March 9, 2011

Saints Softball up to No. 2 in Latest NFCA Top 25 Poll

STARKVILLE, MS – The North Georgia softball team is closing in on the top spot in the country once again, sitting just 14 points behind top-ranked Angelo State in the latest NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll released on Wednesday morning.

Despite dropping their first game of the year last week, Angelo State (20-1) garnered enough votes to remain the top team in the NFCA Division II Top 25 poll for the second straight week, just edging out North Georgia who moved up to the No. 2 spot in the nation and now sit just 14 points behind the Rambelles with 377.

Valdosta State (7-1) dropped one spot in the poll, coming in a No. 3 in the land after splitting a doubleheader with West Florida last week, while Alabama-Huntsville holds strong at No. 4 in the country and Hawaii Pacific rounds out the top five for the third consecutive week.

The Saints are coming off a perfect 3-0 rain-shortened weekend at the Mid South Classic where they took down 15th-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne on Friday evening, before the bats came alive and North Georgia ran past Catawba 7-3 and Coker 19-0 in five innings.

The Story of the weekend came on Friday evening as junior pitcher Jessica Coan recorded 19 strikeouts against Lenoir-Rhyne and entered the record books with the second-most strikeouts in the history of NCAA Division II softball in a 7-inning game. Coan continues to impress in her first season in the Peach Belt Conference, currently leading the league in earned run average at 0.26, while sitting second in strikeouts with 98, and wins with eight.

Hilary Cox is putting up some impressive power number at the plate as well, as the junior is leading the league in home runs with seven, and is second in the PBC with 27 runs batted in. The Douglasville, Ga., native is hitting .359 on the year, having starting in all 22 games for the Saints and recorded a team-leading .719 slugging percentage.

North Georgia will have their work cut out for them this weekend with six games in three days, including four games against two of the top four teams in the country. The Saints will host Tusculum College (17-4) in a doubleheader on Friday afternoon, as the Pioneers are off to one of their hottest starts in recent history, having won 13 straight games heading into the weekend.

The Captain D's Classic will then come to Dahlonega on Saturday and Sunday as North Georgia will take on 3rd-ranked Valdosta State and 4th-ranked Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday, before turning around and battling the Blazers and Chargers again on Sunday as three of the top four teams in the country will clash in a mid-season classic.