AUGUSTA, GA – Francis Marion University has been tabbed to finish second in the race for the 2010 Peach Belt Conference baseball title according to the PBC’s annual preseason coaches’ poll.
The Patriots received two first-place votes and garnered 111 points, only three points shy of preseason favorite USC Aiken. The second-place selection equals the highest ever for FMU in the PBC preseason poll. The Patriots were tabbed for second prior to the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
North Georgia College & State University was third in the poll with 96 points, followed by Georgia College & State University (89), Columbus State University (81), UNC Pembroke (73), Armstrong Atlantic State University (70), Lander University (40), Augusta State University (35), Flagler College (33), University of Montevallo (28), and Georgia Southwestern State University (22).
Francis Marion finished second during last year’s PBC regular season and then won the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Patriots were 38-15-1, the second-highest win total in program history. Ranked eighth and 12th in two preseason national polls, FMU returns 23 of 32 players from last year, including All-Conference designated hitter Jacob Wallace, All-Region shortstop Barrett Kleinknecht, and All-Region pitchers Brandon Forshee and Jeremiah Meiners.
The 2010 PBC baseball season features several changes from previous years. Two new schools, Montevallo and Flagler, will join the league, giving the PBC 12 teams for the first time. The teams will split into east and west divisions, with Francis Marion competing against AASU, Flagler, Lander, UNCP, and USCA in the East Division.
The 2010 season begins on Feb. 1 (FMU opens on Feb. 2) with league play beginning Feb. 27. The season will conclude at the PBC Tournament, May 8-9, in Aiken and Augusta.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams in the poll.
2010 Peach Belt Conference Baseball Preseason Poll
No. Team (1st-place votes) Total
1. USC Aiken (8) 114
2. Francis Marion (2) 111
3. North Georgia (1) 96
4. GCSU (1) 89
5. Columbus State 81
6. UNC Pembroke 73
7. Armstrong Atlantic St. 70
8. Lander 40
9. Augusta State 35
10. Flagler 33
11. Montevallo 28
12. Georgia Southwestern 22