Arizona State vs. Alabama
9:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Alabama couldn't escape the ghosts of past first-day failures in Thursday's loss against Michigan -- it has never won an opening game in six World Series trips. But after putting up a Women's College World Series record 14 runs in an afternoon elimination game against Arizona, the Crimson Tide get an opportunity to exorcise another boogeyman in a rematch of last season's controversial epic.
Alabama and Arizona State met twice in last year's event, but it's the first game people in Tuscaloosa still see in their nightmares. In that game, with two outs in the top of the seventh, an apparent foul ball was ruled to have nicked third baseman Kelley Montalvo's glove, giving Arizona State a two-run double and eventually the 3-1 win.
In a somewhat unusual twist for Saturday night at the World Series, this rematch will come in a game between two teams with rested aces. Alabama got a shutout from No. 2 starter Charlotte Morgan against Alabama, allowing it to hold back sophomore Kelsi Dunne for the team's second game of the day.
Just about all the Crimson Tide got in on the action against Arizona, but the top of the lineup was the most productive. Seniors Brittany Rogers, Lauren Parker and Montalvo, along with junior All-American Morgan, combined for 10 hits and seven RBIs. Given the team's uncharacteristic flat performance against Michigan two days earlier, that production was a positive sign, to put it mildly, that internal leadership took hold in the wake of Thursday's loss.
Player to Watch: Lesley Rogers
The Arizona State outfielder hasn't been a constant in the lineup this season -- few players are constants in Arizona State coach Clint Myers' rotation of regulars -- but she had three of her team's six hits in the two games between the teams last season.