah State won 17-5 over Nevada with 7 RBIs courtesy of Devan Sperry. Fresno State fell to Boise State 2-1 in 9 innings and could not complete the sweep. Makenzie Sullivan drove home the winning run in the ninth for Boise State. New Mexico defeated UNLV 5-4 to take the series. Jasmine Casados’ double to left field in the fourth inning proved to be the winning run though UNLV made it uncomfortable late in the game.

#10 James Madison suffered their first loss since March 4 against Hofstra. The Dukes allowed four runs in the third inning due to two errors and four passed balls. That eventually led to the first loss of the season for pitcher Megan Good (18-1).

Previous Weekly Reviews

Week One Review

Week Two Review

Week Three Review

Week Four Review

Week Five Review

Week Six Review

2017 College Softball Power Rankings: Second Edition

Utah makes a big jump in the rankings after sweeping UCLA on the road to start Pac-12 play. (Photo Courtesy of University of Utah Athletics Department)

2017 College Softball Power Rankings: Second Edition

The second edition of our power rankings for the 2017 season sees little change at the top. The best teams took care of business in week six. The middle and lower parts of last week’s rankings saw the most movement. We list the top 16 teams along with the next four.

We will start by providing last week’s rankings below and please note the table below is based on records as of March 14.

RankTeamConf.Overall
Record
Conf.
Record
1FloridaSEC22-12-0
2AuburnSEC22-32-1
3Florida StateACC23-1-16-0
4ArizonaPac-1226-10-0
5OregonPac-1224-00-0
6Texas A&MSEC22-22-1
7WashingtonPac-1221-30-0
8OklahomaBig 1221-50-0
9AlabamaSEC24-23-0
10UCLAPac-1221-50-0
11MinnesotaBig 1022-20-0
12James MadisonColonial21-30-0
13TennesseeSEC21-32-1
14GeorgiaSEC24-30-0
15BaylorBig 1223-40-0
16LouisianaSun Belt17-50-0
17LSUSEC19-61-2
18KentuckySEC18-40-0
19Ole MissSEC20-30-0
20MichiganBig 1014-7-10-0

Below is the second edition of our 2017 power rankings and the records are through games as of Tuesday, March 21.

#1 – Florida Gators (26-1 Overall, 5-0 SEC)

Ranked #1 last week, Florida did nothing wrong over the weekend to jeopardize their top billing. They played in four games and posted shutouts in three of them. They allowed one run on 7 hits in those four games between their three aces of Delanie Gourley, Kelly Barnhill, and Aleshia Ocasio.

How good are the Gators? Well, they face #2 Auburn next weekend as those two teams will likely be battling for top spot here in the next edition of the power rankings.

#2 – Auburn Tigers (27-3 Overall, 2-1 SEC)

Auburn did not change positions from last week and also did not play any SEC teams. They went 5-0 versus North Dakota State, South Florida, Illinois, Ohio State, and LIU Brooklyn. The 8-0 win over Ohio State featured a perfect game thrown by Kaylee Carlson, just the second in Auburn history. The Tigers face Florida next week on the road in a mega SEC battle.

#3 – Florida State Seminoles (28-1-1 Overall, 9-0 ACC)

Like the two teams above them, Florida State was excellent in their games. They defeated Canisius and Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday in run-rule shortened games. Over the weekend, they completely dominated Notre Dame outscoring the Irish 28-0 while allowing 12 hits over the three games. The ‘Noles have a midweek game versus Central Florida and then face Virginia on the road over the weekend.

#4 – Arizona Wildcats (29-1 Overall, 3-0 Pac-12)

They too did not change from last week and they swept Oregon State over the weekend including an extra innings contest on Sunday. On Tuesday of last week, they secured a 4-3 win over Oklahoma, as noted in last week’s power rankings. The Wildcats have a showdown next weekend Washington at home.

#5 – Oregon Ducks (27-0 Overall, 3-0 Pac-12)

Oregon (ranked 5th last week) is still the only unbeaten team in Division 1 softball and to keep that streak they needed to sweep California. The Ducks gave up early runs to Cal in all three games, but they settled down nicely to overcome those small deficits. Oregon faces a hot Utah team next weekend on the road.

#6 – Texas A&M Aggies (25-2 Overall, 5-1 SEC)

The Aggies (6th last week) had a potentially tricky road series at Ole Miss, but handled it perfectly. Texas A&M swept Ole Miss and their pitching staff was superb allowing just three runs to a strong offense. Texas A&M faces Prairie View midweek before a home series against Missouri.

#7 – Washington Huskies (24-3 Overall, 3-0 Pac-12)

Washington (7th last week) ended their 9 game home stand perfect after a sweep over Arizona State. The Huskies won 6-4 in the first game and then shut out the Sun Devils in the final two games on Sunday. The Wildcats face a solid Grand Canyon team in a Wednesday doubleheader and travel to Arizona next weekend.

#8 – Alabama Crimson Tide (28-3 Overall, 5-1 SEC)

The Tide (9th last week) started the week with back-to-back shutouts over Winthrop and Georgia Southern. A weekend series versus Mississippi State yielded a series victory of two games to one. The loss was a bit concerning as Alabama only produced two hits (and had two errors), but they came back to win 3-0 on Sunday. Alabama faces South Carolina at home next weekend.

#9 – Minnesota Golden Gophers (25-2 Overall, 0-0 Big 10)

Minnesota (11th last week) had a West Coast trip that produced a 3-0 record. They defeated California 10-0 and then defeated Pacific twice on Friday in five innings both times. The Gophers allowed one run last week in their four games. They will be at Nebraska next weekend to start Big 10 play.

#10 – Utah Utes (21-4 Overall, 3-0 Pac-12)

Utah makes the biggest move in the rankings going from knocking on the door to the top 10. Why such a big jump? They swept UCLA and allowed only three runs in the process. UCLA was fifth in home runs as of 3/14, but only mustered one against Utah. The Utes also own early season wins over Tennessee, Houston, and LSU.

