MOUNT OLIVE, NC – Fourth-seeded and sixth-ranked Francis Marion University will face third-seeded and seventh-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University on Thursday at 11 a.m. in a first-round game at the 2012 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament.
The six-team, double-elimination tournament is being hosted by Mount Olive College on its Scarborough Field. Forty-eight teams are involved in eight regional tournaments across the nation.
Thursday’s other first-round games in Mount Olive have top-seeded and fourth-ranked Mount Olive (44-8) plays sixth-seeded and 20th-ranked Lander University (37-18) at 7 p.m. and second-seeded and second-ranked Tusculum College (46-8) meets fifth-seeded and 21st-ranked Catawba College (39-14) at 3 p.m.
Single-day tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12-and-under, and All-Session Passes are available for $30 for adult and $15 for 12-and-under.
A live webcast and live stats are available through the FMU website at http://www.fmupatriots.com/sports/bsb/2011-12/schedule
Francis Marion has won 25 of its last 32 games to own a 37-16 mark. Armstrong (40-14) won both the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
FMU owns a 7-2 mark against teams in the regional: 3-2 vs. Armstrong, 3-0 vs. Lander, and 1-0 vs. Mount Olive. Francis Marion won two of three games against Armstrong in Savannah during the regular season and the schools split two games in last week’s PBC Tournament.
Patriot head coach Art Inabinet will send junior right-hander Spencer Jordan (9-4) to the mound against the Pirates on Thursday. Jordan possesses a 2.87 earned run average and 88 strikeouts in 87.2 innings. In his one match-up with Armstrong this year, Jordan allowed one run on nine hits in 6.1 innings as the Patriots won 7-1.
Leading the Patriot offense is senior center fielder Buddy Sosnoskie (.388) and sophomore shortstop Michael Wilson (.318), both of whom were named to the Peach Belt All-Tournament Team. Sosnoskie batted 11-for-21 with five doubles and four runs batted in during FMU’s five contests, while Wilson was 9-for-22 with seven runs scored.
Sosnoskie has also set a new school single-season record for doubles with 23, surpassing the old mark of 22 set by Jeff Parsons and Michael Ward. Sosnoskie has hit in 23 of the last 25 games, including 14 multi-hit games and among those four 4-hit contests.
Junior right fielder Jarrod Reed is batting .348, while senior catcher/designated hitter Brian Paulhus has upped his average to .345, after going 6-for-13 at the PBC Tournament. Sophomore right-hander Jeffrey Stoner has solidified his role as closer as he has earned eight saves in Francis Marion’s last 14 games. He also has a 5-3 record with a 3.70 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 73 innings.
FMU is 15-5 against nationally ranked opponents this season. Among all Division II schools, Francis Marion ranks eighth in total hits, ninth in fewest walks allowed per nine innings, and 24th in team ERA.
If Francis Marion wins on Thursday, the Patriots will face the Tusculum/Catawba winner on Friday at 7 p.m. If FMU losses on Thursday, the Patriots will face the Mount Olive/Lander winner on Friday at 3 p.m.
Francis Marion owns an all-time record of 14-15 in seven previous trips to the NCAA Tournament. Four times the Patriots have advanced to the regional title game (1993, 2006, 2010, 2011).