Since the NCAA Tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1999, this is Alabama's second national seed in the post season. Alabama was the national No. 5 seed in the 1999 tourney, advancing to Omaha for the third time in four years under Coach Jim Wells.
The No. 1 seed Crimson Tide will open the 2002 NCAA Tournament against the No. 4 SE Missouri State Indians on Friday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m. (CT). The other first-round game matches the No. 2 seed Auburn Tigers against the No. 3 seed Florida Atlantic Blue Wave at 1:30 p.m. (CT). The two winners meet Saturday, June 1 at 3 p.m., while the losers square off at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Alabama is 18-2 (.900) all-time in post-season games here in Tuscaloosa and has never lost an NCAA Regional game. UA is 13-0 (1.000) all-time in NCAA games here at the Joe. Alabama's only two post-season home losses came against Vanderbilt in the 1973 and 1974 SEC Playoffs.
Alabama's probable starting lineup:
- # 11 Travis Garner, RF .335, 6 HR, 31 RBI 2nd on team with 21 multi hit gms
- # 1 Peter Stonard, 2B .409, 5 HR, 40 RBI Seven-game hitting streak (.424)
- # 14 Jeremy Brown, C .323, 11 HR, 58 RBI Needs 3 RBI for UA career record
- # 24 Scott McClanahan, CF .312, 13 HR, 60 RBI 120 consecutive starts in CF
- # 6 Brent Boyd, 1B .288, 8 HR, 47 RBI SEC Tournament MVP (10-20, .500)
- # 36 Chad White, LF .314, 0 HR, 14 RBI Batted .375 (8-18) at SEC Trny
- # 12 Zac Welch, DH .233, 1 HR, 12 RBI Four hits, 3 RBI at SEC Trny
--OR-- # 5 Beau Hearod, DH .320, 10 HR, 49 RBI Four-game hitting streak (.364)
- # 4 Adam Pavkovich, SS .286, 5 HR, 29 RBI Tied school record with 12 sac bunts
- # 26 Allen Rice, 3B .247, 0 HR, 17 RBI Batted .333 (5-15) at SEC Trny
Probable Regional pitchers:16 Shane Sanders, RH 15 GS, 8-3, 3.38 Lost two straight decisions vs. LSU and UF
18 Lance Cormier, RH 16 GS, 10-3, 3.24 Needs 2.1 IP for single-season record
40 Taylor Tankersley, LH 22 G, 8-4, 2.67 UA freshman record eight wins this year
Tentative broadcast information:May 31 SE Missouri State vs. Alabama 6:30 PM (CT) CTSN (WRTR-FM, 105.5)
June 1 Auburn or FAU vs. Alabama 11 AM or 3 PM CTSN (WRTR-FM, 105.5)
Internet broadcasts:All Alabama baseball games are available on the internet at www.rolltide.com for the 2002 post-season. Live stats can be found at www.rolltide.com and www.ncaachampionships.com
Tickets:Tickets to the 2002 NCAA Baseball Regional are available through the Alabama Athletic Ticket Office. Ticket books are $65 (lower chairback), $55 (upper reserved) and $50 (reserved bleachers).
Rankings:UA is ranked 4th (NCBWA), 6th (Collegiate Baseball), 6th (Baseball America) and 6th (Baseball Weekly).
Regional notes and quotesThe 2002 Southeastern Conference Tournament Champion Alabama Crimson Tide was awarded a national No. 3 seed by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee on Monday and will host the 2002 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional beginning this Friday, May 31 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Alabama (48-13, 20-10 SEC) will host the Ohio Valley Conference champion Southeast Missouri State Indians (36-18, 16-5 OVC) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The first game of the four-team, double elimination tournament features the Auburn Tigers (34-24) against the Florida Atlantic Blue Wave (43-18) beginning at 1:30 p.m.
"It is exciting to have the opportunity to host a regional and super-regional in Tuscaloosa," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "This is what we played for all season long. We had a great regular season to earn the regional and then played hard at the SEC Tournament to wrap up a super regional hosting bid. I'm just glad to be back in the NCAA Tournament.
"The OVC is not as a strong a conference as the SEC but in baseball it only takes some good pitching and a few hot hitters to make a run in the tournament. Any team still playing at this time of year is a pretty good team. We are going to spend the next 24-36 hours trying to learn as much as we can about Southeast Missouri. The only way we can get information on them will probably be by phone or fax. When we see the stats that will tell us a few initial things about them."
