Alabama retained its top five ranking in the latest polls, third in the USA Today/NFCA poll and dropping a spot to fifth in the ESPN.com ranking.
The Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy has been No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA poll since the preseason but dropped one spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll from No. 4 to No. 5. In the latter poll, a pair of wins by Michigan over Florida State last weekend allowed the Wolverines to jump all the way from No. 7 to No. 4.
Not that this No. 4 vs. No. 5 is a big issue, but this week Alabama makes its first appearance in Rhoads Stadium hosting the Easton Bama Bash. And among the Crimson Tide opponents is Michigan. Twice.
Bama opens play on Friday facing Michigan (4 p.m. CST) and James Madison (6 p.m.). The Tide will face the Wolverines (1:30 p.m.) and the Dukes (4 p.m.) again on Saturday before closing out the weekend on Sunday against Lipscomb (1:30 p.m.).
Alabama is now 11-1. Last week, Alabama went 5-1, defeating Samford in Birmingham on Wednesday before heading to California and winning four of its five games at the Stanford Nike Invitational. Alabama suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday against Stanford but rebounded Sunday as freshman Alexis Osorio threw a no-hitter in the 10-0 win over Pacific. For her outstanding play at the plate, junior Haylie McCleney was named the SEC Player of the Week.
All nine ranked SEC teams from the first two polls remain in the top 25 this week: Florida (1/1), Alabama (3/5), Kentucky (11/9), Georgia (8/7), Tennessee (10/13), LSU (14/15), Auburn (16/17), Missouri (18/18) and Texas A&M (23/22). South Carolina and Mississippi State are also receiving votes in both polls.
A Kentucky loss to Kennesaw State dropped them out of the top 10 in the coaches’ poll, allowing SEC rival Tennessee to slide into the top 10. Arizona is also making its first top 10 appearance of the season, moving into No. 10 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.