DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia softball team clinched the program's third straight Peach Belt Conference regular season title on Sunday afternoon with a pair of games still remaining on the conference schedule.
Currently sitting at 15-3 on the year in the Peach Belt Conference, the Saints' magic number is now zero after Augusta State swept a doubleheader from Columbus State to secure North Georgia's championship.
The PBC regular season championship is the third straight for the Saints as they will be the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming PBC tournament next week at Freedom Florence Park in Florence, South Carolina. In North Georgia's three straight championships, they have lost just four conference games, dropping one game in 2009, and three in 2011.
The Saints are one of just three schools in the history of the Peach Belt Conference to win the regular season in three consecutive years, joining USC Spartanburg who were three-time champions from 1992-1994, and Kennesaw State who captured four straight titles from 1995-1998.
North Georgia will also be looking for a three-peat at next week's Peach Belt Conference tournament, as the Saints have won two straight titles, including eight straight games to claim those championships.
The Saints are near the top in nearly every team and individual statistical category in the league, including holding the lowest earn run average in the Peach Belt Conference at 1.16. In the circle, Jessica Coan leads the PBC in ERA at 0.75, strikeouts with 263, and wins with 21.
Offensively, North Georgia is second in the league with a .305 team batting average, while topping the conference with 286 runs scored. Hilary Cox leads the league with 12 home runs, while Ansley Williams tops the conference with 53 runs scored and 94 total bases
North Georgia has been ranked in the nation's top five for 24 straight weeks dating back to the 2009 season, and are currently No. 3 in the latest NFCA Division II Top 25 poll. The Saints are also atop the latest NCAA Southeast Regional Poll, as North Georgia looks to host an NCAA Regional for the third straight season.
The Saints will have a pair of Peach Belt Conference games on Monday afternoon, as they play host to Francis Marion in to close out the regular season. While the title is already clinched for North Georgia, the Patriots will be fighting for their playoff lives, as they are currently in a tie with USC Aiken for the eighth and final spot in the upcoming PBC tournament. The doubleheader has been moved up an hour and is now slated for 3:00 p.m. at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium.