March 31, 2010

Saints No. 1 Again, Close in on Series of Records

Complete Poll

STARKVILLE, MS – For the fifth consecutive week, the North Georgia softball team is the top team in the nation according to the latest NFCA Division II Top 25 poll released on Wednesday morning.

The No. 1 Saints received all 16 first-place votes for the fourth straight week to add the unanimous title to the top team in the country as the only undefeated squad remaining in the softball world at the NCAA Division I, Division II, or Division III level.

Wednesday’s poll does not reflect the Saints’ biggest test of the season that occurred on Tuesday afternoon as the Saints put their unblemished mark on the line at now 5th-ranked Alabama-Huntsville and used timely hitting to take the opener 7-4 in extra innings, before coming from behind once again in game two for a 5-1 victory and doubleheader sweep. North Georgia was previously 0-5 against the last year’s National runner-up as the Chargers suffered their first home defeats of the year.

The Saints are now 7-0 against teams ranked in the nation’s top 10, having defeated No. 5 Indianapolis in a single game, and doubleheaders from No. 8 LeMoyne, No. 10 Augusta State, and No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville. North Georgia also took down Wayne State 4-1 in February, a team that was ranked No. 20 at the time but has continued to rise in the polls and currently sits at No. 4 in the country.

North Georgia continues to extend their winning streak and close in on local and national records along the way. The Saints’ winning streak currently sits at 33, just three wins shy of tying the all-time record for consecutive wins in program history, a mark set during the 2003 campaign as the Saints won 36 straight, including a stretch that saw eight shutouts in a nine-game span.

The 2010 squad is also just seven wins away from tying the all-time record for most consecutive wins in Peach Belt Conference history, a record that is currently held by former league member Kennesaw State University as the Owls put together 40 straight victories. With six home victories in the last two weeks, the Saints now hold the mark for the most consecutive home wins in PBC history, stretching the mark to 35 straight dating back to a pair of home victories against Belmont Abbey to close the 2008 season.

The rest of the top five experienced quite a shakeup with two teams dropping out and two teams moving in. Valdosta St., went from fourth to second, while Midwestern St. jumped up four spots to move from seventh to third. Wayne St. (MI) moved from fifth to fourth this week and Alabama-Huntsville rounded out the first five spots by moving from sixth to fifth.

Augusta State continued to be the only other Peach Belt Conference team represented in the poll, falling six spots to No. 16, while Francis Marion jumps into the national consideration, receiving 13 votes to be one of 12 teams picking up votes but not ranked in the latest poll.

North Georgia’s magic number to claim their second straight Peach Belt Conference regular season title now sits at three as the Saints are 14-0 on the year in league action, while Augusta State is second at 12-4. Any combination of three North Georgia victories or Jaguar losses will give the Saints the championship.

The Saints will play one final regular season non-conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Mars Hill to take on the Lions, before closing out the regular season with double dips against Columbus State, Lander University, and GCSU.