The eleventh week of the NCAA softball season is in the books and there was not nearly as much turmoil as last week when it felt as if every top 25 team suffered a loss. Below we list the top 16 teams along with the next four teams.
We will start by providing last week’s rankings below. Please note the records in the table below are as of April 18.
Below are the previous editions of our Power Rankings.
Below is the seventh edition of our 2017 power rankings. Please note the records listed are through games as of April 25.
#1 – Florida Gators (44-3 Overall, 18-2 SEC)
Florida (#1 last week) had a dominating week going 4-0 and allowing just one run and 11 hits in those four games. They defeated Central Florida on Wednesday and Ole Miss over the weekend. The pitchers were on top of their game led by Kelly Barnhill. She won on Friday and Sunday allowing four hits and striking out 25! Barnhill is now 20-0 and is a strikeout machine with 230 as of this posting. She has 11 games with double-digit strikeouts totals.
The Gators are a scary team especially if this past week is replicated over the next six weeks. They face a tough test over the weekend on the road in Tennessee.
#2 – Arizona Wildcats (45-4 Overall, 15-3 Pac-12)
Arizona (#3 last week) reclaims second place after taking two of three against Oregon. They opened the series with a close 2-0 win led by Danielle O’Toole’s complete-game five-hitter. The second game was far different as Arizona won 10-7 and Katiyana Mauga went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs. The Wildcats dropped the third game, a 4-3 decision, after giving up two solo shots in the sixth inning. It was an impressive showing in a battle of two of the top Pac-12 squads. Arizona will stay at home and welcome Arizona State this weekend.
#3 – Texas A&M Aggies (40-5 Overall, 14-3 SEC)
The Aggies (#2 last week) started the week with an 11-9 loss at home to Louisiana-Lafayette. They fell behind 11-2 after three innings but made a furious rally that came up just short. They finished the weekend with a sweep of Georgia. The final two games showcased their strong pitching as they won 1-0 and 2-0. Texas A&M faces Kentucky on the road over the weekend.
#4 – Oklahoma Sooners (41-8 Overall, 11-1 Big 12)
Oklahoma (#4 last week) went 2-1 as they played Baylor in a three-game set. The first two games were decided by one run with the teams splitting those. The first game was scoreless until the eighth inning when both teams scored. Fale Aviu doubled home the tying and winning runs in the ninth for the 3-2 win. The second game was Baylor’s 4-3 win as they got to Paige Lowary and knocked her out of the game after 2 1/3 innings. The Sooners rallied from a 4-0 deficit but came up short.
The final game was a 6-0 win that was a 5-0 contest after two innings. The Sooners cruised to the victory and a tie atop the Big 12 standings. Oklahoma will be traveling to Texas Tech for a three-game series this weekend.
#5 – Minnesota Golden Gophers (43-3 Overall, 16-1 Big 10)
Minnesota (#5 last week) went 5-0, all in Big 10 play. The Gophers allowed just two runs in those games while scoring 35. Sara Groenewegen went 3-0 over the week pitching 25 innings allowing no runs, 14 hits, and striking out 35 batters. As she goes, so do the Gophers and right now she is doing very well in the circle. Minnesota plays North Dakota State in a doubleheader on Wednesday and then welcomes Purdue to Jane Sage Cowles Stadium over the weekend.
#6 – Florida State Seminoles (44-3-1 Overall, 21-0 ACC)
Florida State (#6 last week) had a successful weekend sweeping Louisville while also clinching the ACC Regular Season title. The first game was an 11-0 crushing of the Cardinals, which clinched the ACC title. The final two games were much closer and the Seminoles were able to pull out both wins. They won 4-3 in 10 innings on Sunday and 5-4 on Monday.
Florida State has easily been the best team in the ACC from the start of the season. They have been rewarded with the crown and will have a final series at home in ACC play against North Carolina.
