Saints poised and ready for first NCAA Regional
North Georgia to match up with USC Aiken in first round
MOUNT OLIVE, NC - North Georgia College & State University prepared today for their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance as they will oppose a familiar opponent in USC Aiken in the opening round of the NCAA South Atlantic Regional on the campus of Mount Olive College Thursday morning.
The Saints traveled to Mount Olive College early this afternoon to see Scarborough Field and endure a 45 minute practice session. While North Georgia will playing on the field of the #1 team in the nation in Mount Olive College, the Saints have some bragging right of their own, having won 23 of their last 26 and jumping to #14 in the nation, their highest ranking since the school entered the NCAA three seasons ago.
Coming into their April fools day game against Anderson University exactly six weeks ago, the Saints had dropped five of their last seven, but broke out with 11 runs to spark what has since become one of the hottest teams in all of Division II.
Rob Flanigan continues to stay hot in his first season for North Georgia, etching his name into the record books with a pair of home runs in the semi-final game of the Peach Belt Conference tournament to bring his total to 20 and set a new school record. He also currently holds the batting average record with a .409 average, four points ahead of the school record, but will need to keep pace in the tournament to claim the schools single season record.
The squad also put their mark in history as the first team at North Georgia to win a Peach Belt Conference tournament championship, sweeping through the impressive field in Aiken, South Carolina, to claim the title. Head Coach Tom Cantrell and his staff will look to guide the team to the next step at this regional and claim the schools first ever NCAA Championship trophy.
The NCAA South Atlantic Regional is arguably the toughest of the eight regionals in the country with five of the six team ranked in the latest Collegiate Baseball Magazine NCAA Division II Poll, including host Mount Olive who sits as the nations top team, followed by Columbus State at #8, USC Aiken at #10, North Georgia at #14, and Erskine falling in at #29.
The Saints will take the field tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. as the tournament opens with North Georgia and USC Aiken. A conference rivalry will be taken to the next level as the two teams battle it out in the NCAA tournament for the first time in history.
Follow all the action live from Mount Olive College as Live Stats, Live radio broadcast, and Live Video will be streaming for the first pitch between the Saints and Pacers.