Tide Softball Hosts NCAA Regional

The Alabama softball team could not have had a better season than in 2012 when the Crimson Tide won the Southeastern Conference regular season and tournament titles, took the NCAA Regional and Super Regional championships, and then capped it off with one of the most exciting and memorable championships in Women's College World Series history.

But that was then. This year as Alabama struggled through the SEC season and was eliminated in the second round of the SEC Tournament, there was a question as to whether the Crimson Tide – the pre-season No. 1 choice – would be a high enough seed to host an NCAA Regional. Sunday evening, that question was answered in the positive.

The Alabama softball team earned the No. 10 national seed and the top seed in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional.

The Crimson Tide (42-13) will open regional play at 6 p.m. CDT Friday at Rhoads Stadium against Jacksonville State (30-25). The opening game of the regional gets underway at 3:30 p.m. with Western Kentucky (41-16) playing South Carolina Upstate (41-10).

The Regional is double elimination.

On Saturday, games will get underway at 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Sunday with the "if necessary" game slated for 3:30 p.m. Ticket information is available at RollTide.com or call the Alabama Ticket office at 205.348.BAMA (2262).

The runner-up in the Sun Belt Tournament, Western Kentucky enters the Tuscaloosa regional as the No. 2 seed. South Carolina Upstate won the A-Sun tournament title and will be the third seed. Jacksonville State won the Ohio Valley Tournament championship and will be the fourth seed.

Alabama faced Jacksonville State earlier in the season at Rhoads Stadium, coming away with an 11-3 win.

The 10th seeded Tide is making its 15th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament under the direction of Coach Patrick Murphy. It is the ninth straight year Alabama has been a host site for an NCAA Regional and the 11th time overall.

The Tide has captured eight consecutive NCAA Regional titles and a total of 10 altogether (2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012). Bama has a 38-9 record in regional play and a 64-29 in all NCAA tournament games.

The Southeastern Conference set a league record by advancing 11 teams to the tournament. The SEC also grabbed seven national seeds. In addition to Bama being the 10th seed, SEC Champion Florida (52-7) earned the national No. 2 seed for the third year in a row while the Missouri Tigers (35-11) earned the No. 6 seed. The Tennessee Lady Vols (44-10) are the No. 7 national seed while LSU (40-14) is the No. 9 seed. Kentucky (38-18) earned the No. 12 seed and Texas A&M (39-15) is the No. 16 overall seed.

Arkansas (34-18) will make its second tournament appearance in as many years. The Razorbacks will play in the Norman Regional while Georgia (38-19) opens up tournament play in the Tempe Regional. It is the 12th NCAA Regional bid for the Bulldogs. Mississippi State (32-22) will play in the Mobile Regional while South Carolina (32-23) opens up tournament play at the Austin Regional. It's the Gamecocks' 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the first since 2007.

The SEC led all conferences with 11 teams selected to the championship. The Pac-12 placed eight in the championship while the Big Ten Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Conference USA each had four qualifiers, respectively.

The winner of the Tuscaloosa Regional will play the winner of the NCAA Knoxville Regional in a Super Regional. The Knoxville Regional includes Tennessee, North Carolina State, James Madison, and Longwood. If Alabama wins its regional and Tennessee wins its regional, Bama will go to Knoxville. If the Tide wins its regional and any team other than the Vols in the Knoxville regional is the winner, Alabama will host the Super Regional.

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