The winner of the Tuscaloosa Regional will be paired with the winner of the Atlanta Regional (Georgia Tech, Georgia, Louisville and Coastal Carolina) in next week's NCAA Super Regional, which begins Friday, June 7 and continues through Sunday, June 9. Alabama has bid on the Super Regional and the site will not be announced until next Monday, June 3.
Joining Alabama as the national Top 8 seeds are No. 1 Florida State (56-12), No. 2 Clemson (47-14), No. 4 Rice (47-11), No. 5 Texas (48-14), No. 6 South Carolina (48-14), No. 7 Wake Forest (44-11-1) and No. 8 Stanford (40-16).
"That was a little bit of a surprise to me since last week we had fallen out of the top eight in most of the rankings," Wells added. "We played hard at the SEC Tournament and I think winning that went along way in moving us back up there."
The Crimson Tide and Tigers will play in the same NCAA Regional for the first time in history. Alabama swept the three-game regular-season series from Auburn at Sewell-Thomas Stadium (April 26-28), winning 8-6, 6-5 and 7-0.
"It is probably a great thing for the fans that Auburn is in our regional. I think I'd maybe like to be playing somebody different. I was not totally surprised to see their name come up in our regional. After hearing over the past few weeks about how the committee was trying to limit travel and keep teams within 400 miles of their campus if at all possible, then Auburn became an option for us. It is still a little different to have another SEC team in our regional. It's just unusual from the past."
Alabama defeated Florida Atlantic 8-3 on Mar. 3, 2002 in the final game of the Hormel Foods Classic at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. The win over the Blue Wave clinched the tournament championship for the Crimson Tide. Following the Alabama loss, FAU posted a 27-game winning streak. In 1999, FAU tied the NCAA record with a 34-game winning streak.
The Crimson Tide has never met Southeast Missouri State in baseball. Alabama won the 2002 Western Division championship, its 10th divisional title. This past weekend, Alabama posted a 4-1 record en route to winning its sixth SEC Tournament Championship (1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2002) and fifth under Wells.
NCAA Tournament historyAlabama is making its 14th overall NCAA Tournament appearance and seventh under Coach Jim Wells. The Crimson Tide has posted a 37-16 (.698) record in NCAA Regional play since it first appearance during the 1947 season.
In addition, Alabama has won five Regional Championships and one Super Regional Championship en route to five trips to the College World Series.
Alabama did not make the post season last year and finished second in the 2000 NCAA Palo Alto Regional at Stanford, Calif. The Crimson Tide's last NCAA Regional Championship came in 1999, winning the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional and then beating LSU in the firstever Super Regionals, also held in Tuscaloosa.
Coach Wells has directed Alabama to six NCAA Regional appearances since his arrival in 1995. The Crimson Tide has posted an impressive 22-6 (.786) NCAA Regional record under Wells, including titles in 1996, 1997 and 1999. Prior to Wells arrival, Alabama had played in back-to-back NCAA tourneys only once (1947-48). Wells directed the Crimson Tide to a school record six straight appearances from 1995-2000.
In its history, Alabama has been the No. 1 seed three times (1996, 1997 and 1999) and hosted three NCAA Regionals (1996 South I, 1997 South II and 1999 Tuscaloosa Regional).
Bama successful at home in post-season playAlabama has been very successful at home in the post season, compiling an 18- 2 (.900) record, including a perfect 13-0 mark in NCAA Regional play. Since 1950, Alabama has hosted five SEC Playoffs (featuring the SEC East and West Champion), three NCAA Regionals (1996, 1997 and 1999) and one NCAA Super Regional (1999).
Alabama has never lost an NCAA Regional game at home, riding a 13-game winning streak entering the 2002 Tuscaloosa Regional.
Alabama has won three NCAA Regionals and one NCAA Super Regional in Tuscaloosa, advancing to Omaha all three times. The Crimson Tide captured the 1996 NCAA South I Regional title, 1997 South II Regional title, 1999 Tuscaloosa Regional and 1999 Super Regional titles.
Alabama's last loss at home in the post season was a 2-1 setback to Vanderbilt in the 1973 SEC Playoffs here at Thomas Field.
Tide wins SEC tournament championshipAlabama won its sixth Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship last weekend with a 6-2 win over South Carolina on Sunday at the Hoover Met. Alabama posted a 4-1 record in the fourday tourney to capture its fifth title under Jim Wells.
