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2011 NCAA Softball World Series: Baylor Faces Uphill Climb Against Alabama

As the only Big 12 team playing today (and the only Big 12 team with a win so far in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship), No. 11 Baylor faces a showdown with No. 2 Alabama for the chance to build some security in bracket play. Specifically, the winner of this match will be the only undefeated team in Bracket 1 in a round that features double elimination. Simply put, it’s a major step toward the championship series, which begins on Monday.

Yesterday, Baylor relied heavily on the arm of Whitney Canion to get past Oklahoma State in extra innings, 1-0. Canion pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only 3 hits in 8 innings while striking out 10 along the way. In all she threw 119 pitches. Kelsi Kettler hit her second home run of the season to provide the only offense of the entire game.

Alabama won by the same score, 1-0, over a 7th ranked California team that drew a difficult first round match-up. Kelsi Dunne and Jackie Traina combined on a one-hit shutout and struck out a combined 13 batters between them.

Tonight’s game gets under way at 7pm ET and can be seen on ESPN.