College softball's Clearwater Invitational showcases top teams
The GIST: There might only be one weekend in the season’s scorebook, but one of collegiate softball’s biggest tournaments — the legendary Clearwater Invitational — takes the field tomorrow. Sixteen teams (10 of them ranked!) will embrace their inner Florida Women for four days chock-full of Top 25 matchups. Break in that mitt.
The update: Week 1 was all gas, no brakes. Some top squads suffered shocking upsets, like then–No. 3 Oklahoma State and then–No. 7 Alabama, but others remained elite. Case in point? The 6-0 No. 2 UCLA Bruins and Maya “The Better” Brady, who strung together hits in 10 straight at-bats and leads the NCAA in total bases (25) and home runs (4).
The contenders: Brady and the Bruins are poised to take Clearwater by storm, but plenty of other ranked squads could give them a run for their money. Oklahoma State and Alabama, now ranked Nos. 5 and 12, respectively, will be hungry for redemption wins, and undefeated No. 4 Arkansas has outscored opponents 51–14 over their five games.
- Other Top 10 contenders include one-loss No. 7 Florida State and undefeated No. 9 Virginia Tech, both of whom have registered mercy-rule wins already this season. This tourney? Stacked.
What to watch: Slide in on the SEC Network to catch Alabama vs. No. 19 Duke tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET before Florida State takes on No. 15 Arizona at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Then eight-clap for the day one closer, UCLA, as they face Nebraska at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+. Juice those bases.