Softball Regional Opens At Bama

The Alabama softball team (47-9) enters the 2009 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional as the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the fifth straight year. The Crimson Tide, which won the SEC Western Division Championship with a 21-6 SEC record, earned the No. 4 national seed in the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament.

The Tide will open the regional on Friday at 6 p.m. CDT against Mississippi Valley State (37-14) at the Alabama Softball Complex on the UA campus.

In addition to Alabama, ranked third in the nation, and Mississippi Valley State, the Tuscaloosa Regional includes Tennessee-Chattanooga and Texas. Chattanooga and Texas will open the tournament at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

The Crimson Tide earned its 11th consecutive NCAA tournament bid in 2009 with a 47-9 overall record and a SEC Western Division Championship. In just 13 years of existence, the Alabama softball program will be playing in their 12th NCAA Regional this weekend. The Tide has advanced to an NCAA Regional in every season under head coach Patrick Murphy. The Crimson Tide have a 26-9 record in NCAA Regional action (not including super regionals and the College World Series) and have won six NCAA Regional titles (2000, '03, '05, '06, '07 & '08). UA will be hosting their seventh NCAA Regional at the Alabama Softball Complex this weekend. It is the fifth consecutive year Alabama has been selected to host an NCAA Regional. The Tide is 19-3 in regional games played at the Alabama Softball Complex. Alabama was awarded the No. 4 national seed for the 2009 NCAA Division I Tournament.. The Crimson Tide was second in the most recent RPI released by the NCAA on May 5. Alabama is 13-6 against top 25 teams this season and 7-4 against top 10 teams. The Tide has earned wins over No. 1 Florida and No. 1 Washington.

Texas is a national seed, No. 7.

The Tide played an impressive 17 teams in 2009 that were selected for the NCAA Tournament. Alabama played 38 games against those NCAA Tournament teams and posted a 31-7 (.820) record. The 38 games against tournament teams represented 68 percent of Alabama's 2009 schedule. The Crimson Tide also faced seven of the teams that received the No. 1-16 national seeds, holding a 10-5 (.670) record against those teams.

Alabama softball conducted official practice for its NCAA Regional and met with members of media Thursday afternoon at the Alabama Softball Complex. Here are notes from that briefing:

Head Coach Patrick Murphy's Opening Statement:

"Congratulations to the three teams. Texas is the at-large, Mississippi Valley State is the automatic qualifier out of the SWAC and Chattanooga is an automatic qualifier. I think it's going to be a great field and anytime you get to this stage of the game everybody is good and I think our team knows that and respects all three teams in this regional. I think we have a great team, a great staff and certainly the best fans in the country."

On welcoming Texas to Tuscaloosa for the first time:

"It's awesome that the Longhorns could come. We've invited them for years to come to a regular season tournament and maybe if they get treated well, like the area and like the facility then they will come back for a regular season tournament. It's great to have a known team, a Big-12 team with great tradition. They've had two of the best pitchers in the history of college softball in Christa Williams and Cat Osterman, so they know the game of softball very well at Texas."

On welcoming Mississippi Valley State:

"I told Coach Smith when we played them, I think it was in April or March, and he was good enough to play a double header because we had gotten rained out so many times, but after the game I told him that this was the best team they have had. They are much more athletic up and down the lineup. There is not an easy out in the lineup and defensively they are sound."

On preparing for the postseason:

"One of our players said, and I believe it was Lauren Parker, that the postseason is like being a professional ball player. There is no school. It's just softball, conditioning, practice, games and more of that. The postseason is the greatest time of the year. I don't think we change a lot about our preparation. I think practice gets a little shorter as the year goes along, but we keep up with weights. It's pretty much the same. Softball is a repetition sport."

Senior Brittany Rogers on the competition this weekend:

"These are three great teams and it's going to be exciting to get out there this weekend. We just have to show up and execute and do the little things."

On the postseason atmosphere:

"It's the best time of the year. It's great to be a professional softball player right now. That's kind of what we are. It's neat because all we have to do is wake up and go out and execute the small things then go back to sleep and dream about it."

On entering the postseason after losing to Florida:

"To be honest, every game is separate from the last one we played. We know there are things to work on, as far as the execution part of our game, and we are continuing to improve on that. Right now we are focusing on what is ahead of us, because if you look in the past, sometimes it will take you down with it."

Junior Charlotte Morgan on the postseason atmosphere:

"It's just great to be able to be here. Every game is on the line. To be able to play great competition every game is the reason you go to Division I college ball. This is the part of the season when it all comes down to it. It's what you look forward to in the fall and why work hard at weights and practice."

On entering the postseason after losing to Florida:

"It is definitely good to play a great team like Florida and have the type of game like we had with them. Both sides did good things. We came out not winning, but we were able to take good things from the game. Win or lose, it's always great to play the best players in the nation."

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