Tuscaloosa Regional gets under way Friday as the Crimson Tide (44-7) faces a familiar foe in SWAC Champ Alabama State (19-27). The two teams met twice this season and both resulted in run-rule victories for the Tide. The first was a no-hitter shared by Montana Fouts and Sarah Cornell. The second was an 11-3 thrashing shared by Krystal Goodman, Cornell, and Jaala Torrence. It is never wise to take an opponent lightly but the Hornets have no chance of winning this game.
The early matinee game will be an interesting one. Troy (36-15) will play Clemson (42-6). The Trojans are no pushover. They have beaten Ole Miss and UNC this season. Clemson is only in their second year of existence - but first full season - and have already won the ACC regular season crown. However, they lost in the ACC Tournament finals to Duke 1-0. They will have a chip on their should for they think they got dissed by the NCAA for not getting seeded and even worse having to play the No. 3 team. The Tigers have a 29-5 record in - let’s face it - a weak ACC. The top-heavy ACC have five teams selected for the postseason. All the other conference teams had losing records. Of the fellow conference members in the post-season tournament, CU was 4-5 against Virginia Tech and Duke, and did not play FSU or Notre Dame. Clemson also did not play any Power teams outside the conference except one game against SEC last place South Carolina. But don’t tell any of this to the Tide.
For Troy, watch for pitcher Leanna Johnson (20-7, 1.50 ERA) and 2B Kelly Horne (.383, 8 HR, 47 HR).
Clemson’s best are ACC Player of the Year Valerie Cagle (26-5, 1.06 ERA; .414, 15 HR, 41 RBI), Marissa Guimbarda (.317, 12 HR, 41 RBI) and McKenzie Clark (.359, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 45 runs).
That run Bama stole against Florida last weekend deserves another look. This is why the Crimson Tide is where they are. The Gators are thought of as one of the most sound defenses in the nation and the Tide rocked their foundation. Some may think it reckless to get caught in a rundown but good coaches will exchange runs for outs. Patrick Murphy does that better than anyone in softball.
The NCAA is now allowing full capacity for spring sports and Alabama is taking full advantage of that starting this weekend.
ESPN Announcers: Eric Frede and Madison Shipman.
GAME 1: May 21 (Fri) 2 p.m. CT Clemson vs. Troy - ESPN3
GAME 2: May 21 (Fri) 5 p.m. CT Alabama State vs Alabama - SECN
GAME 3: May 22 (Sat) 11 a.m. CT Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner
GAME 4: May 22 (Sat) 1:30 p.m. CT Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser
GAME 5: May 22 (Sat) 4 p.m. CT Game 4 Winner vs. Game 3 Loser
GAME 6: May 23 (Sun) 1 p.m. CT Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner
GAME 7: May 23 (Sun) 3:30 p.m. CT (If Necessary) Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser
WOULD YOU LIKE SOME CHEESE WITH THAT WHINE?
Jeez, what a bunch of whiners! Outside of the SEC and Big 12 footprints, there was a good deal of whining of where certain teams got placed. To begin with, it was pretty stupid of the NCAA to name 20 possible host locations with the plan to pull out the rug from under four of them. But the crybaby antics were still annoying.
If you missed it, the Washington Huskies had a hissy fit walk out when the poor little babies were seeded 16 and got rewarded as a host location.
The selection committee obviously saw what I saw and that is a sad weak UW schedule in which they lost to Nevada, San Diego State, Oregon State, and twice to unranked Stanford. Also, their OOC schedule was mighty lame.
This seemed like enough to cheer for the other Power team in the Seattle Regional, Michigan, but then the Wolverines are crying too. UM played an all Big Ten schedule this season which does not help their cause (blame your short-sighted bozo commissioner). Northwestern and Minnesota were the only other two teams selected from the B1G.
There was an outcry from the PAC as a whole. They only have nine teams that field a softball team. Three of them have losing records and the other six all made the field with 4 being hosts. So, shut up and play ball!
- Oklahoma State
- Arizona State
Unseeded SEC teams: Texas A&M, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, MSU. Only South Carolina (26-26; 4-20) did not make the field.
FOUR CITIES NOT CHOSEN AS HOSTS
- Eugene, OR - Oregon
- Clemson, SC - Clemson
- Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech
- Ann Arbor, MI - Michigan
(Duke is the only seeded team that will not be a host but Durham, NC was not one of the 20 finalists.)
TEAMS BY CONFERENCE
- SEC 12
- PAC 6
- ACC 5
- B12 5
- B1G 3
TEAMS BY STATE
Do you have a daughter that you want to send to college but don’t want to pay the high tuition costs? Teach her to throw underhand! Five universities from the Yellowhammer State will be represented in the NCAA softball tournament: Bama, Aubie, Troy, ASU and South Alabama.
AL 5, TX 4, CA 4, FL 4, IL 3, KY 3, LA 3, NC 3, VA 3, AZ 2, GA 2, IA 2, MD 2, MS 2, OK 2, OR 2, PA 2, WA 2.
17 teams in the tournament played the Crimson Tide this season:
Florida, Arkansas, LSU, ULL, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, South Alabama, Troy, Alabama State, Liberty, and Northern Iowa.
I can’t imagine any other team had more.
Games will be carried on various ESPN outlets, TBA.
REGIONALS TO WATCH
- The Knoxville Regional might be the most intriguing one of them all. Upstart James Madison will face Liberty - a team Tide fans saw firsthand and know are a feisty bunch. Either one of those teams could catch the Vols on one of their Mr. Hyde days.
- The Lexington pits Kentucky, Northwestern and Notre Dame against each other.
- ULLaffy could very well upset LSU in the Baton Rouge Regional.
- Underappreciated UCF will get a shot at FSU in Tallahassee. But they will have to get by Auburn first.
Who will Patrick Murphy start against Alabama State?
This poll is closed
[ED.NOTE: CB will be heading out on vacation this weekend. Josh may be filling in here and there depending on whether CB can access SECN from a barstool. Fret not, Josh does watch the games and has a wealth of knowledge about the sport and Team25.]