The Huskies are 2-0 against Alabama this season, but the Crimson Tide has eliminated UW from the NCAA softball tournament twice in the last three years

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The Huskies have owned the regular-season matchups, and Alabama has dominated the postseason.

Washington will try to change that narrative this weekend as the two teams face off again in the NCAA softball Super Regional at Husky Softball Stadium, with a berth to the Women’s College World Series on the line.

The No. 5 Huskies (47-8) were 2-0 against Alabama last year, and swept two games this season against the 12th-ranked Crimson Tide. But the Crimson Tide (36-18) knocked the Huskies out of the NCAA tournament in the 2015 regional round, and eliminated them in Super Regionals in 2016.

There is great familiarity between the teams, and the Huskies have a freshman the Crimson Tide likely doesn’t want to see again:  All-Pac-12 pitcher Gabbie Plain.

Plain has been UW’s No. 1 pitcher since junior Taran Alvelo went down in late April with an injury, and the Huskies have not missed a beat.

Plain was the winning pitcher in both UW’s contests against Alabama this year, and that includes a complete game shutout of the Crimson Tide on March 2.

Plain also threw a perfect game against Utah on April 7, and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Seattle Regional round. Her teammates have been impressed.

“She’s so poised in the circle and everyone feels so comfortable having her out there on the mound,” senior first baseman Kirstyn Thomas said. “That’s huge for a freshman to come out here and have that confidence and be that player for us. Someone we trust, and that we have her back. It’s pretty cool to see that out of such a young player.”

Plain (19-4, 1.03 ERA) hails from Australia, making her an enigma for many opponents.

“She’s never faced these girls,” senior outfielder Julia DePonte said. “She doesn’t really know of them, and that’s kind of to our advantage, and to her advantage, because she just goes right after them.”

Alvelo (21-4, 1.16 ERA) pitched against Minnesota last Sunday in her first action since May 6, and should be back for this weekend’s Super Regional.

Her return gives the Huskies pitching depth they didn’t know they had early in the season.

“With Taran and Gabbie, we have that strength, where we could or could not  just use them in a rotation,” UW coach Heather Tarr said. “Now we know what each can do, and what each pitcher’s strengths are. We can utilize their strengths within a game.”

After a rough April stretch that included a stunning six-game losing streak, the Huskies have won their past six, outscoring opponents 28-7.

“We went through that little rut, but we grew, and we learned as a team, and as a unit,” senior third baseman Taylor Van Zee said. “Playing in one of the best conferences in the country, you just have to trust that you’re good enough. We’ve been tested and tried, and we’re ready.”

Alabama is the only team to play in all 14 Super Regional rounds since the format was adopted in 2005. The Crimson Tide extended its regionals win streak to 37 with its sweep of the Tuscaloosa Regional.

But UW’s performance in the postseason so far and the two wins over Alabama earlier this year, Tarr is confident her team is ready for the challenge.

“This team has more in them,” Tarr said. “Whether it’s an offensive thing or a defensive thing, the objective of championship softball is to pitch, play great defense, and get some timely hits. That goes back to swinging the bat and getting some things to happen that are contagious. We’re still at a place where we can do more.”