Diamond Braves Slated Seventh In PBC Coaches Poll
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Despite returning six starters off a club that posted a 34-14 record and a Peach Belt Conference East Division Co-Championship, the UNCP baseball team was picked to finish seventh among the 12 PBC baseball-playing institutions in a poll of the league's head coaches released on Friday by the league office.
The Braves received just three votes (two eighth-place nods) of seventh place or lower, with a majority of the tallies (seven) checking the Black and Gold into the sixth place spot. UNCP also garnered one fifth-place vote, but settled in just one point behind sixth-place Flagler in the listing.
Georgia College is the preseason favorite for the second time in school history with its first coming in 2007 when the Bobcats won the PBC Championship. Georgia College was also the 2010 PBC Champions and is ranked No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason top 25 - the highest of any league team. After finishing 42-17 last year and advancing to the Division II World Series, the Bobcats lost 14 seniors but do return all-PBC pitcher Eric Pettepher and two-time all-league catcher Richard Pirkle to its starting battery.
Columbus State received four first place votes but finished three points behind the Bobcats in the listing. Francis Marion (3rd), USC Aiken (4th) and North Georgia (5th) rounded out the teams picked to finish ahead of the Braves. Armstrong Atlantic is eighth, Georgia Southwestern is ninth and Montevallo and Augusta State rounded out the listing in 11th and 12th place, respectively.
The Black and Gold will open up its 2011 campaign, Feb. 4-5, when it suits up to host Anderson in a three-game set at Sammy Cox Field.
The 2011 baseball season begins on February 1 with conference play getting underway on February 26. The PBC season will conclude with the PBC Tournament May 8-12 at Golden Park in Columbus, Ga. The top four teams in each division will advance to the tournament, which has moved from a single-elimination to a double-elimination format this season.
The 2011 coaches poll is below, coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams. A team-by-team preview can be seen here.
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