FLORENCE, SC – For the third time in five days, the Francis Marion University softball team will face sixth-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University, this time on Saturday afternoon (April 21) in the opening round of the single-elimination Peach Belt Conference Softball Tournament. The tournament, which includes the top eight finishers during the PBC regular season will be held at Columbus State University’s Cougar Field.
The eighth-seeded Patriots (31-19) will face the top-seeded Pirates (43-8) at 4 p.m. Francis Marion lost a pair of narrow one-run decisions (1-0 and 7-6) to Armstrong on Tuesday afternoon at the opening of the brand-new FMU Softball Stadium.
In other first-round games on Saturday, second-seeded and 11th-ranked North Georgia College & State University (43-7) plays seventh-seeded Georgia College (25-23) at 11 a.m., third-seeded Augusta State University (31-15) faces sixth-seeded USC Aiken (25-16) at 1:30 p.m., and fourth-seeded Flagler College (34-16) battles fifth-seeded Columbus State (36-18) at 6:30 p.m. The semifinals are scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with the championship game set for Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The 2012 All-Conference Team will be announced on Friday evening.
Francis Marion is led offensively by junior third baseman Tristan Faile (.364 average, 14 doubles, 6 home runs, 39 runs batted in), sophomore outfielder Sara Broderick (.358 avg.), and senior second baseman Ashley Jaramillo (.321 avg., 6 home runs. 39 RBIs).
Three right-handed pitchers have logged the majority of the innings on the mound for FMU this season: senior Kayla Ellingsen (11-7 record, 2.18 earned run average), freshman Katie Carnes (10-5, 1.99 ERA), and sophomore Taylor Luff (9-7, 1.95 ERA). Luff one-hit the Pirates on Tuesday, but lost a tough 1-0 decision.
The tournament winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The top seed has won six of the past eight tournaments. North Georgia is the three-time defending tournament champion. FMU is 29-32 all-time in PBC Tournament play and reached the title game in 2010.