Softball Preview: Alabama Hosts Super Regional Weekend vs. Washington [Audio]
After an undefeated weekend during the NCAA regional round, the No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 11 Washington Huskies face off for a trip to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Alabama shutout Samford 3-0 and defeated Cal by scores of 3-1 and 8-0 to secure their super regional spot. Washington beat Weber State 14-6 in five innings and defeated Minnesota by scores of 5-2 and 15-7 in six innings to arrive in the super regional round.
This weekend's match-up is a familiar one for both teams. This weekend’s meeting will be the third time the two teams have met in the NCAA Tournament and the second in a super regional. Alabama and played Washington played each other last season in an NCAA regional with the Crimson Tide defeating the Huskies twice.
The trip south will not be unfamiliar for the Huskies as they closed the regular season with a three-game series at LSU approximately three weeks ago. During Thursday’s super regional press conference, Washington head coach Heather Tarr explained how going to Baton Rouge was a good appetizer for the main course that lies ahead in Tuscaloosa.
“When we build a season and build a schedule, you build it with intent. You build it with a team in mind, the team you’re going to have in mind. This year looking forward we knew we had a bye and our bye matched up with LSU. So, what a great opportunity for us to play late in the year on the road against a great team in a great environment. We built this schedule for the preparation for the postseason.” Tarr said.
Washington comes into Tuscaloosa as one of the top hitting teams in the Pac 12. The Huskies are second in the conference with a .343 team batting average, second in home runs (73), second in runs scored (396) and second in doubles (98).
Individually, junior Ali Aguilar finished the regular season as one of the top hitters in the Pac 12. Aguilar leads the conference in home runs (21), RBIs (69) and runs scored (75). From the circle, Alabama will likely face a true freshman pitcher in Taran Alvelo. The Carroll, Ohio, native leads the Huskies with an 18-5 record in 145.2 innings pitched. In 30 appearances, Alvelo has 150 strikeouts compared to 59 walks.
Last week for Alabama was a microcosm of the season as Alexis Osorio’s pitching paced the Crimson Tide’s victories in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. The sophomore right hander fanned 28 batters while walking four batters in 16.2 scoreless innings pitched. The Crimson Tide also used the long ball effectively as they swatted four home runs last weekend.
First pitch for game one of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Super Regional is Friday at 8 PM. Game two is set for 4:30 PM Saturday while a possible game three will start at 7:30 PM. ESPN2 will air games one and three while ESPN will televise game two Saturday.
College Softball Notes Around Alabama
-Auburn also hosts a Pac 12 opponent as the Arizona Wildcats come into Auburn off an impressive regional performance in Knoxville last weekend. The Wildcats knocked off Ohio State and Tennessee twice to pave their way to the Auburn Super Regional. Auburn knocked off Jacksonville State twice and USC-Upstate to earn their way to the super regional.
-Auburn and Arizona get things started Saturday at 5:30 PM on ESPN2. Game two begins at 1 PM on ESPN while an in necessary game would start at 4 PM on ESPNU.