Utah looks to keep their momentum going as they face BYU on the road on Wednesday and will have a chance to knock Oregon from the unbeaten ranks at home next weekend.

#11 – James Madison Dukes (24-3 Overall, 0-0 Colonial)

The Dukes (12th last week) had a midweek doubleheader versus Virginia cancelled due to weather. Their three games over the weekend all produced shutouts over Binghamton, Buffalo, and Maryland. Megan Good recorded her 11th shutout of 2017, which is already a single season record. The Dukes travel to Hempstead, New York next weekend to play Hofstra in their opening Colonial series.

#12 – Oklahoma Sooners (24-7 Overall, 0-0 Big 12)

Oklahoma dropped from 8th to 12th this week after a pair of 3-1 losses to Cal Poly. The Sooners did beat UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount, and DePaul, but the losses to Cal Poly stick out. OU bats fell silent versus Sierra Hyland, who has been outstanding this season. Oklahoma faces Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech, and UAB (twice) next weekend.

#13 – UCLA Bruins (21-8 Overall, 0-3 Pac-12)

The Bruins take a three spot drop from 10th after being swept by Utah at home. UCLA had a tough time getting anything going on offense and as noted last week, that spells disaster for them. In the Bruins’ 8 losses, they have produced run totals of 0, 1 (four times), 2, 4, and 6. Next weekend, UCLA has a doubleheader versus BYU on Saturday and play Dartmouth on Sunday.

#14 – Georgia Bulldogs (26-4 Overall, 2-1 SEC)

Georgia (ranked 14th last week) took two out of three from Kentucky at home. Kentucky won on Saturday (for the first time since 2007 at Georgia), but the Bulldogs came back with victories on Sunday and Monday. The Bulldogs committed four errors over the weekend, which is something that remains an issue for them. Georgia travels to LSU next week for a three game series.

#15 – Baylor Bears (26-5 Overall, 0-0 Big 12)

Baylor was ranked at the same spot last week and took on UCF over the weekend. They won the first two games including a 16-5 game. The Bears led 2-1 in the third game, but gave up three runs in the sixth and lost 4-2. Baylor did defeat Sam Houston State on Tuesday as well. The Bears continue to throw a clunker in against weaker opponents, but still remain a very good team. They face Kansas on the road to start Big 12 play.

#16 – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (20-5 Overall, 3-0 Sun Belt)

There is no change in position for the Ragin’ Cajuns after the faced and swept Texas-Arlington at home. Louisiana hit five home runs over the weekend including two by DJ Sanders (currently 2nd in the NCAA with 13 home runs). Louisiana will play South Alabama next week on the road.

Next Four

#17 – Tennessee Volunteers (22-5 Overall, 3-3 SEC)

The Vols were 13th last week and took a dive because of their series loss to Arkansas. Arkansas is a fringe top 25, but they were also a team that had not won a conference series since 2013. The bats were not as effective versus the Razorbacks, but the Vols have plenty of opportunities left in the SEC. The face North Carolina on Wednesday and take on Ole Miss at home over the weekend.

#18 – Kentucky Wildcats (19-6 Overall, 1-2 SEC)

The Wildcats (no change from last week) lost their opening series to Georgia two games to one. Kentucky, like Georgia, was plagued by errors throughout the three games tallying 8 in total. With an offense that struggles to score, committing mistakes puts a lot more pressure on the pitching. UK will take on Arkansas at home next weekend.

#19 – Michigan Wolverines (18-7-1 Overall, 0-0 Big 10)

Michigan (ranked 20th last week) got a break in their schedule with regards to quality. The took on Kent State and swept them in a three game set while also defeating Bowling Green. The Wolverines pitched two shutouts versus Kent State and look to keep momentum going with a Wednesday game versus Eastern Michigan. Michigan plays at home versus Penn State over the weekend in their Big 10 opening series.

#20 – Arkansas Razorbacks (21-6 Overall, 2-4 SEC)

Arkansas was listed under “knocking on the door” last week and they make an appearance in the top 20 after their series win over Tennessee. Prior to the Tennessee wins, Arkansas’ best victories came versus Oklahoma State and Nebraska. Arkansas was swept by Alabama two weekends ago and were blanked by Tulsa midweek. There are some concerns on whether this will become the norm, but the offense packs firepower. Arkansas takes on St Louis midweek followed by a weekend road series at Kentucky.

Knocking on the Door

These teams have some work to do to be one of the top twenty, but could make a jump over the new few weeks (in alphabetical order):

BYU, Cal Poly, Fresno State, LSU, Missouri, North Carolina, Ole Miss, and Wisconsin.

Below is the week two power rankings table.

RankTeamConf.Overall
Record
Conf.
Record
Last
Week's Ranking
1FloridaSEC26-15-01
2AuburnSEC27-32-12
3Florida StateACC28-1-19-03
4ArizonaPac-1229-13-04
5OregonPac-1227-03-05
6Texas A&MSEC25-25-16
7WashingtonPac-1224-33-07
8AlabamaSEC28-35-19
9MinnesotaBig 1025-20-011
10UtahPac-1221-43-0Not
Ranked
11James MadisonColonial24-30-012
12OklahomaBig 1224-70-08
13UCLAPac-1221-80-310
14GeorgiaSEC26-52-114
15BaylorBig 1226-50-015
16LouisianaSun Belt20-53-016
17TennesseeSEC22-53-313
18KentuckySEC19-61-218
19MichiganBig 1018-7-10-020
20ArkansasSEC21-62-4Not
Ranked

Florida and Florida State Stay Atop Polls After Week 6

Florida and Florida State Stay Atop Polls After Week 6

Florida State remains at number one for the fourth straight week in the Coaches Poll while Florida stays atop the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll for the third straight week.

