Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama's WCWS Opener Looks Familiar

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama's WCWS Opener Looks Familiar

Article excerpt

Women's College World Series

Alabama vs. Oklahoma

When: 8:30 p.m.

Where: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City

Records: Alabama 50-11, Oklahoma 50-11

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 95.3 FM

OKLAHOMA CITY | The surroundings are familiar. So is the opponent.

The University of Alabama softball team will pick up where it last left off at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in the Women's College World Series, beginning its new national championship quest where the 2012 title season finished, and against the Oklahoma Sooners, the team the Crimson Tide topped in the national title series two years ago.

Much has changed, but much remains the same. Alabama returns with ace pitcher Jaclyn Traina, who was most valuable player in the World Series two years ago, while Oklahoma brings back a powerful hitting lineup but a different ace pitcher than the one who took the Sooners to last year's national title and a runner-up finish the year before.

"She's got a different pitcher, that's the biggest (difference)," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said of his OU counterpart, Patty Gasso. "She's still got a heck of a good offense, a great defense, her coaching staff is intact and they're always going to win.

"They're going to have the crowd again. It's a stacked lineup, and it's a typical Oklahoma lineup."

Gasso sees some new faces in the Alabama lineup, but a lot of familiarity.

"I would say the one thing I know about Alabama is that they play to win," Gasso said, "and it might be a slightly different cast of characters but in the end they know how to win, and that's with Patrick Murphy and their staff and their tradition with softball.

"We know when you look at us and our numbers they look pretty similar, but when you put us on the field it's two teams that have won a national championship, that understand what's at stake in the first game and two teams that are going to get after it.

"I'd say they might look different, but they know how to do it when they get here."

Oklahoma's path to a venue that is just a 30-minute drive from the OU campus in Norman, Okla., was a bit bumpy. The Sooners lost the first two games of the season and four of the first nine. …

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