FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University baseball team occupies the 18th spot in the final 2003 Collegiate Baseball Magazine NCAA Division II Top 30 poll, released Monday.
FMU ended its season with a 30-20 record, the team’s fifth-ever 30-win campaign, and placed third at the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional, the program’s first post-season appearance in 10 years.
Picked to finish eighth in the Peach Belt Conference preseason coaches’ poll, the Patriots finished third in the PBC with an 18-10 mark, only one-half game away from winning the program’s first-ever conference title. The 18 conference wins were a team record and the third-place finish equaled the program’s highest finish ever, previously accomplished in 1993 and 1997.
Playing an extremely tough schedule in 2003, FMU was 10-10 against Top-25 opponents, while 13 of the squad’s defeats were by one or two runs.
This is the 16th consecutive week FMU has appeared in the poll. The Patriots have been ranked as high as No. 12. Francis Marion broke into the poll at No.15 following an early season three-game sweep of then fourth-ranked University of North Florida. In the following weeks, FMU was ranked 12th, 21st, 13th, 16th, 27th, 25th, 26th, 28th, 19th, 14th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 16th, and now 18th. Prior to this season, FMU last appeared in the national poll at the No. 19 position in the final poll of the 1993 season.
Central Missouri State University (51-7) owns the No. 1 position after winning last week’s Division II College World Series. Fellow Peach Belt member Kennesaw State University, which placed third at the College World Series, is ranked third. Altogether, five PBC schools are ranked in the final poll.