In the Coaches Poll, Florida State received 24 of the 30 first place votes with Florida (two first place votes) in second and Oregon (five first place votes) in third. Oregon remains the only unbeaten Division 1 team in college softball at 27-0. The top five is rounded out by Auburn and Arizona.

Washington, Texas A&M, and Minnesota are the next three with none of the top 8 teams seeing a change in position. Alabama is up to 9th from 11th and garnered the last first place vote. James Madison sits at 10th, up two spots.

Utah made the biggest move of the week going from 20th to 11th after sweeping UCLA on the road. LSU is 12th while Oklahoma is 13th, down four spots after two losses to Cal Poly. Baylor remains at fourteen and UCLA dropped five spots to 15th.

16th through 20th is occupied by Georgia, Louisiana-Lafayette, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee. The Vols dropped five spots due to a series loss against Arkansas.

The final five teams are Arizona State, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Cal Poly. The Razorbacks and Mustangs are new additions to the poll replacing California and BYU. The entire Coaches Poll can be seen below.

RankSchool (1st place votes)PointsRecordLast Week's
Rank
1Florida State (24)78628-1-11
2Florida (2)76126-12
3Oregon (5)73827-03
4Auburn68827-34
5Arizona68529-15
6Washington63824-36
7Texas A&M61425-27
8Minnesota57525-28
9Alabama (1)51628-311
10James Madison49824-312
11Utah42221-420
12LSU41823-713
13Oklahoma39624-79
14Baylor39025-514
15UCLA34721-810
16Georgia33025-416
17Louisiana28620-518
18Kentucky27119-517
19Michigan23717-7-119
20Tennessee22622-515
21Arizona State10019-821
22Wisconsin9920-224
23Ole Miss7421-622
24Arkansas7019-6Not
Ranked
25Cal Poly5923-7Not
Ranked

In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll, Florida is number one with 10 first place votes. Florida State sits second with three first place votes and Oregon is third with seven first place votes. Arizona remains at fourth and the newest member of the top five is Washington, up one position.

Auburn dropped from fifth to sixth followed by Texas A&M, Minnesota, Alabama, and James Madison. The Dukes moved up from 13th to 10th.

LSU and Oklahoma are 11th and 12th, respectively. Utah moved up from 21st to 13th on the heels of their sweep over UCLA. The top 15 is rounded out by Baylor and Georgia.

UCLA fell five spots to 16th and they are followed by Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee (also down five spots), and Louisiana-Lafayette. The last five teams in the poll are Wisconsin, Arkansas, California, Arizona State, and North Carolina. The Tar Heels replace Ole Miss in the top 25 after the Rebels were swept by Texas A&M. The entire ESPN.com/USA Softball poll can be seen below.

RankSchool (1st place votes)RecordLast Week's
Rank
1Florida (10)26-11
2Florida State (3)28-1-12
3Oregon (7)27-03
4Arizona29-14
5Washington24-36
6Auburn27-35
7Texas A&M25-27
8Minnesota25-29
9Alabama28-38
10James Madison24-313
11LSU23-712
12Oklahoma24-710
13Utah21-421
14Baylor25-515
15Georgia26-416
16UCLA21-811
17Kentucky19-618
18Michigan17-7-117
19Tennessee22-514
20Louisiana-Lafayette20-519
21Wisconsin20-223
22Arkansas21-625
23California17-820
24Arizona State19-822
25North Carolina24-6Not
Ranked

Previous Polls

Below are the polls from earlier in the season.

Preseason Polls

After Week 1 Polls

After Week 2 Polls

After Week 3 Polls

After Week 4 Polls

After Week 5 Polls

Weekly Reviews

Week One Review

Week Two Review

Week Three Review

Week Four Review

Week Five Review

Week Six Review

2017 College Softball Season: Week Six Review

2017 College Softball Season: Week Six Review

The sixth weekend of the 2017 college softball season has concluded. The past two weeks have been light on upsets, but the sixth week made up for past two weeks. We will look at the headlines and some of the notable performances below in a day-by-day format.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#1 Florida State opened the week with a 7-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Jessica Burroughs allowed one walk and three hits while striking out 12 batters in the complete game. #7 Texas A&M easily handled Memphis 15-1 in a five inning game. The Aggies got equal production on offense with five different batters driving home at least two runs.

The game of the day belonged to #4 Arizona and #9 Oklahoma. The Sooners began the scoring in the second inning on a fielder’s choice and held the 1-0 lead through four and a half innings. Tamara Statman gave Arizona the lead in the fifth with a two run shot, but OU came right back in the sixth to reclaim the lead. Macey Hatfield delivered a two run single to make it 3-2 for OU.

The Wildcats were able to mount a rally in the bottom of the seventh. They loaded the bases with two outs when Mandie Perez came up and hit a shot to first. Shay Knighten’s throw was off the mark and that allowed Arizona to score two runs and take game 4-3.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Weather caused mayhem in the scheduling as games all over the country were cancelled or postponed.

Tulsa delivered a big win over Arkansas and did so comfortably. Tulsa defeated Arkansas 8-0 in five innings with Emily Watson throwing a one-hitter. She struck out 8 batters and allowed no walks while Rylie Spell had a great game at the plate. Spell had a two run single in the second and a three run home run in third to give her 5 RBIs on the day.

Elsewhere in the SEC, Missouri swept Iowa in shutout fashion for both games of their doubleheader, 9-0 and 2-0. #11 Alabama did the same to Winthrop and Georgia Southern. The latter produced a combined no-hitter between Alexis Osorio and Madi Moore. Osorio had three perfect innings with 7 strikeouts while Moore allowed only one walk and struck out two. #2 Florida dismantled North Dakota State 13-0 in five innings thanks to five RBIs apiece from Janell Wheaton and Chelsea Herndon.

