AU, UA host NCAA regionals this weekend

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2005

The season is beginning to wind down and for some teams it’s all over but the shoutin’. For others, though, the road to the National Championship can be a very arduous and twisted path.

For the Lady Tigers of Auburn and the Lady Crimson Tide of Alabama, their path begins on campus as both teams are hosting regional tournaments.

The way the NCAA Tournament is set up, 16 sites will host regional tournaments with four teams in each bracket. Action is set to begin today and run through Sunday. After Sunday, the field of 64 teams will be whittled down to a field of 16. From there, the field will be paired up in eight Super Regional sites, which will cut the field to eight.

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Those eight squads will travel to Oklahoma City and make up the field for the NCAA Softball World Series.

For the Alabama Lady Crimson Tide, hosting a region has almost become old hat to them, marking the third time they’ve hosted.

This year, Tuscaloosa will welcome the Arizona State Lady Sun Devils from the Pac-10,

the Hofstra Lady Pride from the Colonial Athletic Association and Mississippi Valley State Lady Devils from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Murphy is leery of ASU, but is not looking past the Lady Pride or the Lady Devils.

The Lady Devils claim to fame this season came with a 2-1 victory over the University of California, who was ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time.

Hofstra and Mississippi Valley could play spoilers this weekend.

Hofstra and Arizona State will start things off with a late afternoon game, slated to begin at 4:30. The Lady Tide will take the field Friday night against Miss. Valley at 6:30

Senior Jenn Wright is slated as the starting pitcher for the Lady Tide.

Murphy is confident that he will be able to use his choice of three pitchers throughout the regional.

The winner of the Tuscaloosa Regional will more than like pair up with the winner of the Texas A&M regional in College Station for the Super Regional.

For, Auburn on the other hand, hosting a region is a new experience.

The Lady Tigers will add another first to their relatively new program when they welcome No. 15 Baylor University Lady Bears from the Big 12, Florida A&M’s Lady Rattlers from the MEAC and Florida State’ Lady Seminoles from the ACC to the ‘loveliest village on the planes" this weekend.

The Lady Tigers have the best record of the group, posting 49 wins against 16 losses. Baylor boasts a record of 47 wins and 12 losses.

Florida State finished the season 33-26 followed by FAMU’s mark of 37-31.

The Lady Tigers finished third in the SEC after being knocked out of the tournament by the University of Georgia.

The 14 other regional sites are: the University of Michigan, Fresno State, the University of Arizona, University of Texas, Texas A&M, University of Missouri,

UCLA, University of Wisconsin, University of Notre Dame, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee, University of Florid, University of Oklahoma and University of Nebraska.