NCAA Softball Top Ten Rankings Revealed

Florida , Michigan, Oklahoma go 1, 2, 3 in NCAA softball rankings.

The NCAA Division I softball selection committee released their first-ever in-season rankings. These rankings come ahead of the announcement of the official softball bracket, scheduled to be released on May 15th at 10:00pm on ESPNU. The committee hopes the top ten ranking will increase interest in the sport and create some excitement as the regular season comes to a close.

Here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy teams and news surrounding them:

The Florida Gators are still the heavy favorites.

Even with a bump in the road here or there, the Florida Gators still remain in a class of their own. Despite the Gators 6-4 loss against No. 22 Texas A&M on Sunday in a game where Florida allowed the most runs in a game this season, they’ll very likely still be sitting atop the national rankings at the close of the season. They still have a 20-4 record against teams in the RPI top 25; compare that with the fact that no other team has more than 13 wins against top 25 RPI ranked teams. They’re still nearly one full run per game better in ERA than almost any other team in the country. They’re still the proverbial team to beat, when it’s all said and done.

James Madison On Thin Ice

James Madison University has been looking to repeat their appearance in the NCAA tournament from a year ago, and it looked like they got a bit of good news this past weekend. The committee ranked the Dukes #6 overall, despite their low strength of schedule as a mid-major school, placing greater emphasis on the team’s body of work to date.

However, that may have changed this past weekend, when the Dukes lost a 15-inning affair to Elon University. The Dukes blew three leads in extra innings in that game, giving them a crippling loss to a team outside the RPI top 100. They’re the only team in the top 10 with such a loss. Given that other schools like Washington, Florida State, Missouri, and Tennessee won in convincing fashion this weekend, that badly damages the postseason aspirations for the mid-major Dukes.

University of Michigan holds strong.

The University of Michigan Wolverines held on to their #2 ranking this weekend, by taking both games in a doubleheader against Big Ten rival Penn State.

In the first game, the Wolverines recorded two grand slams as part of the 12 runs they scored in the five inning victory.  They followed up that effort in the second game by piling up nine runs in the first three innings, then scoring three more in the top of the fourth to race out to another 12-0 lead. The Nittany Lions managed to finally get on the board with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, but couldn’t overcome the near insurmountable odds facing them. The game ended with a final score of 13-3.

Senior centerfielder Sierra Lawrence was named Big 10 Conference Player of the week, due in large part to her performance against Penn State (and her performance against Central Michigan before that). She was a perfect 5-for-5 with two walks against the Nittany Lions, and had the go-ahead two-run homer in the first game.

NCAA Division 1 Softball Ranking (Records include games played through April 24.)

1. Florida (45-3)
2. Michigan (37-4)
3. Oklahoma (38-7)
4. Auburn (45-5)
5. Alabama (41-9)
6. James Madison (40-3)
7. Oregon (35-6)
8. Florida State (38-5)
9. Washington (30-10)
10. La.-Lafayette (35-6)

Lauren von Bernuth