Thursday, March 02, 2006
Crimson Classic Tournament Page
After a two week stint away from home, the fifth ranked Alabama softball team (11-2) finally returns home to host the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (1-8), Drake Bulldogs (2-9) and Ohio State Buckeyes (6-8) in the Crimson Classic.
The Tide played eight games away from the Capstone running up a 6-2 record including a win in the Dunkin’ Donuts Invitational championship game in Boca Raton, Florida and a victory over the defending national champion and then fifth ranked Michigan Wolverines at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.
Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa with a 15-game home winning streak on the line. The team could conceivably break the school record for longest home winning streak (19 games) with five straight wins in the tournament this weekend.
However, history dictates that winning five in a row in the Crimson Classic could prove to be a little more difficult for the Tide. The last time Alabama went 5-0 in the tournament was in the inaugural Crimson Classic in 2000. In 2003, Bama posted a 1-4 record while going 4-1 in the 2005 tournament.
Not to be lost in all the streak talk is the team’s success in the tournament. Alabama is 14-5 all-time in the Crimson Classic, a tournament annually plagued by weather. Since the tournament’s inception in 2000, it has been played to its entirety three times with the Tide having won two of those championships (2000, 2005).
The Tide has a four-game history against the three other teams involved in this year’s Crimson Classic. Alabama has a 2-0 mark against the Drake Bulldogs, having last faced them in the 2000 season. The last time Bama and Drake got together was in the 2000 Bama Bash!, unarguably the greatest regular season tournament ever hosted at the Capstone. The field that year included Arizona and DePaul, both of which, along with Alabama, advanced to the College World Series that season. Bama is 1-1 against the Ohio State Buckeyes with their last meeting coming in the 2003 season. The Crimson Tide and the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina have never played.
Bama’s first game on Friday will represent head coach Patrick Murphy’s 500th game as the head coach of the Tide. However, a much bigger milestone could present itself later in the weekend as Murphy needs only three victories to reach the 400-win plateau in his career.
The action is scheduled to begin Friday at 11:00 a.m. with Drake taking on Coastal Carolina followed by Ohio State and Coastal Carolina at 1:30 p.m. Alabama will play its first game of the tournament at 4:00 p.m. against Drake followed by Alabama and Ohio State to be played at 6:30 p.m.
Day passes are available for $5 and can be purchased at the stadium. Fans can follow all the action at http://www.rolltide.com/ where live stats and audio will be available. In the Tuscaloosa area, play-by-play is available on WVUA 90.7 FM.