Jan. 31, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY - After claiming their program's first national championship at the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, Alabama was voted No. 1 in the final ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll of the 2012 season, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. The Crimson Tide (60-8, 26-5 SEC) swept all 20 first-place votes after a 10-1 performance in the post season, including a 5-1 campaign in Oklahoma City, to earn the Southeastern Conference (SEC) their first national championship title. Alabama took the No. 1 spot from California (58-7, 21-3 Pac-12) for the second time this season after the Golden Bears had claimed the top spot in 13 regular season polls this year.
To advance to Oklahoma City, Alabama defeated Tennessee-Martin 5-1 and added two additional wins to their record following their 1-0 and 6-0 victories over South Alabama. Next, the Crimson Tide eliminated then-No. 19 Michigan (42-17, 18-5 Big 10) 4-1 and 4-3 in the Super Regionals held in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide started their week in Oklahoma City with a 5-3 win over SEC rival, then-No. 5, Tennessee (52-14, 23-7 SEC) and a 2-1 win over defending National Champion and then-No. 2 Arizona State before facing the No. 1 overall seed California. Alabama collected three home runs and scored in every inning but the first to down top-seeded California 5-2, earning them their first trip to the Championship Series of the WCWS. In the Championship Series, Alabama earned their first post-season loss at the hands of then-No. 4 Oklahoma by a score of 4-1. The Tide bounced back, however, and defeated the Sooners 8-6 to force an if-necessary game to determine the new National Champion. Two rain delays later, the Crimson Tide won the best-of-three series and defeated Oklahoma 5-4. With the win, Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) finished the season with 42 wins, an amount which currently leads the NCAA, and earned the title of Most Outstanding Player of the WCWS.
Oklahoma (54-10, 16-5 Big 12) finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation. En route to the final round in Oklahoma City, the Sooners advanced out of the Regionals by beating Lehigh 19-3 (5 innings), then-No. 25 Tulsa 7-1 and then-No. 24 Oregon State 6-0. The Sooners then faced then-No. 15 Arizona for the second-consecutive year in the Super Regionals, and ousted the Wildcats 6-0 and 7-1 to earn a trip to Oklahoma City. At the WCWS, Oklahoma topped then-No. 22 South Florida 5-1, then-No. 1 California 3-0 and then No. 2 Arizona 5-3 to earn a trip to the WCWS Championship Series for the second time in program history.
California finished the season at No. 3 after being eliminated from the WCWS by Alabama, following a 5-3 win against LSU, a 3-0 loss against Oklahoma and a 6-3 win against then-No. 12 Oregon. Arizona State (53-11, 18-4 Pac-12) fell to No. 4 after a 2-2 performance in which the Sun Devils collected an early 3-1 win against Pac-12 rival Oregon before falling to Alabama 2-1. Arizona State survived elimination by topping LSU 6-0 before ending their season with the 5-3 loss to Oklahoma.
Rounding out the Top 10 teams of the 2012 season are No. 5 Oregon (45-18, 13-9 Pac-12), No. 6 LSU (40-25, 15-13 SEC), No. 7 Tennessee (52-14, 23-7 SEC), No. 8 South Florida (50-14, 17-5 Big East), No. 9 Louisiana-Lafayette (53-6, 21-3 Sun Belt) and No. 10 Georgia (45-17, 18-12 SEC). All of the Top 8 teams competed at the WCWS while Louisiana-Lafayette lost in Super Regionals to Arizona State and Georgia lost in the Supers to Tennessee.
Outside of the Top 10, Florida (48-13, 23-8 SEC) experienced its lowest ranking of the year, falling from the No. 6 spot to No. 16. The Gators were eliminated from the post season at the Gainesville, Fla. Regional after a 2-1 loss at the hands of Florida Gulf Coast University and a 1-0 loss to South Florida, which eliminated the Gators from the NCAA tournament.
The Gators were not the only highly ranked team to not make it to Oklahoma City. Then-No. 7 Louisville (55-5, 20-2 Big East) was eliminated from their own Regional by Michigan while then-No. 8 Texas (47-13, 16-8 Big 12) and then-No. 9 Missouri (47-14, 17-7 Big 12) were both eliminated from their own Super Regionals. The No. 12 Longhorns were eliminated by Oregon while No. 11 Missouri fell twice to LSU.
Oregon State (36-23, 9-14 Pac-12), Texas Tech (41-17, 13-10 Big 12) and Tulsa (42-14, 19-5 Conference USA) fell out of the Top 25 this week following their eliminations from the NCAA tournament at their respective Regionals. With their exits, LSU re-entered the poll at No. 6, Hofstra (42-15, 19-0 CAA) entered the poll for the first time this season at No. 17 and Syracuse re-entered the poll at No. 24.
About ASA The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 200,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men's, Women's, Junior Boys' and Junior Girls' National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women's National Team is one of only two women's sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed five World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.
ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 June 12, 2012 -- Final (May 14 - June 6, 2012
Parenthesis denotes first place votes.
Dropped Out: -Texas Tech (23); Oregon State (24); Tulsa (25) New to Poll: - LSU (RV); Hofstra (-); Syracuse (RV)
Others receiving votes: Texas Tech (35); Oregon State (34); Baylor (16); Georgia Tech (13); Notre Dame (11); San Diego State (10); Virginia Tech (9); Arkansas (7); Northwestern (6); Tulsa (6); Kentucky (5); BYU (4); Texas State (4); South Alabama (4); UMASS (1).