What was a surprise, though was that Alabama got so many heroics from its freshman class in defeating Nebraska in the Super Regional in Tuscaloosa. Chandler Dare had a key defensive play. Sydney Littlehohn had a tremendous pitching performance. Peyton Grantham had a 12th inning home run to give the Crimson Tide a come-from-behind victory in the first game of the Super Regional.
And perhaps the most notable contributions from a freshman came from Marisa Runyon, an infielder from Myrtle Beach, S.C. Runyon, who was primarily a back-up to junior Danielle Richard at third base, was Bama's top hitter in the Super Regional with four hits and three runs batted in. And those RBI were critical as the Crimson Tide took a pair of one-run victories over the Cornhuskers.
Runyon went 3-6 in Game One, including a monster home run in the bottom of the seventh that tied the game and sent it into extra innings, where the Tide would eventually win on Grantham's homer.
In the second game in the best-of-three series, Runyon went 1-3 and drove in the second run of the game, which would be the eventual game-winner in the 2-1 decision.
For the year, Runyon is batting .333. She has had five home runs and one double among her 17 hits.
Alabama is in waiting mode regarding one aspect of the NCAA Women's College World Series. Bama knows that it will meet Oklahoma in its first game on Thursday, but starting time and broadcast information will come later.
Bama, which won the Southeastern Conference regular season championship with a 19-5 record, is 50-11 overall this year. The Tide is ranked fifth in the nation in the most recent polls, but is the second seed in the tournament.
This is the ninth WCWS appearance for the Tide and the third in the last four years. Most memorable, of course, was the 2012 event as Bama won the national championship and Traina, then a sophomore, was selected MVP.
Alabama's all-time record in the NCAA Tournament to 72-34. Since starting the current postseason format in 2005, Alabama is 58-19 in postseason play.
Coach Patrick Murphy is now 839-224 (.789) overall in his 16th season as Alabama's head coach.
With a 50-11 record, this is the 11th season in Alabama's 18-year program history with at least 50 wins. Alabama has won at least 50 games in nine of the last 10 seasons.
Alabama's 12-inning win over Nebraska on Thursday is the longest-ever home game for Alabama and is tied for the longest-ever Super Regional game for any team, previously set by Missouri and LSU in 2012. It is the longest game for Alabama since a 14-inning loss at LSU on April 8, 2011. It is just the fifth game in Alabama history to stretch at least 12 innings.
Alabama is now 13-3 all-time in Super Regional games in Tuscaloosa, as the Tide has won six of its seven Super Regional series at Rhoads Stadium.
The Tide finished its home season with a total home attendance of 83,233, averaging 2,774 fans over 30 home dates.