The Francis Marion University men's and women's basketball teams will play host to Flagler College for a key Peach Belt Conference doubleheader on Saturday (Feb. 23) as the school celebrates Homecoming 2019. The FMU baseball and softball teams will also be in action this weekend at the Griffin Athletic Complex and the tennis teams on the Kassab Courts.
The women's basketball game will tip-off at 1:30 p.m. in the Smith University Center, followed by the men's contest at 3:30 p.m. Admission to all events on Saturday will be free.
Fans can follow the game action with video and live stats at http://www.fmupatriots.com, courtesy of the Patriot Sports Network.
Saturday's sporting activities will begin at 11 a.m. with the Swamp Fox Sizzler Tournament at the FMU Softball Stadium in the Griffin Athletic Complex. The 9-3 Patriot softball team will play West Liberty University (2-4) at 11 a.m. and then Queens University of Charlotte at 3 p.m. West Liberty and Queens will meet in the middle contest at 1 p.m.
At noon, the Francis Marion men's and women's tennis teams host Barton College.
The Patriot baseball team will play the second game of its PBC series against USC Aiken at 2 p.m. on Cormell Field at Sparrow Stadium in the Griffin Athletic Complex.
Homecoming activities will begin Saturday at approximately 11:45 a.m. with a Homecoming parade through the campus. PatriotFest will begin at noon in the Smith University Center featuring music and entertainment, and an opportunity for alumni to interact. Tailgating (by reservation) will be available behind the Smith University Center beginning at 11 a.m.
From 1 p.m. until approximately 4:30 p.m., the 21st-annual Swamp Fox Club Benefit Silent Auction, featuring sports memorabilia and merchandise, will be held in the Smith University Center gym.
Between games of the regularly scheduled basketball doubleheader, at approximately 3:15 p.m., former softball catcher Laurie Niego Mancuri will be inducted into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Niego lettered four years on the softball diamond between 2000 and 2003, earning All-Conference and All-Region honors three times and All-America accolades in 2002. She was also named to the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll each of her four years, and earned a B.B.A. degree in business economics in 2003.
Currently a resident of Chicago, Ill, she earned her law degree from John Marshall Law School in 2007 and is an associate with the Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz law firm.
At Francis Marion, Niego appeared in 210 games and finished her career batting .364 with 26 home runs and a school-record 157 runs batted in. At the time of her graduation, she also held the program records for hits (233) and doubles (47). She scored 115 career runs, amassed 71 career multi-hit games, and registered a .986 fielding percentage.
She helped lead the Patriots to a combined 140-73 record over her four seasons, the fourth-highest win total in program history.
As a freshman, she garnered NFCA/Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex All-Academic Team recognition. Niego earned team MVP honors as a junior after hitting .381 with 12 doubles, eight homers, and 40 RBIs. Her senior year, FMU went 36-9, including a program-best 15-1 home mark, and appeared in two national Top-25 polls during the season. Niego hit .377 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs – ranking 25th nationally in RBIs per game.
She will join 51 current members in the Hall of Fame, which was formed in 1991.
The 2019 Homecoming King and Queen will be announced at the conclusion of the men's basketball game.
The FMU women's basketball squad (10-13, 7-12) has won two straight and is tied for eighth in the PBC standings, only one game out of the seventh spot. Flagler (18-7, 14-5) occupies third place in the conference and defeated the Patriots 67-61 earlier this season. FMU holds a narrow 10-9 edge in the all-time series.
The Francis Marion men (18-6, 14-5) are in sole possession of third place in the men's standings. Flagler is 8-17 overall and 5-14 in the PBC. FMU defeated the Saints 80-76 on Jan. 26 in St. Augustine, Fla., and leads the all-time series 16-4.