Alabama has won SEC Tourney crowns in 1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2002. Alabama has never lost an SEC Tournament championship game.
The Crimson Tide won its first two games, beating Miss. State (12-2) and Florida (7- 4) to earn a day off on Friday. The Crimson Tide then dropped a 7-4 decision to the Gators on Saturday and had to rebound to win the if necessary game that night (11-8) against the Gators. Alabama beat Florida five out of six time this season.
The championship game featured the tournament's top two seeds, No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 Alabama, marking the first time since 1997 (No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama) that the top two seeds played for the title. The Crimson Tide scored five runs in the first two innings to post an easy 6-2 win behind the solid pitching of Jeffrey Norris (9 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K).
The win by Alabama was the eighth straight by a Western Division team in the title game. Florida was the last Eastern Division team to win the SEC Tournament, beating LSU in 1991. The SEC played divisional tournaments in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
Alabama batted .328 (59-for-180) with 40 runs scored, six home runs and 22 RBI in their five tournament games. The Crimson Tide also tallied 16 doubles. UA averaged eight runs and 11.8 hits per game in the tourney.
On the mound, UA posted a 4-1 record with one save and 4.50 ERA. In 44 innings, Alabama allowed 22 earned and 52 hits, while walking 16 and striking out 22 batters.
Alabama committed five errors in the SEC tourney, but led the field by turning seven double plays.
Alabama first baseman Brent Boyd was named the SEC Tournament's Most Valuable Player. In five games, Boyd batted .500 (10-for-20) with eight runs, two doubles, one home run and three RBI. He his safely in all five tourney games.
Boyd had the sixth highest batting average in the tournament and ranked second with eight runs scored and third with 10 hits.
Second baseman Peter Stonard also made the All-Tournament Team, compiling a .400 (10-for-25) average with one home run and six RBI in five games. Stonard also added five runs and three doubles.
Stonard was 15th in batting and ranked second in doubles (3), third in total hits (10), third in RBI (6) and third in total bases (16).
Sophomore shortstop Adam Pavkovich led all SEC hitters with four doubles at the SEC Tournament.
Norris was also named to the All- Tournament team, earning a win and save in his two appearances. Norris worked 9 2/3 innings and allowed two runs and 10 hits, while adding five strikeouts. In addition to his complete-game victory over South Carolina, Norris earned a one-pitch save in the Tide's 11-8 win over Florida, coaxing Matt Goss to ground into the game-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Alabama is now 39-34 (.534) all-time in SEC post-season play, dating back to the 1950 SEC Playoffs. The Crimson Tide is 29-22 (.568) since the SEC adopted the tournament format in 1977. Coach Wells has guided Alabama to a 25-8 (.758) SEC Tournament record and five tourney titles.
Wells notches fifth SEC tournament championshipAlabama's 6-2 win over South Carolina in the 2002 SEC Tournament championship game was the fifth tourney title for Coach Wells. He is one of only three coaches in league history to win four or more SEC Tournament championships. Former LSU coach Skip Bertman leads the pack with six titles, followed by Wells (5) and Miss. State coach Ron Polk (4).
Wells tabbed SEC Coach of the YearAlabama head coach Jim Wells has been named the 2002 Southeastern Conference "Coach of the Year", in a vote by the league's 12 head coaches. The eight-year Alabama skipper is a two-time Coach of the Year honoree, winning the award after leading the Crimson Tide to a share of the 1996 SEC Championship.
After a 32-24 record (15-15 SEC, 8th place) last year, Alabama was tabbed fourth in the SEC Western Division in most preseason publications this year. Wells guided his troops to a remarkable 44-12 record and the school's 10th SEC Western Division championship. Alabama was second overall in the SEC race, boasting a 20-10 league worksheet. Wells led Alabama to a school record tying 44 regular season wins.
The 2002 Crimson Tide squad is only the fourth in school history to win 20 SEC games. The 2002 season marks the 14th time an Alabama coach has been honored as SEC Coach of the Year by his peers.
Jim Wells is one of five UA coaches to earn SEC "Coach of the Year" honors. *Wells also joins Tilden "Happy" Campbell as the only UA coach to earn SEC "Coach of the Year" honors more than once. Campbell was a nine-time winner and Wells was honored for the second time in his career this season.
The 2002 season marks the fifth time in Wells 13-year coaching career he has been tabbed Coach of the Year. Wells also won Southland Conference "Coach of the Year" honors three times (1991, 1992 and 1994) while at Northwestern State.