North Georgia jumped 14 spots to No. 8 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Division-II Top 30 Poll after sweeping Stillman College over the weekend. It was the Saints’ second straight three-game sweep of the year as the team improved to 6-0.
The No. 8 national ranking is the second highest ranking in program history since the university entered the NCAA and the Peach Belt Conference during the 2006 season. In 2009, the Saints spent three straight weeks inside the nation’s top 10, coming in at No. 10 on Feb. 23, before jumping up to No. 6 the following week, and dropping a spot to No. 7 on March 9.
The 2011 team is on the verge of the best start in school history, sitting a win away from tying the 7-0 start from the 2005 squad that put together one of the most successful seasons in program history at 57-15.
UC-San Diego took over the top spot in the latest poll, moving up one spot after a 7-1 start. Florida Southern is ranked No. 2, while Georgia College stays put at No. 3. Central Missouri, which has yet to take the field, remains at the No. 4 spot, while Tampa jumps three spots to No. 5.
Five Peach Belt Conference teams appear in the latest poll. In addition to Georgia College and North Georgia, UNC Pembroke’s 7-0 start has it up to No. 18, while Armstrong Atlantic’s series victory over previous No. 1 Southern Indiana has catapulted the Pirates to a tie for No. 22. Columbus State had the biggest drop of any league team after losing two of three over the weekend to St. Leo, falling 17 spots to No. 27.
The Saints used a pair of dominating pitching performances last weekend to complete the three-game sweep, as Blake Hobby tossed a complete-game five-hitter in game two, striking out nine and picking up his first win of the season. Redshirt freshman Wes Coberly was equally impressive on Sunday in the finale, going 8 1/3 innings and striking out six as the Snellville native earned his first collegiate win.
North Georgia will look to continue its hot start next weekend, hosting Millersville University for a three-game weekend set at Bob Stein Stadium. First pitch of the opening game is set 4 p.m. Friday.