"The number four national seeding wasn't what I was thinking," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. "Except for playing the games, I think we're in a good position. I had heard earlier we might be the number seven seed so that is what I was expecting."
Alabama will host Troy (45-14), Southern Miss (38-21) and Jacksonville State (35-22) in the Tuscaloosa Regional beginning on Friday afternoon. Should Alabama advance, it would host the winner of the Chapel Hill Regional, which includes North Carolina (1), Winthrop (2), UNC Wilmington (3) and Maine (4).
There will be two games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and an if-necessary game would be played Monday, June 5 at 2 p.m.
This is the fourth NCAA tournament selection in the past five years for Alabama, and the first time Alabama has been a national seed since 2002. That year the Tide failed to take advantage of the seeding and did not advance past the regional.
Last year Alabama had among the toughest draws in the tournament, a regional at the site of the nation's top-seeded Tulane in New Orleans. Alabama beat Louisiana-Lafayette twice, but lost twice to Tulane, including a 7-4 defeat in the championship game.
"Last year we were a little surprised," Alabama junior pitcher Wade LeBlanc said. "We didn't expect to go to New Orleans. We went there last year a little wide-eyed, because most of us had never been that situation. This year we expected to be hosting after we tied Kentucky for the SEC Championship. It's always more easing to know you're playing in front of the home fans."
"We can't be happy to just host a regional. We have to expect to win and move on," he said.
Alabama will play region No. 4 seed Jacksonville State at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. Second-seeded Troy and No. 3 Southern Miss open the regional at 2:30 p.m.
Alabama is hosting an NCAA Regional for the fifth time in school history, all of which have come during Wells' tenure. Bama hosted NCAA regionals in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2002, and a super regional in 1999.
Alabama was one of five SEC teams named host sites for an NCAA regional. Georiga (No. 7 nationally), Kentucky, Ole Miss and Arkansas were also named as host sites. Arkansas is the number two team in its region, however, with Oklahoma State as the top seed there.
The cost for the 2006 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional books are $50 for reserved lower chairback seats, $40 for reserved upper chairback seats and $25 for reserved bleachers. This will include one ticket for six or seven NCAA Tournament games next week at the Joe.
Tickets for the Tuscaloosa regional went on sale on Monday at the UA ticket office. Tickets can also be purchased online at RollTide.com or by phone at (205) 348-BAMA (2262). Tickets will be available for pickup on Thursday at 9 a.m. at Coleman Coliseum.
There will be two games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. An if-necessary game would be played Monday, June 5 at 2 p.m.
2006 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Schedule
Friday, June 2, 2006
Game 2 2:30 PM No. 2 Troy vs. No. 3 So. Miss
Game 1 6:30 PM No. 1 Alabama vs. No. Jacksonville State
Saturday, June 3, 2006
Game 3 2:30 PM Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser
Game 4 6:30 PM Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner
Sunday, June 4, 2006
Game 5 2:30 PM Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser
Game 6 6:30 PM Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner
Monday, June 5, 2006
Game 7 2 PM If Necessary