EUGENE – Heading into its Pac-12 Conference opener this weekend in Corvallis, the University of Oregon softball team (18-4) was tabbed No. 15 and No. 17 in this week’s ESPN.com-USA Softball and NFCA-USA Today national polls published Tuesday.

The Ducks were among seven conference teams sighted in the top 16 overall – three of which earned top-five slots for the fifth straight week.

Glancing at this week's polls, 10 Duck foes this season were ranked top 25 (USA Softball/ NFCA) – No. 1/1 Alabama, No. 2/2 California, No. 3/3 Washington, No. 6/5 Arizona State, No. 9/9 Stanford, No. 10/10 Missouri, No. 13/14 Arizona, No. 1815 Baylor, No. 16/16 UCLA and No. 25/24 North Carolina.

Four other Duck opponents –Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma State and Oregon State - received votes in at least one poll.

For the first time this season, Alabama stood first in both the USA Softball and NFCA editions after the NFCA had picked them No. 1 the previous three weeks. No. 4/4 Florida and No. 5/6 Texas rounded out the top five, and the Longhorns made their first appearance in the top five this season.

For comparison's sake, a complete list of the Pac-12's teams rankings from last week follows: No. 1/2 California, No. 3/3 Washington, No. 5/5 Arizona State, No. 9/9 Stanford, No. 13/13 Arizona and No. 16/16 UCLA.

Oregon has now been ranked for 34 straight editions by USA Softball and 27 straight polls by the NFCA. UO's week-by-week USA SB/ NFCA rankings in that stretch follow: 2012 - Preseason 11th/16th, 2/14 19/19, 2/21 21/19, 2/28 18/18, 3/6 15/18; 3/13 14/17; 3/20 15/17. 2011 - Preseason 14th/14th, 2/15 14th/14th, 2/22 13th/13th, 3/2 13th/13th, 3/9 15th/14th, 3/16 16th/15th, 3/23 15th/16th, 3/30 14th/15th, 4/5 15th/16th, 4/12 17th/17th, 4/19 19th/21th, 4/26 16th/19th, 5/3 12th/17th, 5/10 11th/14th, 5/17 11th/12th, 6/15 14th/15th. 2010 - 3/8 25th/-; 3/15 25th/-; 3/22 21st/-; 3/29 21st/ RV; 4/5 17th/ RV; 4/12 17th/23rd; 4/19 18th/20th; 4/26 19th/20th; 5/3 20th/22nd; 5/5 20th/22nd; 5/10 21st-t/22nd; 6/15 14th/14th.

More information on the USA Softball and NFCA polls are available at the http://www.usasoftball.com/news.asp?uid=5398 and http://nfca.org/top25/index.php?cat_id=1 URL addresses.

Last Tuesday in its homer opener vs. undefeated and No. 1 Alabama, the Ducks were tied 1-1 with the returning World Series advancers until the Tide struck a four-run sixth inning that included two unearned runs.

In the 5-1 loss that ended UO's nine-game win streak, junior Jessica Moore (12-4) tied her career high and UO’s third-best strikeout mark ever (14). En route to her 13th complete game of the season, the All-Pac-12 returnee limited the Tide – who ranked 14th nationally in hitting - to only four hits.

At the plate, freshman Hannah Melick knocked in UO’s run on a pinch-hit single in the fifth inning and leads Duck pinch-hitters this season in batting (.500), hits (4) and RBI (7).

This week, the Ducks look ahead to their Pac-12 Conference opener at Oregon State (21-7) on March 24-26. Saturday’s and Sunday’s games will start at 3 p.m., and Monday’s finale is set for noon.

More game and ticket information in the Civil War series sponsored by PacificSource Health Plans and Northwest Ford Dealers,is available at the www.OSUbeavers.com website.

Afterwards, the Ducks’ return home to host returning national champion and No. 5 Arizona State, Fri.-Sun., March 30-April 1.


NATIONAL POLLS (3/20) – Poll #6
 
ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25

http://www.usasoftball.com/folders.asp?uid=3208
Rk    Team    Record    Totals    Prev
*1.    Alabama (15)    25-0    494    2
*2.    California (5)    25-1    480    1
*3.    Washington    27-1    462    3
4.    Florida    26-2    432    4
5.    Texas    23-2    398    6
*6.    Arizona State    28-3    395    5
7.    Oklahoma    24-3    385    7
8.    Louisiana-Lafayette    26-0    372    11
*9.    Stanford    25-3    330    T9
*10.    Missouri    20-3    310    12
11.    Tennessee    19-6    298    T9
12.    Georgia    23-5    275    8
*13.    Arizona    18-4    252    13
14.    Louisville    22-0    248    15
> 15.    Oregon    18-4    228    14
*16.    UCLA    20-6    186    T16
17.    Hawaii    24-2    175    T19
*18.    Baylor    21-6    167    T16
19.    Texas A&M    20-8    129    21
20.    Michigan    17-9    115    T19
21.    Auburn    23-6    110    18
22.    South Florida    24-5    97    23
23.    Florida State    23-5    57    22
24.    Syracuse    17-8    22    RV
*25.    North Carolina    21-8    21    RV

Others receiving votes: DePaul (20); *Oregon State (19); LSU (11); Tulsa (3); Georgia Tech (2); Lipscomb (2); *Nebraska (2); *New Mexico (2); Oklahoma State (1)

New to Poll: Syracuse (RV); North Carolina (RV)

Dropped Out: New Mexico (24); DePaul (25)

Parenthesis denotes first place votes.

* Denotes Duck opponents in 2012


 
USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll 

http://nfca.org/top25/index.php?cat_id=1
Rk    Team    Record    Totals    Prev
*1    Alabama (28)    25-0    746    1
*2    California (2)    25-1    712    2
*3    Washington    27-1    692    3
4    Florida    26-2    654    4
*5    Arizona St.    28-3    597    5
6    Texas    23-2    588    6
7    Oklahoma    24-3    579    7
8    La.-Lafayette    26-0    565    10
*9    Stanford    25-3    504    9
*10    Missouri    20-3    463    12
11    Georgia    23-5    439    8
12    Tennessee    19-6    403    11
13    Louisville    22-0    393    14
*14    Arizona    18-4    378    13
*15    Baylor    21-6    307    15
*16    UCLA    20-6    302    16
> 17    Oregon    18-4    271    17
17    Hawai‘i     24-2    271    18
19    Texas A&M    20-8    177    22
20    Michigan    17-9    171    19
21    Auburn    23-6    157    20
22    USF    24-5    122    24
23    Florida St.    23-5    112    21
*24    North Carolina    21-8    43    RV
25    DePaul    15-7    36    24

Others Receiving Votes: *Oregon St. 22, Georgia Tech 11, *New Mexico 10, LSU 7, S.C. Upstate 7, Syracuse 5, Tulsa 3, McNeese St. 2, Kansas 1

Dropped Out: No. 23 New Mexico


-The USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by NCAA Division I head coaches representing each conference. First-place votes are in parentheses.

* Denotes Duck opponents in 2012