#1 Saints Set to Begin Defense of PBC Tourney Title
AUGUSTA, GA – The Peach Belt Conference has released the bracket for the 2010 PBC softball tournament which begins this Friday, April 16, at the Freedom Florence Complex in Florence, S.C.
Top-ranked North Georgia will be defending their 2009 tournament title as the #1 seed after sweeping Lander in the regular-season finale on Wednesday night evening in Dahlonega.
The Saints have been the #1-ranked team in the nation for the past seven weeks and are the only NCAA softball team, in Divisions I, II or III, to be undefeated on the season. Now 41-0 overall and 20-0 in conference play, the Saints broke Kennesaw State’s PBC record of 40 straight wins with their sweep of Lander. NGCSU advanced to the semifinals of the DII World Series last season after winning their first PBC tournament title.
The Saints have appeared in the last two PBC championship games and want to become the first team to repeat as tournament champions since Columbus State won three in a row from 2005-07. North Georgia will face eighth-seeded Lander in the first round on Friday at 11:00 am.
Augusta State enters the tournament as the #2 seed. The Jaguars are ranked #15 in the nation this week and have been as high as #10 this season. 15-5 in PBC play and 37-13 overall, the Jaguars are looking for their first PBC tournament title after making their first championship game appearance in 2007. ASU will face local rival and #7 seed USC Aiken in the first round of Friday at 1:30.
Tournament host Francis Marion will be the #3 seed. Winners of five of their last seven games heading into the tournament, the Patriots will be playing on familiar ground as the Freedom Florence Complex has hosted their long-running Patriot Invitational. FMU will be looking to make the championship game for the first time and will begin against sixth-seeded UNC Pembroke on Friday at 1:30.
Armstrong Atlantic State is the #4 seed for the PBC Tournament. The Pirates joined Flagler and UNC Pembroke in finishing 10-10 in PBC play, but won a three-way tiebreak with a sweep of UNCP and a split with Flagler. Once AASU earned their seed, Flagler and UNC Pembroke went to the next step of the tiebreaker, record against the top teams. Both were swept by North Georgia, but Flagler split their DH with Augusta State while UNCP was swept. Flagler will be the #5 seed and face AASU in the first round while UNC Pembroke is the sixth seed.
The PBC tournament format has changed for 2010. Instead of every conference team coming to the tournament, only the top eight teams in the standings were invited. The double-elimination event begins on Friday with four rounds of games on two fields. That will be followed by five games on Saturday beginning at 11:00 am with the championship game set for Sunday at noon, with another game to follow if necessary. The winner of the PBC Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.