College softball continues to heat up, as we’re now into the month of April. Here’s this week’s edition of the Top 25.
1. Oklahoma – It took only one bit of drama for the Sooners to pull out a three-game sweep of their chief rivals. In the middle game of a three-game set, they had to rally back from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, and that they did. The other two were routs, helping to extend their winning streak to 25 games.
2. UCLA – UCLA probably picked up the most impressive series win over the past week. It swept a Stanford team that arrived in Westwood as a force. The Bruins allowed only one run all weekend, winning by 4-0, 2-1 and 3-0 counts.
3. Oklahoma State – The Cowgirls grabbed a pair of wins at Incarnate Word, plus their extra inning win at Tulsa earlier in the week, but were tripped up by Wichita State Tuesday. That halted their lengthy winning streak at 14 and drops them a spot. Plus, it starts off an all-Kansas week on the wrong note, as Oklahoma State heads to Lawrence to take on Kansas next.
4. Tennessee – It’s a bit unfair to win an SEC series and drop a spot in the rankings. It’s especially unfair when that series is on the road. But that just speaks to the impressiveness of UCLA’s sweep of Stanford. The Volunteers remain a very dangerous team after taking two of three from Texas A&M.
5. Clemson – Clemson just isn’t messing around in 2023. Valerie Cagle is dominating, and the rest of the Tigers are jumping on the wagon for a 36-1 record so far. The latest team they dispatched was the Boston College Eagles, as they’ve now won 22 in a row following their lone loss to Tennessee.
6. Florida State – The Seminoles kept pace by sweeping Georgia Tech over the weekend. They’re now 29-7. And they’re now set for an enormous series with Clemson, where they’ll head for three starting on Thursday.
7. Georgia – The Bulldogs’ winning streak, like some others already mentioned, reached double digits at 11 straight. That’s before Kentucky took the series finale to salvage the two’s meetings in Athens. Next up is a date with the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
8. Arkansas – Speaking of those Razorbacks, here they are. The Hogs have found a way to right the ship, and the latest example of that is a sweep of Mississippi State in Starkville. They’re very much rounding into form for the meat portion of the slate.
9. Stanford – This is the first very tough weekend the Cardinal have endured. The offense was just nonexistent against Megan Faraimo and a UCLA staff that proved to be magnificent. A tough three-game series with Arizona now looms.
10. LSU – The Tigers jump back into the Top 10 after cruising through the Purple & Gold Challenge against the likes of BYU, Louisiana Tech and N.C. State. That ran their winning streak to seven. Next up is a home series with Missouri.
11. Washington – Twice now in their first four Pac-12 series, the Huskies have won the first game, only to drop the next two and lose the series. They won 4-2 at Arizona State, then followed it up with 3-1 and 5-2 setbacks. California comes to town starting on Thursday.
12. Duke – Duke settled for a series win over Virginia Tech, but that’s hardly settling, considering it came on the road in Blacksburg. A 13-8 loss Sunday was the difference between a sweep and just two of three. The Blue Devils will dip out of conference play to host UNC Wilmington in the midweek, then Elon over the weekend, with one of those at home and one away.
13. Texas – It’s getting hard to dock teams when they lose to the team that’s got a No. 1 next to its name. So, the Longhorns are down just three spots despite getting swept at Oklahoma. It was competitive in the 4-3 decision in game two, but not otherwise.
14. Texas A&M – The interesting season continues for the Aggies. Up and down and up down they go, and up and down they go. But this was a pretty dang competitive series against Tennessee, as Texas A&M dropped the opener in extras, won the second contest and then lost in the rubber match. The Aggies will host Mississippi State in the weekend ahead.
15. Kentucky – It wasn’t the weekend the Wildcats were looking for, that’s for sure, even though they did pick up one triumph. They dropped this series at Georgia and will look to get back on track at Ole Miss over Easter weekend.
16. Oregon – The Ducks did pick up their first series win in league play. But they wanted to get greedy and were unable to do so, shut out 4-0 in the finale at the hands of their rivals in Oregon State. They’ll step out of conference to host Lindenwood this weekend.
17. Virginia Tech – The Hokies have looked very strong at times, but this was not one of those times. They needed that five-run win on Sunday to even salvage the series. But Duke is really, really good, so it won’t hurt that much.
18. Alabama – Alabama shut out Missouri 4-0 each of the first two contests. However, Missouri dealt it a run-rule in the finale. Still, you have to be happy any time you win a series in the conference, and that’s what the Crimson Tide were able to do.
19. Wichita State – The Shockers notched their second Top 10 win of the season and the highest ranked victory in school history when they defeated No. 2 Oklahoma State Tuesday night. They also previously went to Tampa and swept South Florida, one of those a 14-0 shellacking, plus defeated Omaha in the midweek. They’re now 31-7, victors of seven straight.
20. Northwestern – Northwestern’s 10-game winning streak came to a close in Iowa City. But this series, a 2-1 win, could easily have gone the other way, if not for a thrilling 8-3 win for the Wildcats Friday. They also grabbed game two, before falling 6-5 Sunday.
21. Utah – Utah hadn’t had a bad weekend yet in Pac-12 play until these last few days. After winning the opener, it dropped the next two at California. It falls to 22-7 overall and 6-3 in Pac-12 play, next welcoming Arizona State to town.
22. Arizona – Following a weekend where the Wildcats’ offense went surprisingly nonexistent, they got back to their normal explosive selves. In the Bear Down Fiesta against Georgetown and San Diego, all four wins, they racked up 43 runs. They scored in double digits in three of those four.
23. Florida – This was not a good series loss for the Gators. Yes, South Carolina is 26-9. But a team that’s challenging for a trip to the Women’s College World Series wins this set. Florida did not and now must respond against Auburn.
24. Indiana – It’s time to throw the Hoosiers into the rankings. They have won 25 straight games, and if it weren’t for Oklahoma, it’d hold sole claim to the longest winning streak in the country. Indiana was once 4-9, and is now 20 games over .500 after denying Ohio State any tallies in the win column and dispatching Western Kentucky.
25. California – It’s also time to throw the Bears in, in favor of the other Bears from Baylor, who dropped one to Kansas. The West Coast Bears were right on the cusp, and their series win over Utah is impressive. They’re now 24-9-1.
Just missed: Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Louisiana, Maryland