The Tuscaloosa Regional of the NCAA Tournament gets under way this weekend. Has the Crimson Tide gotten out of their funk? Is Stanford for real?
First off is news from late last night concerning Murray State. Hopefully, everyone is okay.
From Murray State Athletics— Murray State Sports (@MSURacers) May 19, 2022
The Murray State softball team bus was involved in an accident traveling to NCAA Tourn. in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 3 individuals transported to hospital w/ non-life-threatening injuries for further testing. Remaining players/staff are safe and unharmed.
We will update as news breaks.
“Familiarity Breeds Contempt” ~ Geoffrey Chaucer 1300s.
For most of her college career, Montana Fouts has been one of the most feared pitchers in the game. However lately, many opposing coaches have been picking up on her tendencies and adjusted the way their batters approach her offerings. Thus, the more you see of Fouts, the better the chance for success. The lack of Fouts’s exposure to the other three teams of the Tuscaloosa Regional might just factor into the Tide’s success.
In these three coming opponents, Alabama will face the very unfamiliar.
STANFORD (36-19, 11-13 PAC-12)
The Tide and Cardinal have previously met in the playoffs... ELEVEN years ago. It was a Super-Regional that Bama won two games to one. The last time these two faced off in any game was a 2017 regular season match which resulted in an Alabama 4-0 victory. Fouts was a junior in high school at the time.
It is the third-consecutive postseason appearance for Stanford. The Cardinal split a pair of games with Mizzou back in March before the Tigers got their ish together a month later. Stanford finished 3-6 in their final three PAC-12 games for fourth place in a nine team conference (Colorado, Wazzu, and Southern Cal don’t field softball teams). The PAC does not have a conference tournament.
UT-CHATTANOOGA (29-25, 9-9 SoCon)
The Moccasins have participated in eleven NCAA Tournaments since their first in 2000. Five of those instances (2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2011) have been in the Tuscaloosa Regional thanks to what must be proximity that cuts down on travel for softball teams. 2011 was the last time these two programs met on a softball diamond.
This season, UTC lost to Auburn 12-1 (5 innings) and a second time a month later 7-3. They finished third in the SoCon but won their tournament and were rewarded the automatic bid.
MURRAY STATE (40-16-1, 21-7 OVC)
It is only the second NCAA Tournament for the Racers. The other was in 2017. Bama played MSU twice in 2019. The results were a 12-0 run-rule win for the Tide and a bizarre 16-10 win for Alabama. Fouts did not pitch in either game.
Murray did not play any SEC teams this season. They had one game against a Power-5 team, losing to Northwestern 7-0.
This series is a double-elimination bracket of the Tuscaloosa Regional played on May 20-22.The rest of the schedule is determined after the first round.