FLORENCE, S.C. – The ninth-ranked and top-seeded Francis Marion University baseball team will face Augusta State University, the West Division’s fourth seed, at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday (May 8) in the opening round of the 2011 Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
For the first time, the Peach Belt will use the NCAA World Series bracket which creates two four-team brackets with a single championship game. The double-elimination bracket will feature four games a day for the first three days of the tournament (Sunday-Tuesday) with start times at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. each day. The title game is slated for Thursday at 1 p.m. The double-elimination tournament will feature the top four teams in each of the PBC’s East and West divisions and will begin on Sunday (May 8) at historic Golden Park in Columbus, Ga.
Live video and live stats for all tournament games as well as ticket information can be found through the tournament website at http://www.peachbeltconference.org/information/11basetournament/index
After capturing its first-ever Peach Belt regular-season crown, Francis Marion owns a 36-12 record and has won 20 of its last 24 games. Augusta State is 21-28, including three losses to the Patriots in Florence on March 25-26. FMU leads the all-time series with the Jaguars 35-22-1, but the two teams have never met in the Peach Belt Tournament.
Francis Marion owns a 16-21 all-time record in PBC Tournament play, including winning the 2009 Tournament and reaching the title game in 1993 and 2008.
Columbus State University (32-15) is the top seed from the West Division and will face the East’s No. 4 seed Lander University (28-22) on Sunday at 4 p.m. The other two games on Sunday have the West’s second seed Georgia College (35-15) playing the East’s third seed UNC Pembroke (38-10) in the tournament opener at 9 a.m., and the East’s second seed Armstrong Atlantic State University (33-15) facing the West’s third seed North Georgia College & State University (32-18) at 7:30 p.m.
Depending on its result on Sunday, Francis Marion play at either 9 a.m. (if lose on Sunday) or 12:30 p.m. (win) on Monday. FMU’s side of the bracket includes the Georgia College/UNCP contest.
The winner of the PBC Tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on May 15.
The Patriots’ probable starter on Sunday will be sophomore right-hander Don Sandifer. The Bamberg native leads the conference in wins (10-2 record) and opponents’ batting average against (.172), while ranking second in earned run average (1.57).
FMU junior center fielder Buddy Sosnoskie owns a 20-game hitting streak and leads the PBC in hitting with a .418 average.
As a team, Francis Marion leads the conference in hitting (.330) and fielding (.972), while ranking second in team ERA (2.59).