FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University will open play in the 2006 Peach Belt Conference Softball Tournament, Friday (April 21) at noon against host USC Aiken.
The nine-team double-elimination event will be played at Aiken’s Citizens Park.
Following Wednesday’s rained-out doubleheader at North Georgia College & State University, Francis Marion ended its regular season with a 26-14 overall mark and a 7-9 PBC record that placed the Patriots as the sixth seed. USCA (25-16) is the seventh seed.
Friday’s winner will face top-seeded and 12th-ranked Columbus State University (35-12), later Friday at 2 p.m. The loser will fall into the losers’ bracket and play Saturday at 11 a.m.
Freshman lead-off batter Shannan Tyson leads FMU with a .385 average, while junior third baseman Janine Allen is hitting .357 with a team-leading eight home runs and 31 runs batted in. Tyson has been particularly tough on Peach Belt opponents, batting .482 in conference contests.
The Patriot pitching staff is anchored by junior right-hander Jessica Johnson with a 15-6 record and a 2.32 earned run average, while freshman righty Serena Lim is 10-8 with a 2.44 ERA.
FMU is ranked eighth in the most recent NCAA Division II South Atlantic Region poll, released on Wednesday.
FMU leads the all-time series with USCA 31-13-1, including a pair of one-run victories (3-2 and 5-4) earlier this season in Florence.
The Patriots are 19-22 all-time in PBC Tournament action, highlighted by a third-place finish in 2004.