On a rainy night in OKC in 2012, Alabama's Jaclyn Traina earned MVP as she pitched the Crimson Tide to the national title in a 5-4 win over Oklahoma. Last year the Sooners returned to the tournament (Bama did not) and won the crown.
At 8:30 p.m. CDT tonight, it will be Alabama vs. Oklahoma in the first round of the WCWS. ESPN2 will televise the game.
Both teams are 50-11.
Many things will have changed for both teams since those crucial games in 2012, but Traina is still likely to be in the circle for Coach Patrick Murphy's Bama.
Alabama has been tested just to make it back to Oklahoma City.
It took a pair of dramatic games, but Alabama ultimately defeated Nebraska in two games to punch its ninth ticket to the Women's College World Series. In game one, the Huskers took the early 4-0 lead but the Tide fought back throughout the game and, down to its final three outs trailing by one, Marisa Runyon hit a seventh-inning solo home run to tie the game and send it to extra innings. The two teams would play for five more innings until Peyton Grantham capped off Alabama's longest-ever home game with a walk-off solo homer in the 12th inning to win it, 6-5. Two runs would be all Alabama would need the following day, as Traina threw a complete game with just one earned run to secure the 2-1 win and give Alabama its seventh Super Regional title.
Alabama is making its ninth appearance in the Women's College World Series
The Tide's first appearance in the Women's College World Series came in 2000, just the fourth year of the program's existence and the second under Head Coach Patrick Murphy.
The program's first national title and the first for any Southeastern Conference team came in 2012, when Alabama dropped its opening game to Oklahoma before rebounding with two wins. Alabama trailed game three early, 3-0, before a rain delay. The Tide came back energized after the delay, while the Sooners were flat. Alabama won the championship with a come-from-behind 5-4 win.
The 2001 and 2002 seasons marks the last time the Tide has missed the Women's College World Series in back-to-back seasons.
Alabama was 2-8 in its first four appearances in Oklahoma City, but is 11-7 in its four most recent trips.
Alabama and Oklahoma have met nine times in program history, with the Tide holding a 6-3 edge in the all-time series. The two teams' first meeting was just the second game in Alabama history, as the Sooners shut out the Tide 12-0 in six innings on Feb. 15, 1997. Alabama would even the series in the next matchup, defeating Oklahoma 6-1 on Feb. 22, 2002 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The first meeting in postseason play would come in 2003, as Oklahoma knocked Alabama out of the Women's College World Series with a 6-3 win in extra innings. Alabama would win the next two meetings before the two teams met in the 2012 national championship series, where Alabama took two out of three games to win its first national championship.
The winner of tonight's game will advance to play the winner of Louisiana-Lafaeyette vs. Kentucky on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CDT, while the losers in both matchups will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast by ESPN2.