Alabama Softball Starts NCAA Play

The Alabama softball team of Coach Patrick Murphy is no stranger to the Womens' College World Series. But to get back to the tournament in Oklahoma City, Bama must first win a regional tournament and a a Super Regional. That quest begins Friday in Tuscaoosa.

Alabama is hosting the NCAA Regional. And by virtue of its national Number One seed, the Crimson Tide will host a Super Regional if Bama can get by this weekend's opposition.

Alabama, ranked third in the nation, will play Alcorn State in the second game of the regional beginning at 6 p.m. CDT Friday. The early game, beginning at 3:30 p.m., has UAB meeting Lipscomb.

Alabama won the Southeastern Conference regular season championship with a 23-4 record and has an overall recorde of 48-9 with 24 consecutive victories. Bama is coming off the championship of the SEC Tournament, Bama's fourth SEC tourney win.

UAB is 36-20 and Lipscomb is 48-11. Alcorn State is 24-24.

Alabama is one of the nation's top home run hitting teams and pitcher Kelsi Dunne, the SEC pitcher of the year, has performed at All-America level. Bama is paced by SEC Player of the Year Charlotte Morgan and SEC Freshman of the Year Kayla Braud. The hero of the SEC Tournament championship was shortstop Whitney Larsen.

Alabama has never played Alcorn State. The Lady Braves enter the postseason for the first time in the history of its softball program. After losing its first game in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, Alcorn had to reel off five straight wins -- including the title clincher against Mississippi Valley State (6-3) -- to earn an automatic bid. Leading the way offensively for the Lady Braves is Jasmine Hubbard and her .346 batting average. Hubbard has belted six home runs, driven in 29 runs and stolen 29 bases. In just 32 games Shawna Bruton leads the team with a .395 batting average. Jasmine Hall is hitting .286 with four home runs and 31 RBI. In the circle Jennie Hatch leads the team with a 10-13 record and a 3.42 ERA. She has added 103 strikeouts in 165 2 /3 innings pitched.

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