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Early-season showdown in PBC goes to Francis Marion

With its 12-5 victory Monday, No. 7 Francis Marion won 2-of-3 against No. 5 Columbus State in the Peach Belt Conference-opening series for both teams, but how much should be read into it.

Especially considering that both have 27 PBC games left. The PBC increased the number of conference games from 24 to 30 this season.

“It is very early,” CSU coach Greg Appleton said. “This time last year we were playing another round of non-conference games, then another round.

“We got a taste of what this conference is like. Francis Marion has a good team. We have to use this as a learning experience. We wanted to win the series, but it didn’t happen.”

Francis Marion used big innings to win the first game and the last in the series. CSU used a brilliant performance from Brodie Leibrandt to win the middle game, 1-0.

Two things of concern happened in those two losses. CSU wasn’t able to limit the damage in those big innings, then the offense couldn’t answer.

The schedule doesn’t much easier if at all for the Cougars. CSU hosts Armstrong Atlantic this weekend, then plays USC-Aiken the following one.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Francis Marion, CSU, Armstrong and Aiken finish as the top four teams in the PBC.

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