#1 FSU continued their domination this year with two more impressive performances. The Noles defeated Canisius 9-1 in six innings and Florida Gulf Coast 13-1 in five innings. Callie Harrod had six RBIs while going 4 for 6 in over the two games.

Big 12 teams Texas and Oklahoma State easily handled their opponents on Wednesday. Texas defeated Long Beach State 10-1 in six innings while the Cowgirls beat North Texas 10-2.

#8 Minnesota had a great 10-0 win over #23 California in a milestone effort for pitcher Sara Groenewegen. She struck out 9 batters and allowed only one hit and one walk in six innings of work. Groenewegen eclipsed 1,000 strikeouts for her career in the win, making her just the third player in Minnesota history to reach that mark.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It was a light day in the amount of games played. #13 LSU needed a late rally to dispatch Wichita State 4-3. The Tigers led 1-0 in the second, but Paige Luellen tied the game in the second for the Shockers with a solo shot. Ryleigh Buck made it 3-1 Wichita State on a two run shot and set the stage for a late inning rally for the Tigers. A run in the sixth made it 3-2 while the Tigers needed an error by the Shockers to tie the game in the seventh. LSU made the most of their gift by taking the lead in the eighth on solo shot by Sydney Springfield. The Shockers went down in order to end the game.

An upset that did occur was Missouri State defeating Oklahoma State 7-3. The Bears led 2-0 and 3-1 early in the game, but the Cowgirls clawed their way back to a 3-3 tie on a solo shot by Vanessa Shippy. The Bears had a four run sixth aided by an OSU error to reach the 7-3 final score and improved to 12-9 overall.

#9 Oklahoma swept their two games on the day over UC Santa Barbara 8-1 and Loyola-Marymount 6-4. The first game saw five different Sooners drive in a run and Paige Parker allow the one run on one hit and two walks with five strikeouts. The second game was more of the same with five different Sooners recording an RBI. OU was tied at three going into the fifth inning, but RBIs from Vanessa TaukeiahoNicole Mendes, and Fale Aviu gave the Sooners a lead they would not relinquish.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The upset of the day belonged to Cal Poly over #9 Oklahoma. The Sooners struck in the first inning with a solo shot from Sydney Romero, but Sierra Hyland shut Oklahoma down the rest of the game. Hyland, who threw a perfect game early in the season, did not allow a hit the rest of the game while striking out seven. Cal Poly had a three run fifth with RBI hits by Makenna Young, Hailey Martin, and Amanda Sandoval. The Mustangs won 3-1 and also threw another one hitter versus Dartmouth on Friday in an 11-0 victory.

Saint Francis got a massive performance from Jordan Seneca versus Texas Tech. TTU took a 5-0 lead, but it was cut down to 5-4 on a grand slam by Seneca. TTU went up 8-4 on a three run shot by Raina O’Neal, but Seneca tied the game with her second grand slam of the game. The game went to extras where Saint Francis won 12-10. Seneca had quite the stat line: 2 for 3 with eight RBIs, four runs, and two walks.

Another thriller took place between Illinois and Chattanooga. The Illini held a 4-2 lead after three and then built up 13-3 lead thanks to four runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth. A series of four straight walks to start the bottom of the sixth set up a 9 run inning for Chattanooga. They came up just short in a 13-12 loss with 9 different hitters recording an RBI. Illinois had six different batters finish with an RBI.

Long Beach State, a team who has played a brutal non-conference schedule, rebounded from three losses earlier in the week to defeat both Grand Canyon (5-2) and Northwestern (2-1 in 9 innings). Lauren MacLeod hit a grand slam in versus GCU while Christina Clermont threw six innings of one hit ball versus Northwestern.

St Louis and Memphis played the day’s longest game needing 13 innings to decide a victor. St Louis started with a two run double in the first inning from Allie Macfarlane while Memphis scored one in the bottom of the inning. The teams exchanged runs in third and Memphis tied the game at 3 on a double by Addison Maxwell. After six straight scoreless innings, Memphis finally won the game 4-3 in the 13th on a bunt by Tyler Johnson.

#20 Utah secured an excellent 2-1 win over #10 UCLA to open Pac-12 play. Utah scored two runs in the third inning on back-to-back singles from Alyssa Barrera and Hannah Flippen. The Bruins mounted a last-ditch rally and nearly came back to tie the game. Brianna Tautalafua cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run followed by a double from Rachel Garcia to make it a nervous ending. The Utes were able to get the final two outs to take first of a three game set on the road.

Arkansas won 4-3 over #15 Tennessee thanks to A.J. Belans’ grand slam in the third inning. The Razorbacks held on for the victory despite the Vols having late success with three runs after the grand slam. #7 Texas A&M defeated #22 Ole Miss behind Trinity Harrington’s complete game outing. She allowed two runs (one earned) on one walk and three hits while striking out five. Riley Sartain broke a 2-2 deadlock in the fifth with a solo shot on a 3-2 count. Ashley Walters doubled home Kaitlyn Alderink for an insurance in the seventh run with the Aggies claiming the 4-2 road win.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

For the second day in a row, Cal Poly upended #9 Oklahoma by the same score line of 3-1 as the first upset. The Sooners scored in the first inning again, this time on a sacrifice fly by Fale Aviu. Cal Poly responded with runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead. The Mustangs added a third run on an error while Oklahoma had a solid rally in the bottom of the seventh by putting runners on first and second with no outs. Sierra Hyland settled down and retired the next three in order to complete the game. She finished the game allowing the one run on one walk and six hits with five strikeouts.

For the second time this week, Tulsa defeated a team from the SEC. This time it was a 1-0 win over #13 LSU with Tulsa recording just one hit in the victory. Maddie Withee drove home the only run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first. Pitcher Emily Watson held LSU in check going the distance allowing one walk and five hits with 8 strikeouts.

