Tide ready for start of Regional play

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The University of Alabama baseball team held a 90-minute workout at Olsen Field Thursday in preparation for opening play in NCAA Regionals against Houston on Friday.

"We are very happy to be in College Station," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "I came here in 1995 with Alabama for a tournament, and in 1989 with LSU, so this is my third visit. It is great to be in a Regional and we are playing well.

"It's a great facility here. They've done a wonderful job preparing the surface and our guys are looking forward playing tomorrow and the following two days."

Alabama (37-22) received the Southeastern Conference's automatic bid after going 4-0 in the league tournament, posting wins over No. 14 South Carolina, two over No. 13 Auburn and a 10-3 win over No. 8 LSU this past weekend to punch their ticket to the NCAAs. This marks the 16th NCAA appearance for Alabama.

Houston (32-27) is making its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance as an at-large team out of Conference USA. The Cougars went 1-2 in last weekend's C-USA Tournament in New Orleans.

"I am familiar with Houston, and their three outstanding pitchers," Wells said. "If you can pitch you can win."

"Everyone on the team is still feeling really confident after last week," Alabama pitcher Brent Carter said. "We had great support from the crowd at the SEC tournament but it wasn't just that. Our confidence level is still high."

"Before the SEC tournament Coach Wells got us together and told us that this was a new season," Alabama right fielder Beau Hearod said. "We really took that to heart and finally pulled our hitting, pitching and fielding together all at once."

First pitch for Alabama versus Houston is set for 2 p.m. CT on Friday.

Texas A&M Head Coach Mark Johnson, whose team is hosting the Regional, commented on the Alabama squad. "I was impressed with their athletes. You always fear a team that won their tourney. You play some teams when they are hot and you have your hands full. They are a frightening team because they have gotten hot at the right time."

Tide NCAA Tournament History Notes

The Alabama Crimson Tide is making its 17th NCAA Tournament appearance at the 2003 College Station (Texas) Regional hosted by the Texas A&M Aggies.
  • This is the school's eighth NCAA Regional appearance in nine years under coach Jim Wells.
  • The 2003 College Station Regional opener against the Houston Cougars will mark the Crimson Tide's 60th all-time NCAA Regional game, dating back to the District III Playoffs in the late 1940s.
  • Alabama enters the 2003 NCAA Regionals looking for its 40th all-time NCAA Tournament win. UA has a current post-season record of 39-20 (.661) in its previous 59 NCAA Regional games.
  • Alabama is 14-2 (.875) in NCAA Regional play at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, winning titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999.
  • The Crimson Tide is 9-6 (.600) in regional play on the road (not including neutral sites) and has advanced to Omaha on the road only once, winning the 1983 South Regional at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
  • Alabama coach Jim Wells is just 1-3 (.250) in NCAA Regional play against the host team.
  • The Crimson Tide is 2-5 (.286) against the host team in NCAA Regional play.

All-Time NCAA Regional Record: 39-20 (.661)

All-Time NCAA Super Regional Record: 2-0 (1.000)

NCAA Regional Championships: 5 (1950, 1983, 1996, 1997 & 1999)

All-Time NCAA Tournament Records

Since its first trip to the NCAA District III Playoffs in 1947, Alabama has 16th NCAA post-season tournaments.
  • The 2003 NCAA College Station Regional will be UA's first-ever post season tournament in the state of Texas.
  • Houston, Texas A&M and Oral Roberts will all be first-time NCAA Regional opponents for the Crimson Tide.
  • Entering this year's post-season, Alabama has played 30 different teams in NCAA Regional play.

Jim Wells NCAA Tourney History

The 2003 NCAA College Station Regional is Coach Jim Wells' 10th NCAA Regional appearance, including eight with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
  • Alabama coach Jim Wells has compiled a 23-8 (.742) record in NCAA Regional play since 1995.
  • Overall, Wells is 24-12 (.667) in NCAA Regional play, including two post-season trips with the Northwestern State Demons.

NOTE: Barry Allen of UA Media Relations also contributed to this report.

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