February 21, 2011

Saints Baseball up to No. 7 in Latest National Ranking

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DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team continues to rise in the national poll, moving up one slot to the No. 7 team in the country in the latest edition of the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Division II Top 30 Poll released on Monday afternoon.

The Saints are coming off a weekend series victory over Millersville University as North Georgia improved to 8-1 on the year and are off to their best start in the program's 12-year history.

The top three spots in the poll remain unchanged as U.C San Diego (10-2) stays atop the ranking as the No. 1 team in the land, while Florida Southern (7-1) is No. 2, and Georgia College (8-2) rounds out the top three. Tampa and Central Missouri switch spots and are now fourth and fifth respectively.

West Florida made the biggest leap in the latest poll, as the Argonauts jumped five spots and sit just above North Georgia as the No. 6 team in the country at 10-1 on the year.

The Peach Belt Conference continues to represent well with a nation leading six teams ranked in the top 30 poll. Behind Georgia College and North Georgia is UNC Pembroke at No. 17, USC Aiken at No. 21, Francis Marion at No. 24, and Armstrong Atlantic rounds out the league schools as the No. 28 team in the land.

The Saints will be put to the test in their next three series, playing eight straight games against teams ranked in the top 20. North Georgia will open Peach Belt Conference action over the weekend, traveling to No. 17 UNC Pembroke for a three-game set, before returning home to face 6th-ranked West Florida for a pair of midweek games in a top-10 matchup.

The 3rd-ranked Bobcats of Georgia will then come to town for a three-game weekend set on March 4-5, for what is now slated to be another top-10 battle as the two Peach Belt teams jockey for position in the always-tough PBC West Division.

The Saints will enter their weekend series against the Braves with four everyday hitters batting over .400 for the year, including Troy Snitker who has a .462 batting average with 12 hits and a team-leading 11 runs batted in.

Daniel Warzon is hitting .440 with seven runs scored, while Derek Hooper has hit safely in every game this season, sporting a .438 batting as he looks to extend his hit-streak to double digits on Saturday afternoon against the Braves at Sammy Cox Field.

Junior starter Blake Hobby will look to continue his good work over the weekend as the Macon, Ga., native has a 1-0 record in three starts with a 0.42 earned run average. He has allowed 13 hits in 21.1 innings, recording 16 strikeouts allowing just one earned run.