Sunday, Alabama softball was awarded the No. 5 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, meaning Tuscaloosa will host Alabama’s Regional round.

Alabama is the top seed in the Tuscaloosa Regional that runs Friday through Sunday, joined by Middle Tennessee State, Central Arkansas and Long Island University.

For the Regional round of the softball playoffs, the top 16 seeds are awarded home-field advantage in the four-team playoff. NCAA Regionals are a small, double-elimination tournament between the four teams in each regional with the winner of the 16 Regionals advancing to a Super Regional. If Alabama is fortunate to win theirs, they would get the opportunity to host a Super Regional.

Alabama will begin their NCAA Tournament play on Friday against Long Island University. The Sharks earned their spot in the tournament by winning the Northeast Conference tournament, going 32-24 on the season. The winner will face off against the winner of the Middle Tennessee State and Central Arkansas game. Middle Tennessee State finished the season 39-18, winning the Conference USA title. Their opponent, Central Arkansas, won the ASUN tournament with a 44-10 record.

Alabama’s selection as the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament continued an impressive streak led by head coach Patrick Murphy, who has coached the Crimson Tide to an NCAA Tournament berth for 24 straight seasons and 19 straight as a host seed.

The Crimson Tide earned the No. 5 seed thanks to a tough schedule featuring 19 ranked opponents that had them ranked 12th in the RPI. Over the course of their tough schedule, Alabama acquired victories over six of the top 16 seeds in the tournament. While many were shocked by how high of a seeding Alabama received, coach Murphy was not.

"I think we were rewarded for a tough schedule," Murphy said. "You see it in almost every tournament for men's and women's basketball, you've seen it in softball, but you never know because the committee changes every year. You're just not sure what the committee is going to prioritize."

Now that the question of what seed Alabama would receive is over, the biggest question mark now is the health of Alabama ace Montana Fouts. Fouts injured her leg in the SEC Tournament against Arkansas and hasn’t pitched since.

According to Murphy, Fouts has a hyperextended left leg and is listed as day-to-day. If Fouts is unable to go Friday, the Crimson Tide will likely have to lean on redshirt sophomore Alex Salter and junior Jaala Torrence to step up in Fouts’ absence.

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