#7 – Tennessee Volunteers (41-6 Overall, 13-4 SEC)
Tennessee (#10 last week) may have seen their win streak end at 20, but not before taking two of three from LSU on the road. They won 6-3 and 6-4 as they overturned deficits in both of those games. The final game was a tough 1-0 loss that saw the Vols lose on a walk-off home run in a game that neither team deserved to lose. Tennessee managed only one hit while LSU had just two.
Tennessee is a dark horse team going into the tournament and we will get a real good look at their potential the next two weeks starting with a three-game set at home versus Florida this weekend.
#8 – Washington Huskies (34-10 Overall, 8-7 Pac-12)
Washington (#11 last week) had an impressive week in Alabama winning one game at UAB and two at Alabama. The Huskies used strong pitching to win all three games as they allowed 13 hits over the three games and produced two shutouts. The Huskies appear to be hitting their best stride winning 8 of their last 10 including wins over UCLA, Oregon (twice), and Alabama (twice). They will be at California over the weekend.
#9– Oregon Ducks (38-6 Overall, 11-6 Pac-12)
Oregon (#7 last week) continued their slide losing two of three to Arizona on the road. All three games were competitive, but the Ducks could not come out on top beyond the final game. They lost 2-0 and 10-7 but won 4-3 in the final game after falling behind.
After opening 35-0, Oregon has stumbled going 3-6. Their last three Pac-12 series have resulted in 1-2 finishes each time. The Ducks are still a very good team but just stuck in a rut. They play Oregon State at home this weekend.
#10 – Utah Utes (30-9 Overall, 12-4 Pac-12)
Utah (#8 last week) had a very competitive weekend series at Arizona State winning two of three. All three games were decided by one run and in the seventh inning. The offense for Utah was excellent in the first two games despite the opening game loss. They tallied 15 runs on 19 hits and then won the final game 2-1 with only three hits. Bridget Castro hit the game-deciding home run in the top of the seventh.
Utah has shown the ability to win high scoring, low scoring, and close games. Utah has an odd week scheduled with Weber State on Wednesday day and then they do not play again until Tuesday, May 2 against Grand Canyon in a doubleheader.
#11 – Auburn Tigers (39-8 Overall, 12-6 SEC)
Auburn (#9 last week) had a tough time off the field but still managed to go 3-1. They started with a 7-3 win over Kennesaw State on Wednesday, but the off the field drama was about to start. Three players, Haley Fagan, Makayla Martin, and Brittany Maresette, were arrested on possession of marijuana and suspended indefinitely.
The Tigers responded with back-to-back 2-0 shutout wins over South Carolina on the road before dropping the final game 3-0. Kaylee Carlson threw the first complete-game shutout allowing four hits while Ashlee Swindle and Carlson combined to allow two hits in the second shutout win. The losses of Fagan and Martin will hurt Auburn, but there is still plenty of talent.
Auburn faces Alabama State on Wednesday and then plays three at home against Mississippi State over the weekend.
#12 – UCLA Bruins (33-12 Overall, 8-7 Pac-12)
UCLA (#12 last week) came back from a surprising series loss to Oregon State to sweep California. The Bruins rallied to win the first game after trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh. A two-run hit by Bubba Nickles tied the game and Gabrielle Maurice completed the comeback with a double to left field. Game two was a 3-1 win and the final game ended 8-1 for UCLA as Delaney Spaulding (3 for 4 and 4 RBIs) and Nickles (2 for 3 and 3 RBIs) led the offense. UCLA faces Cal State-Northridge on Wednesday and Stanford over the weekend.
#13– Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (36-6 Overall, 17-1 Sun Belt)
Louisiana-Lafayette (#14 last week) had an excellent week going 4-0 with a road win at Texas A&M and a sweep of Georgia State over the weekend. Louisiana held on for an 11-9 win over the Aggies after leading 11-2 following the third inning. Haley Hayden hit a grand slam and a three-run double while DJ Sanders had a home run.
Against Georgia State, Louisiana blitzed them with 40 runs while giving up 11. DJ Sanders had a great weekend going 4 for 4 with 10 runs scored, 7 RBIs, and drawing 7 walks. She hit three home runs as did Aleah Craighton and Haley Haden hit two home runs.
