DAHLONEGA, GA –
Following the conclusion of regular-season play on Sunday
afternoon, the Peach Belt Conference released the bracket for the
2009 Baseball Tournament May 9-10 on the Campus of USC Aiken.
North Georgia will compete in their second-ever Peach Belt Conference Baseball Tournament, as the Saints will look to repeat as Tournament Champions, entering the tournament as the #4 seed for the second consecutive year.
In a change from previous years, the PBC Tournament will be a single-elimination competition that brings together the top eight teams in the league. All eight will play on Saturday at Roberto Hernandez Stadium in Aiken, with the final four winners playing in the semifinals and championship on Sunday.
USC Aiken finished as the regular season champion and will be the top seed, while Francis Marion is #2, GCSU is #3, and North Georgis is #4. Armstrong Atlantic claimed the 5th seed with a weekend sweep of Lander, while UNC Pembroke is #6, Columbus State is #7, and Augusta State used series victory over GCSU in the final weekend of the season to sneak in as the #8 team.
The Saints will oppose Armstrong Atlantic State University Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the third game of the day in the opening round of the tournament. In the regular season, North Georgia hosted the Pirates and took two out of three from AASU, taking game one 13-1, before Brad Hall sent the stadium into eruption with a walk-off homer in game two, a 15-13 thriller in 12 innings. In the series finale, Armstrong jumped on top 11-2, before holding on for a 14-12 victory.
Armstrong Atlantic led the all-time series 5-4 coming into the 2009 season, a series that is now deadlocked 6-6 between the two clubs. In each of the last three seasons, North Georgia has taken game one of every series with the Pirates.
The Saints are on a streak that has seen them win eight of their last nine games, and throw four shutouts in eight of those contests. North Georgia will look to continue another streak that has seen the club win six straight games at Roberto Hernandez Stadium dating back to a 10-9 victory over GCSU in 10-innings in the second round of the 2008 PBC Tournament. The Saints would win two more games to take the championship, before sweeping the Pacers at USC Aiken to open the 2009 Peach Belt Conference schedule.
The winner between North Georgia and Armstrong Atlantic will advance to Chamionhip Sunday to a semifinal matchup between the winner of crosstown rivals #1 USC Aiken and #8 Augusta State.
The Saints will charter a bus and leave campus Friday morning for Aiken, South Carolina, in preparation for the 11th annual Peach Belt Conference Baseball Tournament Championship. The winner of the PBC Tournament will receive the PBC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.