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15th-ranked Patriots at No. 3 KSU on Saturday
    FLORENCE, SC - The Francis Marion University women's softball team fell five spots to 15th in the bi-monthly National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 poll released this week.

    The 28-6 Patriots face their toughest test of the season on Saturday (March 26) with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at third-ranked Kennesaw State University (30-5).

    FMU, under the direction of first-year head coach Stacey Johnson, is currently fifth in the Peach Belt Conference standings with a 7-5 mark, while KSU is tied for second place with a 3-1 record.

    FMU snapped a 26-game losing skid to the Lady Owls with a 6-3 victory in last season’s PBC Tournament.  The Patriots have also won 16 of their last 21 regular-season PBC games, dating back to last season.

    Patriot center fielder Betsy Bouknight leads Francis Marion with a .495 average and six home runs, twice as many as her career total entering 2005.  In 17 of her 27 games, she has registered more than one hit.  When leading off an inning, she has reached base 64.3% of the time, and she is 19 of 22 in stolen bases, upping her career total to 90 for 101.

    Sophomore right-hander Jessica Johnson tops the Patriot pitching staff with a 17-4 record and a 1.47 earned run average.

    FMU has outscored its opponents 204-71, is 19-1 when scoring first, and is 20-0 when leading after 4 innings.

    FMU plays 14 of its final 18 games on the road.

    Two other PBC squads are listed in this week's poll: University of North Florida at No. 9 and USC Upstate, whom FMU swept earlier this year, at No. 22.  FMU plays host to UNF on April 9.

    The University of West Florida (31-1) occupies the No. 1 position in the poll.



Last Published: March 29, 2005 6:09 AM
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