Tide In NCAA Baseball Regional

A number of prognosticators can take bows. Tallahassee was a popular pick as destination, and arrival as a number three seed was also a general consensus. And when the NCAA Baseball Committee revealed its at-large selections Monday, there was Alabama, number three seed, headed to Tallahassee.

Joining Alabama (33-25) in the four-team field are number one seed Florida State (41-16), number two seed CFU (38-21), and number four seed Bethune-Cookman (35-22). The Seminoles are the number five national seed in this year's tournament. The winner of the Tallahassee Regional will play the winner of the College Station (Texas A&M) Regional in the Super Regionals next week.

A number three seed is much better than a number four. It means not playing the home-standing number one seed in the first game, and also means likely having the support of the home team in the two vs. three game. But that doesn't mean an easy time since the Tide will be playing a team that has already defeated Bama this year.

The double-elimination regional begins Friday at 11 a.m. (CDT), when Alabama plays Central Florida at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. Florida State plays Bethune-Cookman on Friday at 5 p.m. (CDT).

"It feels good to see our name up there, but it's a really tough regional," Crimson Tide Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We played Central Florida earlier in the season, so we know they have a really good club, and Florida State is a tough place to play. We're excited to be in and we have a lot of guys back from last year that played extremely well and won a regional. I think we're going to lean on that. We're excited to still be playing and this team deserves to continue on."

Alabama is making its 22nd NCAA Regional appearance, its fourth straight, and its 14th in the last 17 years. The Crimson Tide was the number three seed in the Conway Regional in 2008, the number two seed in the Clemson Regional in 2009, and the number two seed in the Atlanta Regional last year.

Gaspard, in his second year as Alabama head coach, is making his third NCAA Regional appearance and second straight with the Crimson Tide. In Gaspard's first season at The Capstone, he led the Tide to an Atlanta Regional Championship, defeating the number eight overall seed Georgia Tech. Gaspard also took Northwestern (La.) State to the 2005 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, where the Demons posted a 1-2 record with a win over Marist.

Alabama and Central Florida will be meeting for the 11th time overall and second time this season. The Knights defeated the Crimson Tide, 12-4, in the South Alabama Classic on Feb. 27 to improve to 6-4 all-time against Alabama.

Alabama is 1-6 all-time versus Florida State, but have not played the Seminoles since the 1991 Atlantic Regional. That year, FSU defeated the Crimson Tide twice in the regional, with the second win coming in the championship game by a final score of 6-5.

The Crimson Tide has yet to take the field against Bethune-Cookman in baseball. Bethune-Cookman made the field of 64 with an automatic bid by winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championship.

Alabama is one of seven SEC teams to receive an NCAA Tournament bid. Florida is the No. 2 seed overall, while South Carolina is the No. 4 national seed and Vanderbilt collected the No. 6 overall seed in the tournament.

Alabama posted an 11-15 record against teams in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The list of opponents to make this year's tournament field includes Alcorn State (3-0), Arkansas (3-2), Central Florida (0-1), Florida (0-4), Georgia (0-1), Mississippi State (2-1), South Carolina (1-2), Southern Mississippi (1-1), Troy (1-0), and Vanderbilt (0-3).

Fans wanting to purchase tickets for the NCAA Baseball Regional may purchase tickets by calling the Florida State Athletic Ticket Office at (850)-644-1830. The Florida State Athletic Ticket Office hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday through Friday.

All Session Tickets for the NCAA Baseball Regional at Tallahassee, Fla., are on sale at www.seminoles.com. Only all-session tickets will be sold until Thursday night. All-session booklets are $50 for reserved seats, and $35 for general admission bleacher seats.

Individual session tickets for the first two Friday sessions will go on sale at 5 p.m. CDT on Thursday on www.seminoles.com. Tickets for additional individual sessions will go on sale the evening prior the session once teams are determined.

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