FLORENCE, S.C. – After a 3-1 week that saw the Patriots win a Peach Belt Conference series against a Top-15 opponent, Francis Marion University moved up one position to eighth in this week’s Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II Top 30 poll. Two FMU pitchers were also honored by the PBC for their efforts on the mound last week.
Senior right-hander Barrett Kleinknecht was named the PBC’s Pitcher of the Week for April 5-11, while righty Don Sandifer was named the conference’s Freshman of the Week.
This marks the program’s seventh week in the Top 10 during the 2010 regular season. Francis Marion was listed 12th in Collegiate Baseball’s 2010 preseason poll and has been ranked eighth, seventh, third, second, ninth, 13th, 11th, 14th, and ninth in the previous regular-season polls.
Dating back to the 2005 season, the Patriots have appeared in 89 of the past 95 national polls.
Southern Arkansas University (35-3) remained in No. 1 spot in this week’s poll, while six PBC squads are ranked among the Top 25 programs.
Francis Marion owns a 31-9 overall record and is tied for the lead in the PBC’s East Division standings with a 12-6 mark.
The Patriots will visit local-rival Coker College on Tuesday for a 3 p.m. contest. FMU defeated the Cobras 4-1 earlier this season in Florence and leads the all-time series 13-5.
FMU will then play host to Newberry College on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before traveling to 21st-ranked UNC Pembroke for a pivotal PBC series this weekend.
Kleinknecht beat 15th-ranked North Georgia College & State University on Sunday 11-0. He pitched seven innings and allowed only one single, while striking out five and walking only two. Only once did a Saints’ base runner reach second base. He also helped his own cause by going 4-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored.
The West Florence High School product is now 4-0 on the season with a 0.87 earned run average. He has not allowed a run in his last 20.2 innings and opponents are batting a miniscule .125 against him.
He becomes the third member of the Patriot staff to gain PBC honors this season.
Sandifer, a 6-1 native of Bamberg, S.C., beat North Georgia on Saturday 1-0. He tossed 7.1 scoreless innings while striking out three and allowing five hits and no walks. His season record remains perfect at 5-0 with a 2.39 ERA. He has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 innings, and with only four walks allowed in 49 innings of work, he ranks in the top 10 nationally for fewest bases-on-balls allowed.
As a team, Francis Marion pitchers have not allowed a run in the last 21.2 innings.