The nation’s best offense showed their ability against one of the best teams in Texas A&M. They face Coastal Carolina at home for a three-game set over the weekend.
#14 – Baylor Bears (37-9 Overall, 9-3 Big 12)
Baylor (#13 last week) went 2-2 last week after losing two of three at Oklahoma and defeating Lamar on Tuesday. The first two games versus the Sooners were one-run games. The final game was a 6-0 loss and they were overwhelmed early giving up 5 runs in the first two innings. The Bears were able to win 4-1 over Lamar with Maddison Kettler going 3 for 3 with an RBI. The Bears will be at home over the weekend against Oklahoma State in another matchup of top Big 12 squads.
#15 – James Madison Dukes (39-6 Overall, 12-2 Colonial)
James Madison (#16 last week) played just two games due to weather cancellations. They defeated UNC-Wilmington in their two games on Sunday 4-1 and 4-0. Game on was a Megan Good four-hit performance as she also drove in a run and Taylor Newton drove home the other three.
Game two saw the Dukes throw a combined two-hitter between Odicci Alexander and Megan Good. Both gave up on hit as Good doubled home one run and hit a two-run home run. JMU will travel to face North Carolina on Wednesday and then face Drexel at home over the weekend.
#16 – Alabama Crimson Tide (38-11 Overall, 10-7 SEC)
Alabama (#15 last week) went 2-2 with both losses coming at home to Washington. The Tide could not rally back from two runs in the seventh inning in game one. Game two saw Washington hit three home runs and shutout the Tide 3-0. The wins came against Southern Miss and Samford. Alabama will be at Ole Miss this weekend.
#17 – Michigan Wolverines (34-10-1 Overall, 14-3 Big 10)
Michigan (#19 last week) had a three-game set at Wisconsin and took two of three. Game one was their only loss and it was a tough loss. Megan Betsa allowed two hits over 10 innings and struck out 18, but it was not quite good enough. The final two games saw the offense come alive as they outscored the Badgers 18-2 with both games ending after five innings. Michigan faces Indiana at home over the weekend and Western Michigan on Tuesday.
#18 – Ole Miss Rebels (31-16 Overall, 6-12 SEC)
Ole Miss (#17 last week) went on the road to top-ranked Florida and it did not turn out well for the Rebels. To be fair, only two teams, Maryland and Auburn, have won in Gainesville. Ole Miss had a tough time getting anything going and it showed as they were held to 7 hits while being shut out in all three games. The competition gets only slightly easier for Ole Miss as they face Jacksonville State on Wednesday and Alabama over the weekend.
#19 – LSU Tigers (35-14 Overall, 9-9 SEC)
LSU (#18 last week) ran into one of the hottest teams in the nation in Tennessee and took one of three games. The Tigers had their chances against the Vols as they led in all three games, but squandered leads in the first two games. Still, the Tigers were competitive in all three games and remain a serious threat against any opponent they face. LSU will be at home for three games against Missouri this weekend.
#20 – Jacksonville State Gamecocks (34-9 Overall, 13-1 OVC)
Jacksonville State (#20 last week) played in two games against SIU-Edwardsville and won both of them. Their other two games were scheduled to be against Eastern Illinois but were rained out. Against SIU-Edwardsville, Jacksonville State won 5-3 and 2-1 as the Gamecocks won both games late. JSU still leads the Ohio Valley Conference and they have one last chance to get a major non-conference victory at Ole Miss on Wednesday. They will also play at Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky in doubleheaders over the weekend.
Knocking on the Door
There were no additions or subtractions from the top 20 this week. The teams below have some work to do to be one of the top twenty, but could make a jump over the new week or two (in alphabetical order):
Arkansas, Arizona State, BYU, California, Florida International, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Marshall, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio State, SIU-Edwardsville, and Texas State.
Below is the Week Seven Power Rankings table:
Photo courtesy of SECSports.com