FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University moved up four positions to No. 13 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s NCAA Division II Top 30 poll, released on Monday, while FMU sophomore right-handed pitcher Don Sandifer was named the Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second time in three weeks.
The Patriots are 13-6 overall and climbed after playing five road games against higher ranked teams last week.
Francis Marion returns to the friendly confines of Cormell Field this week to host Clarion University for a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday (March 9) at 2 p.m. The Patriots will then resume Peach Belt play this weekend with a three-game series against 20th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University. The series will start with a single game on Saturday at 3 p.m. and conclude with a doubleheader on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Admission to home games is $6 for adults and $4 for students with FMU students being admitted free with a valid identification card.
Sandifer improved his season record to 4-1 with a four-hit 5-0 shutout of 16th-ranked USC Aiken on Saturday. He allowed only four singles after carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He struck out 10 batters and walked only one while throwing 117 pitches.
In his last 34 innings, which include his Feb. 19 no-hitter, Sandifer has allowed no earned runs and only nine base hits. The Bamberg native leads the PBC with a 0.23 earned run average and in opponents’ batting average against (.117). He is second in the lead in strikeouts with 43 in 39 innings.
This week’s ranking means the Patriots have appeared in 98 of the past 106 national polls dating back to the 2005 season. Francis Marion was ranked 15th in the 2011 pre-season poll, dropped out of the first two rankings, but returned to the poll and has been 24th and 17th (last week).
Fellow PBC member Georgia College (15-2) continues to occupy the No. 1 spot in the Top-30 poll, and altogether seven Peach Belt squads are ranked among the Top 30 programs.