Tide Opens World Series Vs. Michigan

Early this season, Alabama Softball Coach Patrick Murphy was anxious to see how his veteran Crimson Tide would do against one of the most testing schedules in America. Among the scheduled foes was highly regarded Michigan, a rare powerhouse that is not in the Southeastern Conference or the Pac-Ten. Bama and the Wolverines were to play in the Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga.

Unfortunately, bad weather sabotaged the Leadoff Classic, one of the most prestigious college softball tournaments, and Alabama did not get to play against Michigan.

Now Murphy can say, "Before we were so rudely interrupted..."

ESPN has announced the game time for the opening round of the NCAA Softball College World Series for the No. 4 seed Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama will face No. 5 seed Michigan on Thursday at 6 p.m. CDT at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. The game can be seen on ESPN HD.

Alabama is making its second consecutive trip to Oklahoma City and sixth overall. The Crimson Tide made a program best semi-final round appearance last season. Alabama (52-9) is heading to the WCWS on the strength of back-to-back no-hitters by Kelsi Dunne.

Alabama blanked Jacksonville State by the identical scores of 9-0 in the two Super Regional contests and has now won 19 of its last 20 games.

The Crimson Tide will conduct its final practice in Tuscaloosa on Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the Alabama Softball Complex.

Bama is considered among the teams with a very real chance to win the national championship. The Tide is led by SEC Player of the Year Charlotte Morgan and a handful of All-SEC and All-America level players.

Here are Thursday opening pairings (all times central):

Noon -- 6 Georgia vs. 3 Washington

2 p.m. -- 10 Arizona State vs. 2 UCLA or Missouri

6 p.m. -- 5 Michigan vs. 4 Alabama

8 p.m. -- 9 Arizona vs. 1 Florida

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