FMU hosts PBC Softball Tournament at Freedom Florence

Florence, SC - From Francis Marion University:

FLORENCE, SC – For the third consecutive year, Francis Marion University will serve as host for the Peach Belt Conference Softball Tournament.

The double-elimination event will take place Friday through Sunday at the Freedom Florence Recreational Complex.

This season only the top eight finishers during the PBC regular season qualified for the tournament.  The PBC office announced the tournament seeds on Wednesday night.  Top-ranked and unbeaten North Georgia College & State University (41-0) is the top seed, while Francis Marion (31-12) is the third seed.

The 2010 All-Conference Team will be announced at a banquet on Thursday evening.

Daily admission to the tournament will be $6 for ages 13 and above, $4 for ages 6-12, and ages under 6 free.  Tournament passes will be available for $15 (adults) and $10 (children).

The tournament gets underway on Friday with two games each at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.  Action resumes on Saturday with two games at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and one game at 4 p.m.  The championship game is set for noon on Sunday.

Francis Marion will play sixth-seeded UNC Pembroke (29-17) in its first game on Friday at 1:30 p.m.  Win or lose in that 1:30 p.m. contest, the Patriots will play again at 6:30 p.m.

The tournament winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

FMU split a doubleheader at UNCP last weekend, losing the opener 2-1 and winning the second game 4-3.  The Patriots lead the all-time series 33-14.

Senior southpaw Michaela Wolf leads the Patriot pitching staff with a 17-6 record and a 1.51 earned run average.  Junior righty Cea Knox is 14-5 with a 3.37 ERA.

Sophomore second baseman Ashley Jaramillo leads the Patriots with a .378 batting average, 11 doubles, five home runs, and 40 runs batted in.  Wolf is batting .370 with three homers and 30 RBIs, while junior right fielder Chelle Phillips is hitting .367 with a team-leading 45 runs scored in only 43 games.                                                                                                          

Sixth-year FMU head coach Stacey Vallee is one victory shy of 200 for her career.  She has a 199-93 mark and has guided the Patriots to 30-win campaigns in five of her six years.

Francis Marion has finished third in each of the past two tournaments, the third time FMU has gotten to within one game of the title contest (also accomplished in 2004).  The Patriots have an all-time record of 27-30 in tournament play.  FMU also hosted the tournament in 1997.

The top seed has won four of the past six tournaments.