Patriot Softball to open Peach Belt play this weekend

Patriot Softball to open Peach Belt play this weekend

The Francis Marion University softball team will begin Peach Belt Conference play this Saturday and Sunday (March 16-17) as it welcomes third-ranked University of North Georgia and Young Harris College to the FMU Softball Stadium for a pair of doubleheaders.

The twin bills will begin at 1 p.m. each day, and every game will be broadcast live courtesy of the Patriot Sports Network.

Daily admission to the Griffin Athletic Complex is $8 for adults, $5 for students, and FMU students are admitted free.

Francis Marion (16-7) enters the weekend riding a three-game winning streak and with a 12-1 home record. The Patriots boast the top offense in the PBC, averaging 6.8 runs per contest, led by senior infielders Angela Buccilli (.364), Chelsea Welty (.351), and Jessica Harney (.290).

Buccilli is tied for the league lead in walks with 23, and her .557 on-base percentage ranks second in the conference. She's also among the top-10 in runs scored (22) and stolen bases (10). Harney is tied for third in the Peach Belt in both home runs (5) and RBIs (25). Welty's nine doubles are tied for the most in the PBC, and she also ranks in the top-10 with 20 runs batted in. FMU is one of just two schools in the conference to have multiple players with 20+ RBIs thus far this season.

In the circle, sophomore right-hander Katelyn Ellard is one of three Peach Belt hurlers with double-digit wins on the season (10). She also ranks fourth in innings pitched (87.1) and third in strikeouts (104).

North Georgia (24-6, 2-0) is ranked third in this week's NFCA coaches' poll, and began PBC play with a sweep of UNC Pembroke on Thursday. Young Harris (14-8) will begin its conference slate on Saturday at UNCP before making its trip to Florence for Sunday's double dip.

The Patriot tennis teams will both be looking to even their record in Peach Belt play on Saturday morning at 11 a.m., as they host Flagler College on the Kassab Courts. The FMU women will then play a non-conference match against West Virginia State University on Sunday at 1 p.m. Francis Marion's men's squad enters the weekend at 8-3, while the women are 9-3. Admission to the tennis matches is free.