When Alabama begins play in the NCAA Women’s Softball Regional at Rhoads Stadium Friday, the Crimson Tide will be in familiar territory. The Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy is playing for the 12th consecutive year as a top 16 national seed, hosting a regional every year since 2005.
And if history repeats itself, that should be good for Alabama. The Tide has won every regional over that span, an 11-year streak that is the longest active in Division I softball.
Alabama (46-12) will play the second game on Friday against Samford of Birmingham, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. CDT. Cal and Texas State open the tournament at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The Saturday schedule of the double-elimination tournament is:
Game 3 -- 1:30 p.m., Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 4 -- 4 p.m., Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 5 – 6:30 p.m., Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3
The Sunday schedule:
Game 6 -- 1:30 p.m., Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5
Game 7 (if necessary) – 4 p.m., Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6
Alabama is making its 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, qualifying every year since 1999. The Tide is one of just eight schools with an active streak of at least 18 years. The others: Arizona (30), Oklahoma (23), Washington (23), Michigan (21), UCLA (18), Louisiana-Lafayette (18) and Notre Dame (18). Bama’s is the longest active streak for any SEC team.
California is 21-21-1. Texas State has a record of 39-20. Samford is 40-18.
Samford is coached by former Alabama player Mandy Burford, in her fifth season. An assistant coach for Texas State is all-time Alabama great Kelly Kretschman, who was Alabama’s first All-American, earning her first of four such honors as a freshman in 1998.
Alabama has an all-time record of 21-2 vs. Samford and Bama has won 21 consecutive meetings, including a 10-0 decision this season. The Tide has won three in a row against Cal and leads that series 4-3. Bama is 2-0 vs. Texas State.
Alabama owns a 23-12 record this season against teams that made the 2016 NCAA Tournament, playing 35 games against 19 opponents.
Nine of the Tide’s 19 tournament opponents are from the Southeastern Conference, with Alabama posting a 14-9 record against them.
Alabama played nine of the 16 national seeds this season, going 11-8 against them. National seeds faced this season include No. 1 Florida (2-1), No. 3 Oklahoma (0-1), No. 4 Auburn (0-1), No. 7 James Madison (1-0), No. 9 Kentucky (2-1), No. 10 LSU (1-2), No. 13 Tennessee (1-0), No. 15 Missouri (2-1) and No. 16 Georgia (2-1).
The winner of the Tuscaloosa Regional will advance to the Super Regional round, paired against the winner of the Seattle Regional featuring Washington, Minnesota, North Dakota State, and Weber State. If Alabama wins the Tuscaloosa Regional it will host the Super Regional.