The No. 8 poster is back on the wall.

The loss Alabama softball experienced to Florida on Saturday night in the SEC Tournament championship was tough to take.

But the news Sunday that the Gators earned a No. 5 seed while Alabama, the regular-season SEC champs, was a No. 8 seed, was a little too much.

“It was a little surprising considering we had nine top-10 wins and one loss, and that was in the (SEC) championship on a neutral site,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “I’m pretty sure it was our non-conference schedule. But when you take care of business in the conference and win it by four games and lead from start to finish, I thought that would carry a little more weight. Obviously not.”

Alabama (52-6) will host a regional tournament for the 15th straight time. Alabama takes on Alabama State on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Arizona State will play Lipscomb at 3 p.m.

Because Alabama is a top-8 seed, it will also host a super regional in two weeks if it wins the tournament this weekend.

Before the season started, Alabama was picked to finish No. 8 in the SEC so the team put up a giant poster with the number eight on it and hung it in the team clubhouse to use as motivation.

It worked.

So when the team gathered at the clubhouse Sunday to watch the NCAA Selection Show and learned it was a No. 8 seed, the poster came back out and is hanging on the wall once more.

“The number eight has been a motivational factor for us since the beginning of the season,” Murphy said. “So what the hell? We might as well use it again.”

Thirteen SEC teams earned a spot in the NCAA tourney field. The Crimson Tide is one of six SEC teams hosting a regional. The Crimson Tide has made the NCAA Tournament field every year since 1999.

“I felt it was a little disappointing,” said Alabama senior catcher Reagan Dykes. “We swept Florida at Florida, and they were seeded higher than us. We beat Arizona at Arizona and also Minnesota. We beat three teams that were all seeded higher than us. We will use ‘8’ as our number the whole year. We are going to finish strong. We are going to use that to motivate us. We are going to get back to practice and work hard.”

 

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