WCWS Champ Florida finishes season at No. 1 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll
After claiming their program’s first national championship at the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, Florida was voted No. 1 in the final ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll of the 2014 season, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The Gators (55-12, 15-9 SEC), who held a top-10 spot in every regular season poll this year and spent five weeks at No. 1, swept all 20 first-place votes after a 10-1 performance in the post season, including a 5-0 campaign in Oklahoma City during the NCAA WCWS.
To advance to Oklahoma City, Florida first outscored its regional opponents 29-0 to advance to the Super Regional round. The Gators then took two-of-three from then-No. 9 Washington in the Supers, including 9-0 (five innings) and 8-0 (five innings) run rules to earn a coveted spot in the WCWS.
The Gators started their week in Oklahoma City with a commanding 11-0 (five inning) win over then-No. 17 Baylor (49-16, 13-5 Big 12) before posting a 4-0, five-inning shutout over then-No. 1 Oregon (56-9-1, 20-3-1 Pac-12). In a Sunday rematch with Baylor, the Gators held on for a 6-3 win, punching their ticket to the Championship Series versus conference rivals, then-No. 5 Alabama (53-13, 19-5 SEC). It took Florida just two games to secure their first ever WCWS Championship as they knocked off the Crimson Tide 5-0 in game one and 6-3 in game two.
Alabama finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation. En route to the final round in Oklahoma City, the Tide advanced out of the Regionals by beating SIU-Edwardsville 13-3 (five innings), then-No. 24 USC Upstate 7-1 and then-No. 21 South Alabama 3-0. Alabama then faced then-No. 20 Nebraska (44-18, 18-5 Big 10) in the Super Regionals and squeaked out back-to-back one-run victories, 6-5 (12 innings) and 2-1, to earn a trip back to Oklahoma City. At the NCAA WCWS, Alabama topped then-No. 10 and defending National Champs Oklahoma (51-13, 16-2 Big 12) 6-2 on day one and then took consecutive 2-0 wins over then-No. 14 Kentucky (50-19, 13-11 SEC) and then-No. 1 Oregon to lock up a spot in the NCAA WCWS Championship Series.
Oregon finished the season at No. 3 following a WCWS run that included a 3-0 win against then-No. 3 Florida State (55-9, 24-3 ACC), the 4-0 loss against Florida and a 4-2 win over Oklahoma before being eliminated from the tournament by Alabama in a 2-0 loss.
Oklahoma finished the season at No. 4 after a 1-2 performance at the WCWS in which the Sooners fell to Alabama 2-6, defeated Louisiana-Lafayette (49-10-1, 19-1 Sun Belt) 3-1 and were eventually eliminated from the tournament, falling to Oregon 2-4.
Rounding out the Top 10 teams of the 2014 season are No. 5 Baylor, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 7 Florida State , No. 8 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 9 UCLA (50-11, 19-5 Pac-12) and No. 10 Michigan (47-15, 18-5 Big 10).
USC Upstate (46-9, 22-2 A-Sun) fell out of the Top 25 this week following their elimination from the NCAA tournament during their Regional appearance. With their exit, DePaul (44-11, 18-1 Big East) entered the poll at No. 25 joined after taking Kentucky to an if-necessary game in their Regional contest.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is voted on by coaching representatives of 10 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA/USA Softball Regions as well as members of the national and local media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.