DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team checks in at No. 22 in the first Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30 Poll of the regular season, moving up 13 spots from their preseason rank five weeks ago.
The Saints got off to a hot start over the weekend with a three-game sweep of Mars Hill, including a pair of comeback wins to open the season with a perfect 3-0 record.
Southern Indiana tops the poll, having not played a game on the 2011 season, while UC San Diego, Georgia College, Central Missouri, and Mount Olive round out the nation's top five teams.
North Georgia checks in as the No. 22 team in the land, ranking just ahead of Indianapolis, Delta State, and Grand Valley State, all teams that have yet to take the field on the 2011 campaign.
The Saints are one of four teams from the Peach Belt Conference ranked in the first regular season top 30 poll, as Georgia College and Columbus State both find themselves in the top 10 at 3rd and 10th respectively. Following North Georgia at No. 22 is UNC Pembroke who rounds out the poll at No. 30 in the country.
In game one last weekend, The Saints found themselves down by four runs in the sixth inning, but managed a five-spot in the bottom half of the frame to pull out a 7-6 victory.
Game two proved to be a blowout as three four-run innings and five runs in the first frame sealed up an 18-5 victory and setup a pitcher's duel in the finale.
The Saints were on the ropes late on Sunday afternoon, trailing 2-1 heading to the last of the eighth, but North Georgia refused to go down as Derek Hooper doubled and came around to score on a single by Chad Sage two batters later, setting up the 9th inning heroics with some fundamental baseball.
Dustin Carpenter led off the frame with a rope single up the middle and Troy Snitker put down a perfect sacrifice bunt, bringing Denver Stovall to the dish, and the senior did not disappoint, guiding a single to left center and sending Carpenter diving under the tag at home for a 3-2 walk-off win.
The Saints will look to make it four straight to open the year on Friday evening, welcoming Stillman College to town for a weekend series with single games slated for Friday at 5:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m., and Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.