DAHLONEGA — After winning the Peach Belt Conference regular season championship as well as the NCAA Southeast Regional last year, the University of North Georgia baseball team was picked to finish third in the conference this season, the league announced Friday morning. Georgia College and UNC Pembroke were tied for the top spot in the coaches' poll.
North Georgia made its first-ever trip to the NCAA World Series in 2017 after winning their second PBC regular-season championship in the last three years. The Nighthawks were 46-12 overall and 19-5 in league play and ranked #1 in the nation on March 20. The 2018 team returns four seniors and six juniors including first-team All-Conference pitcher Steven Bower and second-team designated hitter Bill LeRoy.
The Nighthawks received three of the possible 10 first-place votes, gaining 77 points in the poll. The Bobcats and Braves tied with 88 points each. One point behind UNG in fourth place is USC Aiken, followed by Columbus State to round out the top five.
Teams were given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine for second and so on. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
North Georgia opens up the season one week from today (February 2) as the Nighthawks play host to Florida Tech. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. from Bob Stein Stadium.