Tide Kicks Off NCAA Bid Friday

The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide softball team starts its journey towards the 2006 College World Series this weekend as the Tide opens its NCAA action hosting the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devilettes at the UA Softball Stadium.

Alabama and Mississippi Valley State have met twice this season with the Crimson Tide coming away with two victories against the Delta Devilettes in the Bama Bash! 6-1 and 7-0. Bama owns an all-time 3-0 record against MVSU with its other game coming in the first round of last year's NCAA Regional tournament, a game the Tide won 9-1 in six innings in Tuscaloosa.

This season marks the third straight year Alabama and Mississippi Valley St. have been matched up in the same regional. In 2004, both teams were shipped to UCLA and the Los Angeles regional. However they never met up on the field.

Alabama has an all-time 16-8 record in NCAA Regional play and has won 10 of its last 12 games in the regional play dating back to the 2003 season. The Crimson Tide has hosted three previous NCAA Regional tournaments and has posted a 9-2 record in those championships.

Alabama is led offensively by a trio of players beginning with freshman Brittany Rogers who leads the team with a .427 batting average, 76 hits and 31 stolen bases. Sophomore Jordan Praytor ranks second on the team with a .400 average but has a team best .642 slugging percentage. Senior Staci Ramsey provides the power in the lineup with a team best 10 home runs and 52 RBI while her .569 slugging percentage is second on the team.

In the circle, the Crimson Tide is led by senior Stephanie VanBrakle, the SEC Pitcher of the Year, and sophomore Chrissy Owens. VanBrakle has a team best 25 wins (25-5) and 311 strikeouts in 201.0 innings pitched while registering a 0.98 ERA. Owens has a staff best 0.68 ERA while striking out 168 batters in 133.2 innings.

Alabama and Mississippi Valley St. are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT Friday and will be preceded by the Georgia Tech-Florida A&M game at 4:00 p.m. CT. Fans can follow all the action at www.rolltide.com where live stats and audio will be available. In the Tuscaloosa area, fans can tune into WVUA 90.7 FM. Tickets are available by visiting the UA Athletic Ticket office or calling 205.348.BAMA (2262). Fans can also purchase tournament passes and session tickets at the gates at the UA Softball Stadium.

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