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Armstrong picked to finish fifth in Peach Belt

POSTED: February 6, 2007 5:05 a.m.
AUGUSTA — Georgia College & State University has been selected as the preseason favorite to capture the 2007 Peach Belt Conference baseball championship in a poll of the league’s head coaches released on Friday.
The Bobcats, ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of last season and ranked No. 2 in the national preseason poll, received seven of a possible 10 first-place votes for 88 points.  
Francis Marion was second in the voting with 77 points, just narrowly edging out Columbus State with 76.
Former Liberty County High School standout Cole Martin is entering his junior season with Columbus State and will play in the outfield.
USC Aiken was fourth with 68, while Armstrong Atlantic State was fifth with 61.  
USC Upstate, a tie between UNC Pembroke and Lander, Augusta State, North Georgia and Georgia Southwestern rounded out the voting.
2006 LCHS graduate Ryan Lackey is a pitcher for Georgia Southwestern.
 GCSU earns the coaches vote after spending the majority of the 2006 season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. The Bobcats finished 53-12, 22-5 in the PBC, won the PBC Championships, were top seed in the PBC tournament and hosted the NCAA South Atlantic regional tournament.
  The Bobcats return six position players and two All-Americans for 2007.
Francis Marion beat GCSU in the regional tournament last year to earn their first trip to the NCAA Division II World Series.  The Patriots finished 41-18, 19-8 in PBC play in 2006, and return 18 of 26 lettermen for this season.
Columbus State stumbled down the stretch in the regular season, but put it all together for the PBC Tournament, which they won in Aiken and got the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. The Cougars were 41-20 overall, 16-11 in the PBC.
The Peach Belt Conference will once again have a new look as Georgia Southwestern joins the conference as its 11th team. The Hurricanes, under coach Bryan McLain, will play a full conference schedule but, like North Georgia who joined last year, will be ineligible for the PBC Tournament or NCAA postseason play while they complete their transition from the NAIA.
Also new in the league is Lander head coach Chris Moore, who served as the Bearcats assistant coach last season.
The 2007 season begins on Feb. 1 and concludes at the PBC Tournament May 10-13 in Spartanburg, S.C., hosted by USC Upstate.
 

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