FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University baseball team has learned its opening-game opponent in this week’s Peach Belt Conference Tournament, while also climbing five spots and entering the Top 10 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball Magazine NCAA Division II Top 30 poll.
The Patriots, who are 33-13-1 and have won a school-record 12 consecutive games, are tied with Delta State University for ninth position in this week’s poll.
FMU will enter this weekend’s PBC Tournament in Aiken as the second seed and will face seventh-seeded Columbus State University (27-22) on Saturday at 9 a.m. The second-place finish for the Patriots equals the program’s best-ever finish in PBC regular-season play, previously accomplished in 2006 when Francis Marion eventually advanced to the NCAA Division II College World Series in Montgomery, Ala.
The PBC Tournament format has been changed to single-elimination. Following the FMU/CSU contest, third-seeded and 17th-ranked Georgia College & State University (37-16) will face sixth-seeded and 29th-ranked UNC Pembroke (36-16) at 12:30 p.m., fourth-seeded North Georgia College & State University (32-23) will meet fifth-seeded and 22nd-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University (38-17) at 4 p.m., and top-seeded and second-ranked USC Aiken (39-16) will play eighth-seeded Augusta State University (25-30) at 7:30 p.m.
The semifinals will be held on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. followed by the championship contest at 6 p.m. If Francis Marion wins its Saturday game, the Patriots will play in the first semifinal on Sunday.
Francis Marion dropped two of three games to Columbus State during the regular season. FMU won game one of the Saturday doubleheader 3-1, but lost the second game 8-4 and then lost the Sunday single game by a 6-1 count. The Cougars lead the all-time series 32-26.
FMU is 13-20 all-time in PBC Tournament play and the Patriots have reached the title contest twice – in 1993 and last year (2008).
Dating back to the 2005 season, the Patriots have now appeared in 75 of the past 81 national polls.
Southern Arkansas University (44-9) reclaimed the top spot in this week’s poll, while five PBC squads are ranked.