May 28, 2008

Flanigan Named NCAA First-Team All-American

Junior slugger rewrites North Georgia record books

SAUGET, IL - North Georgia College & State University received word this afternoon that junior first baseman Rob Flanigan was named 2008 ABCA/Rawlings First-Team All-American, the first Saints player from any sport to receive such an honor in the NCAA.

"I'm very excited and honored to be named a First Team All-American," Rob Flanigan said after hearing the news.  "I am glad I got the opportunity to transfer to North Georgia and play for the Saints, and being named to the All-American team was a goal that I've had since I began my college career. This has been a dream come true."  

Flanigan led a squad that made history in their first season eligible for postseason play since the institution entered the NCAA three seasons ago. Not only did the team finish the regular season winning 19 of their last 22 games, but they captured North Georgia's first PBC Tournament Championship for any sport, running through the bracket with four straight wins to claim the title and receive and automatic bid to the NCAA South Atlantic Regional.

"I'll never forget the pop-up Anders (Oster) caught to make the last out to win the Peach Belt Conference Championship and the dog-pile that followed," Flanigan said. "This is the first championship team I've ever been on and I am lucky to play with such a talented group of guys."  

In his first year in the Peach Belt Conference, junior Rob Flanigan quickly became known as one of the best hitters in the nation, grabbing Peach Belt All-Conference honors, Rawlings/ABCA All-Southeast Region First-Team honors, and now being named the schools first ever NCAA First-Team All-American after hitting .403 with 20 home runs and 74 runs batted in.

"The coaching staff has been very supportive and pushed us to perform at our very best," Flanigan said. "Coach Cantrell has helped me work on things not only physically but mentally that have helped me throughout the season."  

Flanigan finished just two points off the school record in batting average, but stands alone at the top of North Georgia's all-time single season home run record with 20, eclipsing the previous record of 19 with a pair of solo shots off Columbus State to launch the Saints into the Championship game of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. He had a .735 slugging percentage and scored 73 runs while flashing the leather at first base with a .987 fielding percentage.

Flanigan will enter the North Georgia single-season record books in a slew of different categories apart from the home run and batting average mark. He finished with the highest slugging percentage and on-base percentage in school history, second in walks, third in runs batted in, and third in total bases.

"After we were swept by Francis Marion at the end of March, we really started to play our best baseball of the year and went on a tear where we only lost 3 or 4 games the rest of the season," Flanigan concluded. "This is definitely the best turn-around of any team I've ever played on. To win the Conference Championship and to make our first Regional appearance was very exciting. I'm proud of how we all came together and started having fun and playing baseball."