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The No. 1 seed in the NCAA Southeast Region will be hosting throughout regionals for the fourth consecutive year. North Georgia finished yet another stellar season with Mike Davenport at the helm. Although they did not win either the PBC regular season crown or the PBC tournament trophy for the first time since 2008, the 2012 Saints still have a golden opportunity to accomplish an even better streak, a fourth straight trip to the NCAA College World Series.
Despite the batting numbers being down from years past, this North Georgia team is still on the verge of winning 50 games for a fourth year in a row. The pitching staff has been every bit as good however; combining for a 1.47 ERA. They have pitched 14 shutouts and allowed just one run 17 times as well.
Five North Georgia players were recognized with PBC All-Conference honors, including four on the First-Team. Karlie Gillam leads her team with a .345 batting average, followed by seniors Hilary Cox and Pilar Harden. Six of the nine starting position players have hit at least five home runs this season, tied for the most in the Southeast Region this year.
With PBC Freshman of the Year Melissa Dickie and the reigning NFCA National Pitcher of the Year, Jessica Coan, entering the circle for the No. 11-ranked Saints this weekend, they will certainly be the team to beat. Senior leadership and experience on the big stage will bode well for this group, which also has seen its starting freshman develop over the course of the season.
Playing in their backyard will certainly be an advantage for North Georgia, but being joined by two Peach Belt Conference foes will also give its disadvantage. Augusta State and Columbus State are quite familiar with this team, they have combined to go 2-3 against the hosts, with the Cougars winning both.