Also in the SEC, some conference matchups produced surprising results. Mississippi State defeated #11 Alabama in a pitcher’s duel 1-0. Amanda Ivy’s RBI single in the 2nd inning was enough for the Bulldogs to hand Sydney Littlejohn her first loss of the season (9-1). Holly Ward threw the complete game shutout allowing two walks and two hits with 3 strikeouts.

#17 Kentucky and #16 Georgia played a low-scoring and tight affair. Erin Rethlake scored both of the runs for Kentucky while Meagan Prince threw a complete game allowing one run on four hits and four walks with 9 strikeouts. Kentucky won 2-1 and it marked the first time in a decade they won at Georgia.

Arkansas scored their second one run victory over #15 Tennessee in as many days with a record crowd on hand. A scoreless game until the seventh inning, Tennessee took a 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Savannah Huffstetler. The Razorbacks rallied in the bottom of the inning to tie the game with Tori Cooper delivering a single to center just past the diving shortstop to drive home the winning run for the 2-1 win. Like Kentucky, this win ended some dreaded streaks for Arkansas. Combined with their win on Friday, Arkansas claimed their first SEC series win since 2013 and their first against Tennessee since 2002.

A full game of 7 innings were not enough for Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech to decide a winner. The teams needed two full games for Louisiana Tech to emerge as the 4-2 victor. Southern Miss struck in the first inning with a run, but the Techsters came back in the second to claim the lead on RBIs from Ali Galaz and Jessica Ball. USM tied the game at 2 in the third inning on an error, but the scoring went silent for the next 10 innings. Louisiana Tech loaded the bases when Galaz came up and hit a two run double to make it 4-2 while the Eagles went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.

#5 Arizona won a doubleheader over Oregon State. The first game was a 6-2 final with home runs by Kaityana Mauga in the sixth and seventh innings while Alyssa Palomino drove home the other two runs. The second game featured late offense as well with the Wildcats scoring five runs across the final two innings for a 7-1 win.

#20 Utah defeated #10 UCLA for the second consecutive day by a score of 7-2. The Utes took a 3-0 lead in the fifth, but it was a seventh inning grand slam from Hannah Flippen that really put them over in the driver’s seat. Katie Donovan nearly threw a perfect game as she went 6 1/3 innings before the attempt ended on a single. The Bruins scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Brianna Tautalafua, but the damage was already done. Donovan finished the game allowing just one walks two hits to improve to 11-4.

#3 Oregon defeated #23 California 2-1 to stay unbeaten at 26-0. Annie Aldrete drove home a run in the first inning to give Cal an early 1-0 lead, but Miranda Elish (6-0) held the bats in check the rest of the game. Elish went the distance allowing the one run on two walks and six hits with 7 strikeouts. A Nikki Udria solo shot in the fourth inning tied the game and Danica Mercado’s triple the next inning brought home Sammie Puentes for the eventual game winner.

Saint Francis made headlines for the second time in as many days, this time with pitching. Ethel Santai threw a perfect game against East Carolina a five inning, run rule shortened game. Seven different Red Flash players recorded an RBI in the 11-0 victory as well.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

#1 Florida State ended the weekend in style with a 16-0 win over Notre Dame in five innings. The Seminoles swept the Irish without giving up a run and allowed just 12 hits over the three game series. The Noles are 9-0 in ACC play while Notre Dame has slumped to 1-5.

Another ACC undefeated is Louisville (3-0) who swept Pittsburgh over the weekend. The last of the three wins was an 8-2 win with Maryssa Becker throwing a complete game with 9 strikeouts against one walk and four hits. Pittsburgh dropped to 0-6 in the ACC. North Carolina suffered their first loss in ACC play (now 5-1) on Sunday after Virginia Tech scored 10 runs in the second inning. The Hokies were powered by 3 RBIs apiece from Breanna Davenport and Emma Strouth.

There were also sweeps in the Pac-12 starting with #6 Washington finishing off Arizona State twice on Sunday. The Huskies posted 4-0 and 1-0 shutouts with Samantha Manti throwing 10 innings over the two games allowing just two walks and six hits with 10 strikeouts. #5 Arizona swept Oregon State after a 7-4 win in 8 innings. The Wildcats led 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, but Natalie Hampton sent the game to extras with a three shot to center field. Arizona put up three runs in the eighth capped off by Mandie Perez’s home run to right field.

The final Pac-12 sweep was surprising one with #20 Utah over #10 UCLA. The Utes won 4-0 on Sunday and their three games saw them allow just three runs over three games to one of the best hitting teams in the nation.

As if there were not enough sweeps above, there were more in the SEC. #2 Florida took care of South Carolina in three straight games with the final one resulting in a combined no-hitter between Delanie Gourley and Aleshia Ocasio. Jaimie Hoover went 2 for 3 with five RBIs in the 10-0 win over South Carolina. The Gators moved to 26-1 (5-0 in the SEC) on the season and South Carolina is now at 19-10 overall (1-5 SEC).

#22 Ole Miss had a great opportunity to claim some excellent conference wins at home versus #7 Texas A&M, but could not win any games versus the Aggies. The Aggies won 3-1 behind Riley Sartain’s RBI hits in the first, second, and fourth innings along with Lexi Smith striking out 14 in her six innings of work.

In the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State, Illinois State, and Evansville had perfect 3-0 starts in conference over Drake, Indiana State, and Loyola, respectively. The Mountain West saw four teams start 2-1 to their conference schedule in Boise State, Utah State, Fresno State, and San José State.

One of the most entertaining games took place between Belmont and Mercer that needed 10 innings to be decided. The game was tied at five after seven innings, but the fun was just getting started. Belmont plated two runs in the top of the eighth, but Mercer’s Danielle Castleberry tied the game with a triple. She was thrown out at home trying to score an inside the park home run. The teams exchanged runs in the ninth inning to force a 10th inning tied at eight.

Belmont was able to take a 9-8 lead on a single from Hayley Baker and looked to have the game sealed on a grand slam by Jess Andree, which was her second grand slam of the game. Mercer quickly cut the deficit to 13-10 on a two run shot from Megan Lane and then put two runners on with no outs. Quirisa Mauga doubled home two runs to make it 13-12 before Belmont got the final two outs for the win.

Jess Andree became the 12th player in NCAA history to hit 2 grand slams in one game. The 11th was Jordan Seneca of Saint Francis, who she did so on Friday versus Texas Tech (see above).

The lone unbeaten in Division 1, #3 Oregon, remained that way with a 10-2 run-rule victory over #23 California. Cal broke through in the first inning while the Ducks scored runs in the second through fifth innings. Seven different Oregon hitters finished with an RBI led by Jenna Lilley with three.

Previous Weekly Reviews

Week One Review

Week Two Review

Week Three Review

Week Four Review

Week Five Review

2017 College Softball Power Rankings: First Edition

The Florida Gators top our inaugural power rankings for the 2017 season.

2017 College Softball Power Rankings: First Edition

We are through five weeks of the 2017 college softball season and that is enough time to get a good look at the top teams with conference play scheduled to begin. Below we will rank the top sixteen teams along with the next four teams.

These rankings will not necessarily follow the latest polls as those are just one bit of information to utilize. Without further ado, below is our first power ranking for the 2017 season.

#1 – Florida Gators (22-1 Overall, 2-0 SEC)

There seems to be quite a few teams that could claim the top spot, but we give the nod to the Gators. Through Monday, March 13, the Gators lead the NCAA in ERA at 0.64 and fielding percentage at .992. The pitching duo of Kelly Barnhill (9-0) and Delanie Gourley (9-1) are enough to scare nearly all their opponents. Those two have combined to allow just 20 walks and 44 hits combined in 25 appearances. The offense averages 6.48 runs per game, which is good enough for 19th in the nation and six different Gators have 13+ runs batted in this season.

They have defeated Michigan, UCLA, California, South Florida, and Missouri (twice) this year. Their lone loss was no doubt a clunker. They lost 4-2 to Maryland, a team that, as of this writing, is 4-18-1 on the season. The longer the season goes on, the more of an anomaly this game looks like. However, when the Gators are on, they are very good and that is likely to continue throughout the season.

#2 – Auburn Tigers (22-3 Overall, 2-1 SEC)

It is kind of surprising to see this team outside the top three in both polls. Their losses have been to Washington (2-1), James Madison (1-0), and LSU (8-0 in six innings), who are all currently ranked in the top 15. The Tigers rank in the top ten for ERA at 1.15 with Kaylee Carlson (13-0) and Makayla Martin (9-3) in the circle.

The Tigers rank 15th in scoring at 6.88 runs per game, 25th in home runs per game (1.04), and 27th in slugging percentage (.495). The core players of Haley Fagan, Carlee Wallace, Kendall Veach, Kasey Cooper, and Courtney Shea will need to continue to produce runs at the same pace. Those five have combined to produce 22 home runs and 102 RBIs compared to 4 home runs and 54 RBIs from the rest of the team.

#3 – Florida State Seminoles (23-1-1 Overall, 6-0 ACC)

The Seminoles have been very consistent this season. They defeated most of their opponents handily with the exception of some big name teams: Texas A&M, Arizona, UCLA, Michigan. They lost to Texas A&M 2-0 and tied with Michigan at 5, but defeated both the Wildcats (1-0) and UCLA (2-1). They easily won their six conference games with none decided by less than three runs.

FSU is consistent with their stats too. They rank in the top 30 for every major category with the exception of home runs per game (tied for 96th at 0.67 per game). The offense is evenly spread out with 7 different hitters with 10+ RBIs and six hitters at .320 or better for batting average. The Noles are likely to cruise through the ACC portion of their schedule especially if Jessica Burroughs (12-1) and Meghan King (10-0) continue to pitch well.

#4 – Arizona Wildcats (26-1 Overall, 0-0 Pac-12)

Arizona’s one loss came to Florida State in a 1-0 pitching duel. They have defeated Baylor, BYU, and Oklahoma this season. The Wildcats are really good at everything. They are ranked in the top 15 in all the major categories: batting average (7th), ERA (2nd), fielding percentage (12th), home runs per game (2nd), runs per game (1st), and slugging percentage (2nd). Sure, some of that is the opponents they have faced, but that is true for a lot of teams.

It is probably not surprising that the seven batters with the most at-bats have at least a .322 batting average. Four hitters have 6 or more home runs and five hitters have at least 21 runs batted in. Danielle O’Toole (13-1) and Taylor McQuillin (7-0) both have an ERA of 0.65. O’Toole has allowed only 12 walks and struck out 93 hitters. How good are ‘Cats? We will find out soon in Pac-12 play.

#5 – Oregon Ducks (24-0 Overall, 0-0 Pac-12)

The lone remaining unbeaten team has been impressive. They rank inside the top 10 in batting average (.384), ERA (1.12), scoring (8.13 runs per game), and slugging percentage (.057). Alexis Mack, Danica Mercado, Nikki Udria, Mia Camuso, and Gwen Svekis are all batting .380 or better.

The one caveat to this team is their schedule. Their best wins have been versus Fresno State, Kentucky, and Missouri (twice). The Ducks can only beat who the play and they have been perfect in that regard. They will tested in Pac-12 play and have room to grow on the field and in the polls, but they certainly have done well through five weeks.

#6 – Texas A&M Aggies (22-2 Overall, 2-1 SEC)

The last week of February really vaulted the Aggies up the polls. They defeated then #1 Florida State, #14 Michigan, #21 Arizona State, and #23 BYU in the span of three days. It was very impressive, but the Aggies have come back down a bit with losses to Houston (1-0) and Mississippi State (5-2).

