AUGUSTA, GA – The Peach Belt Conference has released the 2011 softball tournament bracket from the league office, and North Georgia has received the top overall seed for the third consecutive season after claiming the PBC regular season title over the weekend.
The top eight teams in the final regular-season standings advance to the double-elimination tournament, which begins this Friday, April 15, at the Freedom Florence Complex in Florence, S.C. Freedom Florence and Francis Marion University will serve as tournament hosts for the fourth consecutive year.
North Georgia is ranked No. 3 in the country for the second consecutive week in latest NFCA Division II Top 25 Poll, and will look to capture a third straight Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship this weekend.
The Saints have now been ranked in the nation's top five for an unprecedented 25 consecutive weeks, and will begin their title defense on Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. against eight-seeded UNC Pembroke. North Georgia ended the regular season at 17-3 in the league, including a doubleheader sweep over the Braves.
Over the last three years, the Saints are 54-4 in conference play, and have posted an all-time mark of 12-2 in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, including eight straight wins over the last two seasons.
Armstrong Atlantic, holding tight to their No. 22 ranking in the latest national poll, will be the No. 2 seed for the second time in the last four years at the PBC Tournament, while Columbus State earned the third overall seed and will enter the event with their highest seed since winning the PBC Tournament as the No. 1 seed in 2007.
In just their second year in the league, Flagler College will take the fourth seed, followed by Augusta State, Georgia College, USC Aiken, and UNC Pembroke.
The double-elimination tournament gets underway with two rounds of games on Friday that will see a pair of teams go home. Play continues throughout the day on Saturday and culminates in the championship game on Sunday at 12:00 with an if necessary game to follow at 2:30. The winner of the PBC softball tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The North Georgia sports communications office will have the weekend covered with live stats, photos, videos, and daily recaps throughout the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. The weekend will start with Thursday's award banquet, where the Saints will be awarded the regular season championship trophy and the 2011 Peach Belt All-Conference teams will be announced.