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Patriots battle Indians at NCAA Baseball Regional

FLORENCE, SC - The second-seeded and ninth-ranked Francis Marion University baseball team will face fifth-seeded and 19th-ranked Catawba College on Thursday (May 19) at 3 p.m. as the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament begins play in Mount Olive, N.C.

The six-team, double-elimination tournament will be played Thursday through Sunday on Scarborough Field on the campus of Mount Olive College.  FMU practiced at the tournament site on Wednesday afternoon.

Live video and live stats for all regional tournament games can be followed through http://www.moc.edu/index.php/2011-ncaa-ii-baseball-southeast-regional

Thursday’s two other opening-round games will have top-seeded and second-ranked Mount Olive (41-7) playing sixth-seeded Wingate University (34-20) at 7 p.m. and third-seeded and seventh-ranked UNC Pembroke (42-10) meeting fourth-seeded and 14th-ranked Columbus State University (32-17) at 11 a.m.

If FMU wins its opening game, the Patriots will play the UNCP/CSU winner on Friday at 7 p.m., while a Patriot loss to Catawba would place FMU in the losers’ bracket against the Mount Olive/Wingate loser on Friday at 11 a.m.

The regional winner advances to the Division II World Series, May 28-June 4, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

This will be Francis Marion’s seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament, third in a row, and sixth in the past nine seasons.  Catawba will be making its fourth straight trip and fifth in the past seven years.  Francis Marion (37-14) and Catawba (40-13) both earned at-large bids to the tournament. Thursday’s contest will be a re-match of an elimination game in last year’s regional held at FMU.  In that game, Francis Marion scored three times in the top of the eighth inning to rally for a 3-2 victory.

The Patriots were 3-2 during the regular season against teams in the regional tournament.  FMU is 3-4 all-time against Catawba, including that 3-2 victory last year.

FMU head coach Art Inabinet has tabbed sophomore right-hander Don Sandifer as his game-one starter.  The 2011 Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, Sandifer owns a 10-3 record with a 2.32 earned run average.  He has struck out 94 batters in 93 innings while walking only 11, and opponents are batting only .190 against him.                                                                                    

Junior center fielder Buddy Sosnoskie, the PBC Co-Player of the Year, paces the Patriot lineup with a .415 average, nine doubles, eight triples, and 42 runs batted in.  Six other Patriot regulars are batting over .340, while senior first baseman Preston Shuey has a .298 average and team-leading totals of seven home runs and 62 RBIs.

On Thursday, the Patriots will likely face sophomore southpaw Nick Lomascolo, who owns an 8-3 record and a 2.98 ERA.  He was the losing pitcher in last year’s regional tournament match-up between the two teams.  The Indians’ offensive attack is led by third baseman Chris Dula with a .385 average, nine home runs, and 61 RBIs.  Catcher Josh Hohn is hitting .304 with six homers and 38 RBIs, while designated hitter Garrett Furr is batting .301 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs.

As a team, FMU is batting .328 with a 2.81 ERA and a .972 fielding percentage.  Catawba has a .285 team batting average, a 3.83 team ERA, and a .972 fielding percentage.  The Patriots are 30-3 this season when scoring first and 34-0 when leading after six innings.

The 48-team NCAA Division II National Tournament field was released late Sunday (May 15) night.  The tournament consists of eight regionals.  Twenty teams, including UNCP (Peach Belt Conference), Mount Olive (Conference Carolinas), and Wingate (South Atlantic Conference), earned automatic berths by winning their conference titles.

Francis Marion is 10-13 in its previous six NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the 2006 Division II College World Series.

NCAA II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament in Mount Olive, N.C.

Thursday, May 19, 2011
11 a.m.  Game 3:  No. 3 UNC Pembroke vs. No. 4 Columbus State
3 p.m.  Game 2:  No. 2 Francis Marion vs. No. 5 Catawba
7 p.m.  Game 1:  No. 1 Mount Olive vs. No. 6 Wingate
 
Friday, May 20, 2011
11 a.m.  Game 4:  Loser game 1 vs Loser game 2
3 p.m.  Game 5:  Winner game 1 vs Loser game 3
7 p.m.  Game 6:  Winner game 2 vs Winner game 3

If four teams remain after Game 6

Saturday, May 21, 2011
11 a.m.  Game 7:  Winner game 5 vs Winner game 6
3 p.m.  Game 8:  Winner game 4 vs Loser game 6
7 p.m.  Game 9:  Winner game 8 vs Loser game 7
 
Sunday, May 22, 2011
1 p.m.  Game 10:  Winner game 7 vs Winner game 9
5 p.m.   Game 11:  If necessary, same teams as in Game 10
 
if five teams remain after Game 6
Saturday, May 21, 2011
11 a.m.  Game 7:  Loser game 5 vs Loser game 6
3 p.m.  Game 8:  Winner game 4 vs Winner game 5
7 p.m.  Game 9:  Winner game 6 vs Winner game 7
 
If two teams remain after Game 9
Sunday, May 22, 2011
1 p.m.  Game 10:  Winner game 8 vs Winner game 9
5 p.m.  Game 11:  If necessary, same teams as in Game 10
 
If three teams remain after Game 9
Sunday, May 22, 2011
1 p.m.  Game 10:  Winner game 8 vs Loser game 9
5 p.m.  Game 11:  Winner game 9 vs Winner game 10

#145/5-18-11

Last Published: June 1, 2011 9:51 AM
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