The Aggies are not as good on offense as some other teams on this list. They rank 65th in batting average (.300), 47th in runs per game (5.70), and 33rd in slugging percentage (.484). Where the Aggies excel are ERA (1.20 – 10th in the NCAA) and fielding percentage (.987 – 2nd in the NCAA). Samantha Show has been great this season going 9-1 with an ERA of 0.86. Trinity Harrington and Lexi Smith have also been wonderful making this trio very fearsome for opposing hitters.

#7 – Washington Huskies (21-3 Overall, 0-0 Pac-12)

The Huskies started the season in the pressure cooker with games versus Auburn, BYU, Nebraska, and Oklahoma on opening weekend. They only lost to BYU and later lost to Missouri and Baylor, all top 25 teams. They also sport two recent wins over previously undefeated Minnesota 3-2 and 9-0.

The Huskies are top 10 in batting average (.368), fielding percentage (.981), scoring (7.29 runs per game), and slugging percentage (.587). The ERA is at 1.85 per game, which ranks at 32nd best in the nation. Morganne Flores has been a machine on offense at a .389 batting average with 8 home runs and 28 RBIs.

#8 – Oklahoma Sooners (21-5 Overall, 0-0 Big 12)

The Sooners began the season as the unanimous top ranked team. The lost early season games to Auburn (3-2) and Washington (1-0) along with games to Tennessee (2-1) and Notre Dame (5-4). Their latest loss was, as you probably guessed, a one run affair to Arizona (5-4). Their best win was against UCLA (10-1) and also beat BYU and Ole Miss.

The defense is excellent at .983 fielding percentage, which is fourth in the nation. The offense is good, but there is room for improvement. They are currently tied for 156th in home runs per game (0.50) and 72nd in slugging percentage (.442). Still, the offense is driving in runs and getting hits as noted by top 30 spots in batting average (29th) and runs per game (23rd). The Sooners surely will see those one run losses turn in their favor, right?

#9 – Alabama Crimson Tide (24-2 Overall, 3-0 SEC)

The Tide have had a nice start to the season going 24-2, but are a bit light on signature wins. The recently swept Arkansas, a top 25 team, but their other big series was not so kind. They were routed twice versus Louisiana-Lafayette and only took one of the three road games against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Of course, with the SEC slate coming up there will be plenty of wins for the Tide to pick up.

Overall, the Tide are a really good team. They are top 15 in both ERA (12th and 1.23) and fielding percentage (13th at .978). The batting average is .330, which ranks 23rd in the country. Alabama could afford some more runs (5.77 per game – 47th) and homers (0.85 per game – 56th). However, the pitching duo of Sydney Littlejohn (8-0 with an ERA of 0.53) and Alexis Osorio (13-1 with an ERA of 0.72) really help the Tide’s chances in close games. Osorio has been lights out this year allowing just 19 hits and 21 walks in 78 innings pitched with 161 strikeouts.

#10 – UCLA Bruins (21-5 Overall, 0-0 Pac-12)

The Bruins five losses have come against five quality opponents: Kentucky (2-1), Oklahoma (10-1), Florida State (2-1), Florida (9-4), and Baylor (11-6). They sport some solid wins over Kentucky, Georgia, LSU, and Michigan.

The Bruins have used the power game to propel them. They are 5th in the nation in home runs per game (1.35) and 9th in slugging percentage (.549). Batting average (20th), ERA (23rd), and fielding percentage (35th) are good as well. Seven different hitters have driven in at least 11 runs and six hitters have at least 3 home runs. The best chance to beat UCLA is when the bats are not on fire (see their three losses above when they tallied just one run).

#11 – Minnesota Golden Gophers (22-2 Overall, 0-0 Big 10)

The Gophers started off the season on fire setting a program record for wins in a row at 19. They were stymied by Washington twice in the span of three days including a 3-2 loss to the Huskies. Outside of a road win at LSU, the best wins for Minnesota are Texas (twice), Notre Dame (twice), Fresno State, and Cal Poly.

The Gophers are not overwhelming with their stats, but are still very good. They are 16th in batting average (.340), 27th in ERA (1.81), 16th in slugging percentage (.511), and 24th in scoring (6.29 runs per game). The fielding percentage is respectable at .970, which ranks 46th in the nation. Minnesota relies heavily on their ace Sara Groenewegen, who has going 10-1 with an ERA of 0.71. She has allowed just 10 walks and struck out 90 over 69.1 innings. Opponents will try to get past Groenewegen, but that is easier said than done.

#12 – James Madison Dukes (21-3 Overall, 0-0 Colonial)

The Dukes split an opening weekend series versus Missouri and then did the same two weeks later against Auburn. They have also defeated South Florida, Wisconsin, South Alabama, and Pittsburgh (twice).

James Madison ranks 18th in both batting average (.336) and fielding percentage (.975). Their ERA is stellar at 0.94, which is third best in the country. Megan Good has been great, going 14-0 with 10 complete games, 126 strikeouts, and only 15 walks given up over 90 innings. Her opponent batting average is .100. Good is also an excellent hitter with a batting average of .347 and 20 RBIs. The Dukes probably will not face much competition in the CAA, but they have some ACC opponents left on the schedule to impress against.

#13 – Tennessee Volunteers (21-3 Overall, 2-1 SEC)

Tennessee’s signature win was a 2-1 victory over Oklahoma near the end of February. Most recently, they defeated South Carolina two games to one in a three game series. Their other two losses have been to Utah and Texas.

