Pac-12 softball in the polls: Feb. 18
Six Pac-12 teams swept their respective tournament slates over the weekend, resulting in four Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 10 and six in the top 14. Here's how the Pac-12 fared in the latest release of the USA Today/NFCA Division I softball poll:
The No. 3 Huskies put on an offensive clinic at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe over the weekend, outscoring opponents 52-2 in four games. Washington (10-0) capped the weekend with a 3-1 victory over defending national champion Oklahoma on Sunday. Husky pitcher Bryana Walker (6-0) struck out a career-high 14 batters and notched her fourth complete game of the young 2014 season.
The No. 4 Sun Devils also swept their Littlewood Classic opponents, including a resounding defeat of the No. 18 Sooners. Arizona State pitcher Dallas Escobedo (4-0) came within one hit of throwing a no-hitter against OU before relinquishing a hit in the top of the seventh. Escobedo finished the game with 12 strikeouts.
Oregon jumped four spots to No. 6 and looked to be fully recovered from the season-opening loss to Cal Poly. Since then, the Ducks have won nine straight, including the past five in the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The Ducks run-ruled its opponent in three games but needed extra innings to overcome UNLV 3-1 in a marathon 10-inning matchup.
The No. 8 Bruins entered the top 10 this week, also gaining four spots. UCLA hosted the Cathy Winsberg Memorial Tournament over the weekend and outscored its four opponents 30-3 in six games.
Keeping with the current trend, Stanford swept its tournament and jumped four spots in the polls to No. 13. The Nike Invitational held at Stanford saw the Cardinal defeat Cal Poly and Bradley twice over the weekend while the Pacific Tigers came up just short of the upset on Sunday, scoring four runs in the top of the seventh before losing 11-9.
The No. 14 Arizona Wildcats were the biggest movers in this week's poll. The ‘Cats jumped 10 spots after their big weekend in which they surrendered only one run over six games in the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson. The big bats for Arizona registered 39 runs this past weekend, including 14 home runs. In nine games the Wildcats have a blistering 0.41 ERA and have pitched seven shutouts while only allowing three hits.