Patriots Enter Softball Poll at No. 10
FLORENCE, SC - The Francis Marion University women's softball team earned its highest national ranking since moving to NCAA affiliation in 1992 when the Patriots appeared at the No. 10 spot in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Top 25 poll released Wednesday (March 9).
FMU, under the direction of first-year head coach Stacey Johnson, owns a 19-5 record that includes a 6-4 Peach Belt Conference mark. Francis Marion hosts the 33-team Patriot Invitational Tournament, Friday through Sunday, at the Freedom Florence Softball Complex.
The young Patriot squad is comprised of two seniors, two juniors, five sophomores, and four freshmen. Senior center field Betsy Bouknight lead the team with a .516 average and four home runs, although she has missed the last six games with an injury. Sophomore right-hander Jessica Johnson leads the FMU pitching staff with a 10-3 record and a 1.63 earned run average.
Francis Marion has outscored its opponents 133-48 this season.
Three other PBC squads are listed in this week's poll, including Kennesaw State University at the No. 4 spot.
Northern Kentucky University, off to a 12-0 start, occupies No. 1 position. The top-ranked team in the 2005 preseason poll, Florida Southern College, started 13-6 and fell to No. 19.
Francis Marion last appeared in the NFCA Top 25 poll at the end of the 2003 season, when the Patriots were ranked 24th and 19th during consecutive weeks.