The Vols are 7th in scoring at 7.5 runs per game and Meghan Gregg has been one person show hitting .486. She has 7 home runs (five more than the next best) and 41 RBIs (23 more than the next best). The Vols average just 0.67 home runs per game (tied 96th) and can certainly improve their fielding percentage (64th). Matty Moss (11-0, 1.22 ERA) and Caylan Arnold (9-3, 1.68 ERA) have been good this year and will need to continue to be good going into their SEC schedule.

#14 – Georgia Bulldogs (24-3 Overall, 0-0 SEC)

The Bulldogs had a bad stretch in late February in which they lost to BYU (4-0), UCLA (10-5), and Notre Dame (10-7). They are lacking stand out wins with their best looking like Syracuse (twice) and Ohio State.

Georgia’s offense is one of the best in the nation at 2nd in batting average (.398), 6th in scoring (7.63 runs per game), and 8th slugging percentage (.561). They also know how to play small ball averaging 3 stolen bases per game, which is 5th in the nation. One major area of concern is fielding percentage where they rank 204th in the nation with 36 errors this season. Last year, Georgia committed 59 errors in 66 games. The Bulldogs simply cannot give extra chances to SEC opponents.

#15 Baylor Bears (23-4 Overall, 0-0 Big 12)

The losses for Baylor have been outweighed by their wins. They lost to Fordham, Arizona, North Texas, and Cal State Fullerton. Three of those losses are worrisome, but in a three day span they defeated Arizona State, Michigan, Washington, and UCLA. They also beat Louisiana-Lafayette on the road so we can see the dichotomy of this Baylor team.

The pitching is solid at an ERA of 1.80 behind three solid pitchers in Kelsee Selman (11-2), Gia Rodoni (7-0), and Shelby McGlaun (5-2). The Bears have a very good batting average at .331 (21st), but only average 0.64 home runs per game (107th) and 4.80 runs per game (98th). The defense can also use some work at .968 (63rd). The Bears have potential against the top opponents, but will it show up when it is needed most?

#16 – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (17-5 Overall, 0-0 Sun Belt)

The Ragin’ Cajuns sneak into the top 16, but there are some concerns. They were swept at home by Southern Miss on their first weekend of games, but came back to win 2 out of 3 versus Alabama. They threw in another clunker at home to Bradley and most recently lost a close one to Baylor (5-4).

ULL has an offense you do not want to face (just ask Alabama). They lead the nation in home runs per game (1.64) and are second in runs scored per game (8.45). DJ Sanders is tied for third in the nation with 11 home runs. They are 7th in slugging percentage (.569) and 24th in batting average (.329). Pitching is solid at 1.90 for ERA while the defense is okay at a .968 fielding percentage (61st).

Next Four

These four teams are likely to jump into the top sixteen if one of the teams above falters or if they impress in a big series.

#17 – LSU Tigers (19-6 Overall, 1-2 SEC)

LSU started the season with a 7-3 home loss to Penn State in their second game. Their other losses have been to UCLA (6-5), Utah (3-0), Minnesota (3-0), and Auburn (5-4 twice). Beyond their 8-0 win over Auburn this past weekend, LSU does not have another big win. The Tigers will have lots of chances to climb up these rankings with a top offense (8th in batting average) and good pitching/defense (25th in ERA and 19th in fielding percentage).

#18 – Kentucky Wildcats (18-4 Overall, 0-0 SEC)

Kentucky has split a two game series with UCLA and defeated Michigan 5-1 this past Sunday. They also played Oregon close, but lost 5-4 and lost twice to Pittsburgh. Both pitching and defense are top 15, but the offense is underwhelming with all major rankings at 50 or worse. Their next series at Georgia should provide some insight into how far this team can go.

#19 – Ole Miss Rebels (20-3 Overall, 0-0 SEC)

The Rebels are short on big wins with their biggest coming against Houston and South Florida (twice). Not exactly the impression you want to make, but the potential (yes, that dreaded word again) is there. They face Texas A&M this weekend and what a showdown that will be: A&M’s pitching versus Ole Miss’ offense. The Rebels are 4th in batting average and runs per game along with their 9th place ranking in stolen bases and 10th in slugging percentage. The ERA could use some improvement at 2.24 (46th). We will see what the Rebels are made of this weekend.

#20 – Michigan Wolverines (14-7-1 Overall, 0-0 Big 10)

Michigan has faced one of the toughest schedules this season, but has little to show for it. They faced Florida, South Florida, Texas A&M, Florida State, Arizona State (twice), UCLA, Baylor, and Kentucky. However, they only have a pair of wins over Arizona State and a tie versus Florida State. It seems a bit harsh given the Wolverines willingness to play all these good teams.

The defense for Michigan is top notch at 5th in the nation (.982), but the offense and pitching seem below par. The Wolverines are 40th or worse all major hitting categories and are tied for 44th in ERA. That is partially due to who they have played, but Michigan is capable of better. We asked before the season if someone could dethrone Michigan in the Big 10. So far it looks very, very possible.

Knocking on the Door

These teams have some work to do to be one of the top twenty, but could make a jump over the new few weeks (in alphabetical order):

Arizona State, ArkansasBYU, Fresno State, Missouri, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Below is a table for the top 20 teams:

RankTeamConf.Overall
Record
Conf.
Record
1FloridaSEC22-12-0
2AuburnSEC22-32-1
3Florida StateACC23-1-16-0
4ArizonaPac-1226-10-0
5OregonPac-1224-00-0
6Texas A&MSEC22-22-1
7WashingtonPac-1221-30-0
8OklahomaBig 1221-50-0
9AlabamaSEC24-23-0
10UCLAPac-1221-50-0
11MinnesotaBig 1022-20-0
12James MadisonColonial21-30-0
13TennesseeSEC21-32-1
14GeorgiaSEC24-30-0
15BaylorBig 1223-40-0
16LouisianaSun Belt17-50-0
17LSUSEC19-61-2
18KentuckySEC18-40-0
19Ole MissSEC20-30-0
20MichiganBig 1014-7-10-0