CSU baseball tabbed second in PBC Preseason Poll - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

CSU baseball tabbed second in PBC Preseason Poll

From: Columbus State University Athletics News

AUGUSTA- The Georgia College Bobcats have been selected as the Peach Belt Conference team to beat for 2011 in a poll of the league's head coaches released on Friday. 

In a close vote, the Bobcats received six of a possible 11 first-place votes and finished with 112 total points, edging out Columbus State who received four first-place votes and 109 points.  Francis Marion was third with 102 and USC Aiken fourth in the voting.  North Georgia, Flagler, UNC Pembroke, Armstrong Atlantic State, Georgia Southwestern, Lander, Montevallo and Augusta State rounded out the voting.

Georgia College is the preseason favorite for the second time in school history and is ranked No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason top 25, highest of any league team.  After finishing 42-17 last year and advancing to the Division II World Series, the Bobcats lost 14 seniors but do return All-Conference starting pitcher Eric Pettepher and two-time All-Conference catcher Richard Pirkle.

Columbus State enters the year ranked No. 11 in the preseason poll after winning the 2010 PBC Tournament and reaching the semifinal round of the NCAA Southeast Regional.  With a school-record 21-game winning streak during the season, the Cougars won 44 games last year and return six starters from that team.  All six of the hitters compiled a batting average over .280 last season and four over .300. 

The outfield corner tandem of Ryan Lewis and Eric Weiss returns this season after both put up stellar numbers a year ago.  Lewis is the team's leading returning hitter after he posted a .357 batting average which included 26 extra base hits.  He also drove in 61 runs and scored 51 runs.  All-Conference starting pitcher Thomas Campbell returns to lead the staff after throwing a team best 101 innings last year.  He compiled a 10-2 record along with a 3.21 earned run average.  Iain Sebastian will again serve as the team's number two starting pitcher.   

The 2011 season gets underway on Friday, February 4 when it hosts West Alabama at Ragsdale Field.  They open up conference play a month later on Saturday, March 5 when it travels to Augusta State.  The PBC season will conclude with the PBC Tournament May 8-12 at Golden Park in Columbus, Ga.  The top four teams in each division will advance to the tournament, which has moved from a single-elimination to a double elimination format this season.

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